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.
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 Ancient Art Archive is a 501(c)3 registered not for profit. All donations are tax deductible. All images copyright Stephen Alvarez 2017
Ancient Art Archive, 165 Laurel Drive, Sewanee, TN 37375 USA