Rock art is composed of separate designs called elements. These elements are arranged in groups on the sides of rock faces, and are referred to as panels.

Photo with description Anthropomorphs = Human figures

Photo with description Zoomorphs = Animals; the four-legged kind as well as birds and insects.

Wherever there has been human activity, there is rock art. Speculated reasons for rock art are many. Possibly it

  • contained sacred knowledge and was ceremonial
  • marked game trails
  • designated cultural territories
  • functioned as astronomical markers pertaining to such phenomena as the solstices and equinoxes.

Whatever the meaning, it was deeply significant to those who created it.

Age Dating Rock Art

It is difficult to date rock art even with today’s scientific dating method. Sophisticated methods of C-14 dating have been designed to analyze the tiny particles of organic matter which collect in the grooves of petroglyphs after having been etched onto the rock surface. Despite the continual refining of these methods, there are still significant problems related to the contamination of the organic matter. In some instances, rock art can be related to artifactual material that is datable and thought to be contemporary with the rock art, but often it is impossible to generate anything other than an estimated timeframe.

Know Before You Go

  • Wear a comfortable pair of hiking boots and clothes.
  • Apply sunscreen, wear sunglasses, and a hat to protect you from the sun.
  • Keep a watch out for rattlesnakes. Never put your feet or hands in deep nooks and crannies of rocks and boulders.
  • Bring water; even if you only plan to go for a short hike.

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