There are Basketmaker engravings on the floor of this cave in Comb Wash in the new Bears Ears National Monument. The engravings themselves are pretty spectacular. Deer, anthropomorphs, animal tracks, foot prints all rendered in that peculiar basketmaker style. The location and the carvings are incredible and they speak to a very different time in this part of Utah.
Check out the 3D models (after the break) to get an idea of the density and complexity of the art on this cave floor.
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
The Cottonwood Panel -also known as the Great Hunt Panel- is the most famous piece of rock art in Nine Mile Canyon. Nine Mile Canyon is a 40 mile long canyon in Carbon and Duchesne Counties that is festoon with thousands of rock art sites. Its estimated that there are more thatn ten thousand individual images in the canyon. The majority of petroglyphs in Nine Mile are Fremont age artworks like the Cottonwood Panel. However, ages in the canyon range from Desert Archaic to Modern. That is almost 10,000 years of artistic history.
Located on a prominent spit of land above Muddy Creek and a side canyon, the Rochester Rock art panel is an extremely complex site. It incorporates images from the Fremont culture to historic times so the art varies in age from 2,000 years old to modern. The panel sees a lot of visitation and hence there has been a lot of damage over the years.
The Cedar Mountain site is a complex Fremont era pictograph site on the San Rafael Swell in Utah. Both sides of the capped boulder are engraved as well as the rocks to the left of the main panel. The model below is constructed from 177 Canon dslr images assembled in Agisoft Photoscan. Take some time to go through the points in the model. There are extensive engravings on the back side of the main engraved boulder.
2,000 year old finger tracing and modern graffiti in unnamed cave 19
One of the first questions I am asked about the Archive is why now? Can't this wait? There is so much else to do right now... It's a reasonable question. Much of the art that we are working with has been around thousands if not tens of thousands of years. Why now?
The short answer is we need to do this now! Sites are being destroyed in front of our eyes.
A graphic illustration of that is unnamed cave 19. Its a woodland period site (+/- 2,000 years bp) in a remote corner of the South East. The cave ceiling is covered in very delicate, elaborate finger traced mud glyphs. There are abstract figures, snakes, birds, bears, humans with rays coming from their bellies. Read more
A Desert Bighorn Sheep Petroglyph panel in Buckhorn Wash on the San Rafael Swell in Emery Country, Utah. This fine panel is up the wash from the much more famous Buckhorn Wash BCS style panel. Desert Bighorn are one of the most common animals depicted in South Western pictographs. There is also a boxed anthropomorphic figure on the right hand side of the panel as well as plant and abstract images. The panel itself is upstream of the BCS panel. The San Rafael Swell contains a wealth of pre columbian art. Most of the art is currently on Bureau of Land Management land.