Monday, March 2, 2015

Return to Grapevine Canyon - Southern Nevada

I did a post on this place a few years ago. We were there again last week and this time I'll show you some items that weren't included in the earlier post. There have also been a couple of changes there. Not good changes...
Grapevine Canyon is one of the biggest and oldest petroglyph sites in the southern part of Nevada. This place is sacred to several Yuman and Numic speaking tribes from this area. These tribes include the Mojave, Hualapai, Yavapai, Havasupai, Quechan, Pai Pai, Maricopa,Chemehuevi and Southern Paiute. This place is on BLM land and is fairly well known. On a weekday, you have a good chance of being there by yourself. 

Please Embiggen to enhance your viewing pleasure
This wall of petroglyphs is about 100 feet high and much wider than that. Please notice the "notch" in the rocks near the lower right hand corner.  

Here is a closer view of the "notch" in the above photo. Since we were here last time, some people came here at night with a power saw and cut some petroglyphs out of the rock. These are large symbols and that chunk of rock must have weighed hundreds of pounds. I'm happy to report that the bastards who did this, were later arrested. 

This is the most recognizable and famous panel in the canyon.  This is one of only a couple, that were included in my first post on this place.

Another panel of mountain sheep from a little further up the canyon. 

 A few more of them, just outside the canyon.

I love this panel. The large symbol in the middle is about 4 feet high. 

Last week was my third visit to this place and the first time I saw these shallow mortars. They are also the only ones I've seen there. I've never seen any photos of them either.

 Layers of petroglyphs on this huge rock. Thousands of years of history...

I can't swear to it, but I think this is a "Yoni" (you remember, right?).  The rock was definitely hand worked. 

 Some very nice petroglyphs on the front and side of this large rock.

 Another angle of the rock in the above photo.

Many atlatls in the left side of the photo. Atlatls were tools used to "throw" arrows (or darts) and spears, before the advent of the "bow and arrow."

 I said I was going to start including an occasional photo of myself in my posts. Of course, that is me on the right, one of our girls in the middle and some grizzled old desert rat on the left.  Just kidding! I never looked that good on my best day. The guy on the right is a friend and of course, I'm the old guy. In case you were wondering, that is in fact graffiti on the rocks behind us. It was a steep climb to that nice spot, and we were not happy to see it there.

 Looking back down the canyon

The large wash at the base of Grapevine Canyon


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Black and White - group 4

We're currently in the desert, in one of the two places where California, Arizona and Nevada meet. Very busy doing and seeing some fantastic things. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these black and whites, from everywhere. You might have seen a couple of them in the past.

 Japanese businessman

Oceano Dunes 

 Mid-day desert moon in Yuma

Nap time

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Antelope Hill Petroglyphs - SW Arizona

Antelope Hill is located in Southwest Arizona, next to the Gila river and has been visited and used for thousands of years. It is said that no particular tribe of Indians ever claimed ownership of the place, but many used the resources found there. This hill is composed of a particular type of sandstone, that is well suited to create grinding stones and other stone tools. It is not found elsewhere in the area. Some of those who used this hill left their markings. Many of the petroglyphs in the photos below are thousands of years old, while others are several hundred. In a general sense, the lighter a petroglyph is (when compared to the darker desert varnish on the rest of a rock), the newer it is.  

Tribes that have ties to this place are the Pima and Maricopa to the East; the Cocopah, Quechan and Mohave along the Colorado; the Tohono O'odham and Hid-Ced O'odham (desert tribes); and the Yavapi and Hopi to the north.

Approaching Antelope Hill. Note the lighter part on the very left hand side.

Here is a closer view of the lighter part. It has been mined for quite a while. I wonder how many artifacts were destroyed because of it. This is a disgrace in my mind.

This is a view near the ruined area. Some petroglyphs are in the foreground.

Several human figures and possibly an atlatl. The large figures are 2-3 feet in height. As you can see in this photo, there are petroglyphs on top of older petroglyphs.

When arrows are pointing tip to tip at each other, it usually signifies a battle, war, or some other type of conflict.  However, I wouldn't bet any money that this symbol is authentic. The lines and corners look a bit too perfect to me.

This rock appears to have a few cupules ground into it.

The symbol on the right is pretty common. The two circles and line, represent a conversation that took place between two parties. Variations in the circles and line give more information. At least that is what my granny told me!

A man, a man/animal (anthropomorphic) and a capital B maybe? At first I thought the B was an initial, but it seems to not be as worn as the other two. I guess it could be a bit of "historical graffiti."

My wife and I split up when there is a lot of ground to cover.

A food grinding surface called a metate or slick. This is the only whole one that we saw. There are others, but they are all badly broken or pulverized. I didn't find anything here that would lead me to believe that this was ever a habitation site. Because of the sandstone here, various tribes quarried and then made "portable" grinding surfaces and other stone tools, right on the spot. The failed attempts were just left here. It's hard to tell what is what though, because the entire mountain is eroding and sliding down the slope. You can see that in almost every photo.

A pretty good sized rock shelter. There was so much loose rubble on, in and around it, that I pretty much only stuck my head in.

An old railroad bridge crossing the Gila River.

My wife trying not to start a rock slide (with her in it). Climbing up and down these slopes was treacherous. Next time we'll be better prepared and will go to the top. 

Here is a good example of how everything is making its way down the slope.

If you enlarge this photo, it is easy to see the natural destruction.

Instead of the modern graffiti I expected to find (which was none), there were too many bullet holes to count. I counted 25-30 on the surface of this rock alone. Yes, there were petroglyphs on it also. They are now barely recognizable. The idiot bastards, that would do this...

This is the sandstone that the hill/mountain is made of. As you can see, erosion eventually causes the sandstone to lose its grip on other minerals and they migrate downhill. 

Maybe you can see the large rectangular design that was pecked or scraped into this rock. If not....

I used a red paint brush in MS Paint, to make the grid design show up better for you.

I adjusted the contrast a little bit so these petroglyphs would show up better. This group is so old that they are being covered over by desert varnish. By old, I mean thousands of years. These symbols were here for centuries before the first European stepped foot on this continent.  In fact, they still thought the earth was flat. It kills me to think that there are morons out there, who have no problem shooting this ancient history all to hell.

I love this rock! It looks like some kind of giant bird head.

This large boulder has more than a hundred symbols on it. If you look at the rock to the right, you can see that it broke off of another piece. I made a short search for it.

There was quite a bit of distance between them. Or maybe this piece broke off of the one beside it. So much movement on this slope, that it is hard to tell what goes with what.

This panel is very interesting. the shape to the far right is either a snake, or a stream/river. The symbol just right of middle is clearly a desert tortoise (at least to me). Last, but not least, the symbol just left of center looks like a half man/half bird, walking away (to the left), while holding something at arm's length. Or maybe, none of that is accurate...

Another anthropomorphic symbol. Part man, part snake? 

Historical graffiti


1849 - I can't read the name. Enlarge if you want to.

Freeland Neahr - 1908?  
I just decided to see if I could find out who this person was. I found him! He was a member of the local Cocopah tribe and was born and died in the same area. Wow!