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Snake-in-Mouth Alcove

Snake-in-Mouth Alcove

I spent many days searching for this particular site. I knew which canyon it was in, but was still unable to find it. After a few trips to the area I was finally able to find these amazing pictographs with the help of a friend, and I realized that they were within my sight all the days I had missed them previously!

This panel is located in a large alcove high above the canyon floor. It’s a bit of a steep scramble to get up there, but well worth the climb.

Once in front of the pictographs, you are treated to an excellent example of Barrier Canyon Style rock art. Inside the large anthropomorph’s mouth is a small blue snake from which this panel’s name derives. I will probably have to post a closer shot of this panel in the future for you to appreciate all of the finer details, but for now just enjoy the scene in it’s surrounding alcove.

>> Yellow Comet Alcove

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On Vandalism of Rock Art

From Stone Chisel and Yucca Brush:

“A common experience for rock art aficionados is to arrive at a reportedly spectacular site only to discover that previous visitors painted or carved names, dates, modern symbols, slogans, and other remarks over or adjacent to the Native American images. Perpetrators of such graffiti actually claim to hold a certain kinship with rock art iconography. More poignantly, they consider rock art as the first recognizable manifestation of graffiti, referring to it as ‘archeograffiti.’. Based on this rationale they have no compunctions about adding their own signs to the existing paleoart.

However, while graffiti is intrinsically defined as illicit, the motivation for rock art was licit. That is, it was condoned, supported, and even encouraged by the social group to whom the art belonged. Rock art thus does not constitute archaeograffiti, and graffiti, whether witty or aesthetically pleasing, gang-related or politically motivated, is tantamount to vandalism.”

 

– Ekkehart Malotki & Donald E. Weaver Jr.

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A Thousand Year Old Record, Gone in A Day!

A Thousand Year Old Record, Gone in A Day!

Rock art is thought to represent the spiritual expression of people who lived here long ago. The fremont people who lived here from about AD 500 to AD 1100 left symbols on the rock which had tremendous meaning to them. The Shield site remains an example of what vandalism can do to a once beautiful and interesting archaeological site.

Parties, camping, tree cutting and outright deliberate destruction of the rock art have destroyed this site. No scientific knowlege will ever be gained here. No quiet enjoyment is possible. And, no one can feel anything but sorrow while viewing the remains of symbols left by people over a thousand years ago.

It belongs to you.

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Unexpected Panel

Unexpected Panel

Here’s a Barrier Canyon Style pictograph panel that my friend Philippe and I ‘unexpectedly’ found while searching out some rock art in the San Rafael Swell. It’s an amazing panel and we both spent a good amount of time examining all the fine details. One thing I noticed while visiting this panel and searching the surrounding area for more rock art is that there was no footpath leading to this panel…not even a footprint anywhere around.

When I got home, I asked around to see if this panel had a name, and to my surprise, I was unable to find anyone else who has seen this panel before! While I am sure that we are not the first people to stumble across this panel, it’s kind of cool to find out that it’s not very well known at all.

This is an overview photo of the very large, tall and complex panel. I have other closeup shots of the different sections that I will probably post here in the future!

Get out there and start exploring….you never know what you might find!

>> An Unexpected Surprise in the Swell

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