Rock Art Favorites: Bandelier National Monument, NM

Between 1150 and 1550 CE, the Ancestral Pueblo people carved out homes from the volcanic tuff in the area that is now Bandelier National Monument. One of my favorite sites at Bandelier is Long House, a large complex of multi-storied dwellings built against a cliff face with hundreds of small rooms carved into the rock. I love the petroglyphs throughout the complex. You can see the holes for the roof beams, indicating the location of second and third floors. It is amazing to be able to see where people would have stood on top of their roof to make the designs.  Please note, it is incredibly important to never climb on the walls of any site and to never touch the rock art images; it is both unethical and illegal to damage archaeological sites.


Rock Art Favorites: Dinosaur National Monument, CO, UT

Don’t let the word ‘Dinosaur’ fool you; at Dinosaur National Monument, there are hundreds of prehistoric rock art images that were created by the Fremont people. When I recently visited the Monument, I was absolutely amazed at how many different panels exist. There are pictographs (painted) and petroglyphs (chipped or carved) represented, although petroglyphs are the dominant form. The rock art images are in the ‘Classic Vernal Style,’ which includes human and animal-like figures. Many of the figures have a distinct trapezoidal shape and wear what looks like different types of jewelry and headdresses. For more information on the rock art and culture of the Fremont, see by blog post on this topic or visit the Dinosaur National Monument website. I highly recommend making the trip to this park for the rock art alone!  Please note, it is both unethical and illegal to touch or vandalize rock art.



Adventures in Rock Art: Picture Canyon, Flagstaff, AZ

Picture Canyon is just a short drive away from the heart of Flagstaff. It is a beautiful little state park that has been recently cleaned up to preserve the archaeological, geological, and wildlife resources of the canyon. Obviously, the archaeology was high on my list of things to check out. Unfortunately, the visible ruins of pit houses, cave dwellings, and artifacts have been vandalized over the years; the sites were still fun to explore, but the archaeologist in me was annoyed. At least the rock art is good shape! There are over 150 petroglyphs of animals, geometric designs, and archers. The petroglyphs were created by the Northern Sinagua, who lived and farmed the area between 1000 and 1200 AD. If you’re ever in Flagstaff, I highly recommend hiking through the canyon!

Find out more:

*Please note: rock art is incredibly fragile. Do not touch rock art, spray-paint it, or vandalize it in any way. Not only is it ethically wrong, it is illegal.