Last Spring the Ancient Art Archive spent a couple weeks in Utah recording sites in the new Bears Ears National Monument. Here is an updated version of one of the panels we visited. The Procession panel has 179 human-like figures that seem to be centered around a circle. It is an incredible piece of artwork.
Ten negative handprints in Fish Canyon, Bears Ears National Monument, Utah
If there is a single symbol that could stand for all of humanity it is the negative handprint. I've seen the negative handprint reproduced on 6 continents and across all ages of human creativity. From the Paleolithic to modern times the images persists in our visual vocabulary. They may well be the very first artistic expression. To me, they are the original 'selfie' the very first way that people recorded their passage. That urge to leave a visual mark that says "I was here" is uniquely human. Read more
Petroglyphs in Comb Wash. Bears Ears National Monument, Utah
Utah's Bears Ears National Monument is a national treasure. Besides the area's fantastic natural beauty the Monument contains over 100,000 archeological sites. Many of you generously supported a scouting trip to the Bears Ears this spring. The images are now online here. Read more
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.
Moonrise behind the Procession Panel, Comb Ridge, Utah
Recorded March 2017
The Procession Panel, San Juan County, Utah The 15-foot long panel depicts 179 human-like forms coming from three different directions and converging on a central circle. Other figures in the panel include mountain sheep, deer and/or elk and snakes. A few smaller panels are located along the cliff just below the main panel.
The Procession Panel in Comb Wash, San Juan Country Utah
The Panel is one of the most iconic rock art sites in the new Bears Ears National Monument. As such, modeling it was a primary objective of this year's visit to Utah. The model below was built using more than 200 DSLR images. It is best viewed in High Resolution.
The Bears Ears contains a stunning number of archeological sites. The monument is a 1.3 million acre open air museum. The area is central to the Dine, Ute, Hopi and Zuni tribes. There has been talk of rescinding the National Monument status. If public land and historic preservation are important to you please visit the Bears Ears Coalition and express your support for keeping the area protected.
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 Ancient Art Archive is in Utah all week scouting locations to record in the Bears Ears. For those that don't know, the Bears Ears is one of the United States newest National Monuments. Its 1.3 million acres represent some of the most inaccessible landscape in the lower 48 states. It is also a cultural treasure. There are over 100,000 archeological sites in the Monument and tens of thousands of pictographs and petroglyphs. It's a remarkable place.
Thanks to everyone who has helped us get into the field this spring. Your support is vital.
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.
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.
A horned anthropomorphic petroglyph with rainbows enhanced with D-Stretch.
Barrier Canyon Style Petroglyphs, Emery County Utah
Within this faded group of Barrier Canyon Style petroglyphs is the Double Rainbow man. The figure is somewhat faded so I have run D-Stretch to bring it then recombined it with the original image to make the figure above. Read more