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