One of my favorite subjects is the rock art of the Southwest and my very favorite is these ancient pictographs. They’re quite rare and very old. There are two kinds of rock art seen throughout the Southwest: petroglyphs which are carved into stone and pictographs which are painted. The pictographs like this one are much older – dated to around 5000 B.C.E.
These figures are named after a famous site in Canyonlands National Park in Utah – the Barrier Canyon style. I have been to Barrier Canyon and did photograph the site several years ago, but it was before I got my new Nikon. I’m planning on going back in the next year since I have my new Jeep which can traverse the 25 mile dirt and rock road get to the trailhead!
This Barrier Canyon style of rock art is especially fine work and has survived (obviously) on the sandstone walls of the canyon lands for seven thousand years or so. We know very little about the people who painted these figures, as all that remains are the paintings themselves. But symbolic they certainly are, and as with most art we’re left with our own thoughts and feelings about what these symbols mean. This shot was taken at a site near Thompson Springs Utah in Sego Canyon.
How would you interpret these symbols?
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