All Posts in Barrier Canyon Style

March 5, 2019 - No Comments!

Good News for the San Rafael Swell

Buckhorn Wash Pictograph Panel on the San Rafael Swell

Those of you who have been following the Ancient Art Archive's work are familiar with our efforts to document Barrier Canyon Style (BCS) artworks. BCS is one of North America's most enigmatic and evocative styles. It is known, primarily from the San Rafael Swell of Central Utah.

In general conservation news has been bad in Utah for the past few years. Both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monuments were significantly reduced. However, last month a mammoth public lands bill passed both the House and Senate that will increase protections on many National Lands.

Among many other things the bill adds 660,000 acres of wilderness designation to Emery County Utah, home of much of the San Rafael Swell. You can read more here.

The Rochester Rock Art Panel in Emery County Utah
The Rochester Rock Art Panel in Emery County Utah

January 16, 2019 - No Comments!

Barrier Canyon Painting, San Juan County Utah

Barrier Canyon rock art in San Juan County Utah. BCS panels are believed to have been created during the archaic period (probably late archaic) and are estimated (from direct and indirect carbon 14 dates) to be somewhere in the range of 1500 to 4000 years old.

An enigmatic and evocative piece of Barrier Canyon Style (BCS) rock art in Southern Utah. Rock art is notoriously hard to date but his style of painting likely comes from the late archaic period of Southwestern Archeology (1500-4000 BP). There are a large handful of sites across Southern Utah (also into Colorado and Arizona) with a similar style. The large scale anthropomorphic figures that are often finely painted.

This is one of the smaller BCS panels in the area. Big sites like the Great Gallery cover hundreds of feet and many complex paintings.

BCS is one of my favorite styles of North American rock art. The scale and attention to detail speak to me. The figure in this panel is human-sized.

A detailed view of Barrier Canyon rock art in San Juan County Utah.

I'm working on a @natgo grant looking at rock art in some of our western public lands. It’s a project sponsored -in part- by the National Geographic Society. However, most of the funding is provided by donors to the Ancient Art Archive.

Please consider giving to help with our mission.

-Stephen Alvarez

San Juan County, Utah

 

March 27, 2017 - No Comments!

New Model of Horseshoe Canyon’s Great Gallery

Great Gallery of Horseshoe Canyon, Wayne County Utah.
The Great Gallery is the "type site" for Barrier Canyon Style rock art

On the way back from a spring scouting trip to the Comb Wash / Bears Ears area of Utah I stopped to shoot a new model of the Great Gallery of Horseshoe Canyon. I had built a model last year but it did not include the entire panel. It also had some holes in the data that I thought I could clear up. This one has the whole alcove. There figures on the left beyond the debris pile. One of them closely resembles the Moqui Queen.  If you have the chance, it is worth looking at this at full screen on a high-resolution monitor. A Microsoft Surface works particularly well.

Rock art is notoriously hard to date and BCS art age estimates range from Archaic (4,000-8,000 BP) to pre Fremont (500BCE-500BCE). The National Park Service has a free book on the archeology of Horseshoe Canyon available here that puts the date for BCS production at around 2,000 BCE.

Some things to note in the site and model

  • The tallest figure is 2.15 meters tall
  • The Panel is 65 meters end to end
  • The alcove is 33 meters high and 12 meters deep
  • The model is built from 247 high resolution DSLR images and assembled in Agisoft Photoscan

 

Great Gallery March 2017
by Ancient Art Archive
on Sketchfab



February 9, 2017 - No Comments!

High Gallery Barrier Canyon Style rock art panel, Wayne County Utah

detailed view of the High Panel

A detailed view of the High Gallery of Horseshoe Canyon, Wayne County Utah.

High Gallery of Horseshoe Canyon, Wayne County, Utah

Recorded August 2016

This is the first gallery in The Horseshoe (Barrier) Canyon section of Canyonlands National Park. It is on the East wall of the canyon far above the canyon floor. It has well preserved anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures in classic Barrier Canyon Style. There are also a number of pictographs faintly visible within the panel. The pictographs show up best in the model below.

BCS style art is thought to be about 4,000 years BP. There is a longer discussion of the arts age on the Great Gallery Model.

To see the panel in greater context of the canyon look at this image

High Gallery, Wayne County, Utah
by Ancient Art Archive
on Sketchfab

February 2, 2017 - No Comments!

Moqui Queen and her Dog, Garfield County, Utah

Moqui Queen and her dog

A fine, well preserved example of Barrier Canyon style pictographs. This Anthropomorphic figure is in the wall of a huge shelter in North Wash. The anthropomoph is accompanied by a featureless animal often caller her “dog.” The fine preservation is no doubt due to the location deep inside the shelter and the figure's location more than head height off the ground.

Recorded August 2016

August 14, 2016 - No Comments!

Wildhorse Wash Petroglyphs, Emery County Utah

Wildhorse Canyon Petroglyph detail

Wildhorse Canyon Petroglyph, Emery County, Utah

Recorded August 2016

These delicate Barrier Canyon Style petroglyphs are painted on the low ceiling of a shelter above Wild Horse Canyon on the San Rafael Swell. Wild Horse Canyon is one of the few clear passageways through the upturned rocks of the San Rafael Reef. The paintings are presumably contemporaneous with Great Gallery of Horseshoe Canyon located east of the site.

 

August 12, 2016 - 2 comments

Great Gallery of Horseshoe Canyon

Great Gallery of Horseshoe Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, Wayne County, Utah

Recorded August 2016

Arguably the most spectacular rock art site in the South West, the Great Gallery is the type site for Barrier Canyon Style (BCS) art. It was first recognized here as a unique artistic style. Rock art is notoriously hard to date and BCS art age estimates range from Archaic (4,000-8,000 BP) to pre Fremont (500 BCE-500 CE). The National Park Service has a free book on the archaeology of Horseshoe Canyon available here that puts the date for BCS production at around 2,000 BCE.

The entire panel is over 200 feet long and the tallest figure is 7.1 feet tall.

August 11, 2016 - No Comments!

Buckhorn Draw Pictograph Panel, Emery County Utah

 

Buckhorn Draw Pictograph Panel, Emery County Utah

recorded August 2016

A large and very well known Barrier Canyon Style petroglyph panel in Buckhorn Draw on the northern San Rafael Swell. The panel has been vandalized in the past and partially restored.

The panel has many themes that are common to Barrier Canyon Style artwork including large, boxed anthropomophic figures and figures holding snakes.