Thursday, October 10, 2013

Moore Cutoff Petroglyphs

The petrographs along the Moore Cutoff Road are quite easy to find and interesting.  There are a variety of styles to be found here cut into various boulders that have rolled down from the cliffs.  There is also a fossilized set of dinosaur tracks on one of the boulders.

The Moore Cutoff Road connects I-70 with Utah Highway 10.  The junction with I-15 is at the turnoff for the Eagle Canyon scenic viewpoint around mile marker 114.  The junctions with Utah Highway 10 are between mile markers 16 and 17 and between mile markers 21 and 22.  The cutoff road was paved a few years back so the site is accessible with any vehicle.

The map below show the turnout for the site.

The best way to explore is to first visit the few obvious glyph-covered boulders just to the northwest of the parking lot.  After that, start exploring and see what other hidden gems you can find.  There are many smaller ones here to find if you just look around.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Temple Mountain Rock Art Panel

There are several pictograph panels near Temple Mountain on the edge of the San Rafael Swell.  The best known of these is a BCS/Fremont panel within a few hundred feet of the Temple Mountain Road where it cuts through the San Rafael Reef, just before it transitions from a paved to graded road.  This is a popular camping spot, so be prepared to intrude a little if you want to see the pictographs.  If you are camping here, be prepared to be intruded upon.

The panel is on the cliff face in the center top of this aerial view.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

BCS Petroglyph

Most Barrier Canyon Style (BCS) rock art examples are pictographs that have been painted on the rock using a red/orange/pink or white pigment.  The Great Gallery in Horseshoe Canyon, the Buckhorn Draw and Head of Sinbad pictographs are classic examples.

However, I did run into a small example of a BCS petroglyph in Short Canyon.  Petroglyphs were chipped or pecking into the stone using a harder stone as a chisel.  The example below was very faint and only eight or ten inches small.  But is certainly looks BCS to me.

That should be "Great Gallery."

© 2013  Kerk L. Phillips

Friday, August 16, 2013

Escalante Canyon Rock Art

The stretch of the Escalante River between the town of Escalante and the confluence with Death Hollow has at least 3 good rock art panels.  Two of these are petroglyph panels located on cliff faces at bends in the canyon and one is a pictograph panel in a large alcove.  All are on the north side of the river.  The map below shows their approximate location (the second red dot is a bit too far to the right).  All three panels show a heavy Fremont influence.

Approximate Location of the Three Panels

Provo Canyon Petroglyphs

I went hiking near Johnson's Hole in Provo Canyon with my son, Alan, in January of 2011 and we finally found the petroglphys there. Back in Fall of 2005, my neighbor, Don Roberts, and I hiked through the same area looking for them, but couldn't find any. I'd been through the area again several times, but never stopped to look seriously.

They're carved into several boulder on the hillside to the southeast of Johnson's hole. They look very old, but that could be simply because they are carved into limestone boulders lying out in the open and they have weathered very rapidly.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Using DStretch

Rock art is sometimes very faint and difficult to see.  Digital manipulation of a photograph can make the shapes easier to see and recognize.  While Photoshop and other software have the tools to do this, it often requires a pretty detailed knowledge of both the software package and digital imaging in general to get the effects you need.

This is where DStretch comes in.  It's a freely available plugin for ImageJ, an image editor that is also free.  Dstretch has numerous canned filters that emphasize different aspects of an image.  One or more of these is bound to make your vague image much more easy to see.  And they areapplied with the click of a button.  There is even an option to automatically rotate through the filters.  This saves a lot of time and effort, especially if you are dealing with many images.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Horseshoe Canyon

Holy Ghost Group at the Great Gallery
Horseshoe Canyon has been called "Louvre of the Southwest."  And for good reason; the Great Gallery there is perhaps the most impressive collection of rock art in the western United States.  Certainly it is the premier site in Utah.

Horseshoe Canyon was originally known as Barrier Canyon, and has given its name to the style of rock art found there.  Barrier Canyon Style (or simply BCS) rock art is found primarily in Utah and is centered in and around the San Rafael Swell and Canyonlands National Park.  However, examples are found in widely scattered locations throughout the state and in western Colorado. As the National Park Service website says, BCS artwork,  "is believed to date to the Late Archaic period, from 2000 BC to AD 500".

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Neon Canyon

The petroglyph panels near the mouth of Neon Canyon are easy to find and quite impressive.  They are located several hundred yards north and south of the mouth of Neon Canyon where is meets the Escalante River.

From the Upstream Panel

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Buckhorn Draw

The Buckhorn Draw panel is a well-known example of Barrier Canyon style rock art located in the San Rafael Swell in Emery County.  It is accessible from a well-graded road and is a popular stopping spot for travelers driving through the Swell for sightseeing or recreation.

While the style is primarily Barrior Canyon, there are also many Fremont figures and some of the main figures are clearly Barrier Canyon figures that were overpainted by Fremont artists.  The panel is located in Buckhorn Draw (hence the name) which is a natural route through the Swell.  It has been a widely-used route for millennia and was part of the Old Spanish Trail.  As a result there are many relatively modern markings alongside the native American rock art.  The site was refurbished in the late 1990's as part of Utah's state centennial celebration and the more recent additions are now largely obscured, but still visible.

 Barrier Canyon figures in dark red, overpainted by Fremont figures in yellow.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Short Canyon

Original report - May 17, 2009

The lower of two large rock art panels in Short Canyon

I went on a campout this weekend with the scouts. We had the 12-13 year-old group (the scouts) and the 14-15 year-old group (the varsity scouts) with a total of 16 people.

We drove down Friday night to the Moore cutoff road and stopped at Dry Wash to see the petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks.

Head of Sinbad

Original Report - May 12, 2009

One of the other sites we hit on Saturday was a Barrier Canyon Style panel near the Head of Sinbad right in the middle of the Swell. The interstate passes within a mile or so of the panel, but historically this part of the Swell has not had a lot of traffic. It differs in this regard from the panels in Buckhorn Draw and Black Dragon Canyon which are both located along rather obvious travel routes. As a result, unlike these panels, the small one at the Head of Sinbad is in close to pristine condition. You can even see the brushstrokcs on some of the figures.

Black Dragon Canyon

Original Report - May 11, 2009

The Black Dragon?
I took a tour with my two youngest children this past Saturday. The Prehistory Museum at the College of Eastern Utah in Price does a regular series of expeditions through the San Rafael Swell, which they call "Saturday on the Swell". This last Saturday's was headed by Dr. Renee Barlow and focused on Native American rock art in the Swell. We visited 4 sites with the group and one of the most fascinating was the one in Black Dragon Canyon.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Coyote Gulch

Original Report - April 30, 2009

The Central Figures

The pictograph panel in lower Coyote Gulch is located about half a mile downstream from Coyote Natural Bridge. It is located on the north wall of the canyon at the top of a sandy hill. There is a very clear path running up the hill to the panel.
I have posted all the photos I took here on Photobucket.

Rochester Creek

Original Report - December 10, 2008

The rock art panel at Rochester Creek is easily accessible and worth a trip. It is located east of Emery, Utah on a rock face overlooking the confluence of Muddy Creek and Rochester Creek. Take highway 10 and turn onto the road to Moore between mile markers 16 & 17. A half mile from the highway is a graded road headed south, it is an other 4 miles from here to the trailhead parking lot. From the parking lot the trail to the panel is a half mile or so.