March 12, 2012

The Shaman's Gallery

Yes, we found it, above the wash by about 30 feet.  The gallery is painted on the slanted ceiling of an alcove by a Native American Michaelangelo. 
The National Park service estimates this art was created before 1000 B.C..  The designs are similar to the Barrier style found in Horseshoe Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, attributed to about the same time period.  These are pictographs, painted on the rock.  (Petroglyphs are pecked into the rock.) 
The figures are elongated, life-size, and some are multi-colored.  In places, figures seem to be drawn on top of each other. 
So much art in one place may have meant that the tribe considered this a sacred place.  The protected alcove was a good choice for protecting the colors for 3000 years.  The Spirits would be pleased. 
The above stitch of several photos shows the breadth of the gallery. This panel is at least 2 miles from any present day water source, and there is no sign of a permanent dwelling. 
Maybe this ancient tribe hunted in the canyon in spring or fall, then moved on.  A ram and several antlered deer are depicted, which seems to support the hunting theory.
This sharpening rock located within the alcove might indicate that game was butchered here. 
What's happening here?  A menage a trois?  An orgy?  Seriously, the ancient ones didn't mind being graphic.  Could this scene describe a fertility rite that accompanied a successful hunt?
The narrow alcove doesn't lend itself to easy photography.  Here is Steve, doing his best to capture the figures in their splendor.


  1. Really cool panel! Haha, the orgy scene is interesting.

  2. Native American Michaelangelo, I like that. What a find! Thank you for showing it.

  3. This panel is amazing! Maybe I can get out there this spring before it gets to hot to hike too. Thanks So much for sharing this.

  4. Steve did a great job with the photography.....these are so cool to see!
    {I do believe you may have captured ancient porn too}
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi Janie, wow---what a find!!!! To see that art in person and knowing that it was created before 1000 BC----that had to be incredible. I'm so jealous!!!!! WOW---that was awesome.

    We are home from our 2nd trip is a month--and both of us have colds.. Yuk! Guess it will be REST for this upcoming week for both of us.


  6. A million stories can be made from those drawings. Very interesting find.

  7. I love your adventures...and that I get to be a part of them...

  8. That's amazing. Such mysteries now was probably common knowledge way back when. The ways of the ancients are fascinating.

    Steve goes all out in whatever he does I think.

  9. Fantastic! I am surprised by the large size of the figures and that some colors remain.

  10. So wonderful to view these, Janie. I'm not sure I knew the difference between pictographs and petroglyphs. Good for Steve - the pics got great.

  11. Those artists must have had nerves of steel - or at least not suffered from vertigo.

  12. Looks like you had to be creative about how to take some of these photos. I wonder what paints would last all these centuries!

  13. I have never seen ancient art quite like that. Of course, that is what makes it so special. I need to go further back to see the beginning of your trip.



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