South Nevada rock art, part 3

We continue this short collaborative series with guest contributor Loretta who is kindly sharing her observations and photographs of some of the rock art found in her home region in the southwest US. (Please see part 1 and part 2.)



Grapevine Canyon near Christmas Tree Pass has one of the largest numbers of petroglyphs in one place in S. Nevada, and one of the most accessible. The pass is well marked, just a few miles off the main highway west of Laughlin, which is on the Colorado River. From a parking lot, you trudge along a sandy dry river bed until huge dark boulders rise before you, framing the canyon. An astonishing number of petroglyphs completely cover the boulders. As you turn to look back down the river bed, a broad vista opens up, taking your eye down toward the Colorado River and beyond to the rugged mountains of Arizona.

The dry river bed has its origins near the top of the canyon, where reeds and wild grapevines announce the presence of water. Bits of green edge the trickle of water coming down until it disappears under the boulders, hiding its life-giving essence from the harsh desert sunlight.

The petroglyphs themselves are remarkably well-preserved, with only a few having been defaced. One can imagine the good times enjoyed by the ancient travelers in this gathering place as they shared stories and carved pictures as illustrations to leave for others to find – could they have imagined us, now, wondering and puzzling over them?

A fascinating related link: How to make a petroglyph (thanks to gabriolan)

All photographs © Loretta
See also: part 4

May 15, 2010 in Rock Art & Archaeology by Marja-Leena