Monday, December 27, 2010

By the Hand of Man - photoessay

From the archives....

Here is a collection of photos taken in various locations, showing historic and prehistorical marks of humans upon the land.

 Newspaper Rock 

This amazing petroglyph panel spans 2000 years in its creation.  Location:  near Canyonlands NP, southeastern Utah.
Anthropomorph pictograph in red

Found on the wall of a protected alcove formed from sandstone, this was the most elaborate of the designs.  Location:  Canyonlands NP.
Roadside Granery

Likely built by the Fremont in the 8th or 9th century, I believe, these small mud-and-stone structures were designed to store and protect grain and corn from damage from pests and weather, as the nomadic people traveled from season to season.

Historical hunt(?) scene

A herd of bighorn sheep are shown surrounded by riders on horseback, dating these petroglyphs to at least the mid to late 16th century.    They are skillfully executed.

Location:  along trail to Delicate Arch, Arches NP.

 Frog/lizard figures and.....?

What is that figure on the lower right side supposed to be?  This panel predates Picasso, suggesting that Cubism was perhaps invented by the Navajo living or passing through Chaco Canyon, NM ;).  It is believed to post-date the Anasazi who lived in the area in the 9th through 12th century, however.
Another Chaco Canyon panel

Birds and animal quadrupeds are seen, along with a few sun spirals.  These panels are unreachable except with a ladder, suggesting that the lower rock the artist(s) used has fallen away.


  1. Fascinating...especially for one who is studying stones currently for execution of an exhibit titled "Living Stone..." these are living still. I'm glad you shared these...

  2. Love these things. There are some within a few miles of my house, as well.

    In Joshua Tree NM, there are some fake ones - so popular are they!

  3. Cool, thanks for showing these. They fascinate me.
    While in France, The Husband and I took a cave tour of one of those ancient ones--not the famous one you hear about all the time, because that's closed to tourists--and it was so cool to see the old ochre and charcoal drawings on the walls.

  4. Cindy - I'm glad you enjoyed these images; I also have an endless fascination with rock art and prehistoric structures.

    Casey - What a treat that you have some near your house! I've never been to Joshua Tree NM, but I know there is tons of rock art in the Mojave desert region of southern CA, and some geoglyphs as well.

    Jala - I'd love to see some of those ice-age cave paintings in the caves of lucky you were!

    During our stay in Phoenix earlier in the week, we went on two hikes in the surrounding mountains with numerous panels of Hohokam and paleo-Indian petroglyphs. They are distinctly different from those created by the Anasazi, Fremont and other people living in the Colorado Plateau region.


Your thoughtful comments add value to this blog - thank you so much for taking the time to leave them!

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