Monday, October 6, 2014

Red Hands Pictographs - Joshua Tree National Park

Back to Joshua Tree National Park for a few posts (I'm still playing catch-up).

By now, I'm sure you've caught my drift relating to this place. I love it and I've been going there for over 50 years. Unfortunately, I've forgotten more about this place, than I remember. This pictograph site is pretty small and archaeologists who originally surveyed it, considered it part of another close by site (here is a link to my post on it). The park doesn't talk about it, or even admit that it exists. That is too bad, because it is close to one of their most visited and advertised, tourist attractions. I've scoured the internet for information on this site, but there just isn't any. It's only mentioned on two websites that I know of. I know those people and both of them gave it their own name (for different reasons). I'm having trouble thinking of what I"m going to call it.


The site is in this area. If you can figure that out, more power to you.


It's a small panel on the concave side of a boulder.


Same photo as above, enhanced with DStretch. Some of the pictographs are very faded, but it is very clear that most of them are red hand prints. 



Embiggen this photo to better see the hands
A better look.  Although there is zero historical information available about this site, I'm pretty sure it relates to female puberty initiates. I say this because all of the hand prints are fairly small and red is the "female" color.  I'm not saying that all red pictographs relate to females, but these most likely do. There is also another "known" initiate site fairly close by. Here is a link to my post on that site. I wish I knew all the facts.

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50 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, now it's in three places on the Internet. What are you going to name it, Pat?

Brian said...

Those are pretty amazing Pat!

TexWisGirl said...

pretty neat.

Sylvia K said...

You do find the most interesting places/things!! I'm so glad that you share them with us, Pat! The next best thing to being there myself!! Thank you!! Have a great week!!

Margaret Benbow said...

"The park doesn't talk about it..." Maybe they're afraid it would be defaced by visitors who aren't as respectful and careful as you are, Pat. I love these pictures. The red hands seem lively and warm...I too wish I understood more.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Fascinating. I like how you share your explorations and finds on your blog. It makes me see things in a new way, especially places I'm somewhat familiar with but never paid much attention to.

Ms. A said...

If it IS related to female puberty, can't help wondering where that red came from? *shudder

Betsy Adams said...

HI Pat, Thanks to YOU, I think I know more about Joshua Tree National Park than I EVER would have. You can share that place over and over... Can't ever get 'enough' of it.. thanks.

Hugs,
Betsy

sallie (fulltime-Life.com) said...

I wish I could identify it -- I wish I were able to hike to it -- I wish to be able to go to JT again sometime even if I can't find it. Thanks as always for showing us places in this wonderful Park and in the desert that we are unlikely ever to find even if we are lucky enough to get there again someday. (I like knowing these kind of special places exist, even if I never see them and don't begrudge the Park Service for not publicizing all of them.)

William Kendall said...

It is such a stark, beautiful area, Pat. I'd love to see the park for myself.

eileeninmd said...

Pat, these are amazing images.. It is a neat find..It may be best to keep this place a secret..

Arlee Bird said...

The sad thing is that there are those who would probably deface the work or add their own graffiti. It's a pretty cool find though.

Lee
Wrote By Rote

dennis hodgson said...

Hi Pat. If ever I were to visit Joshua Tree (sadly a remote possibility), I’d spend a week beforehand poring over your blog posts on the area. You do provide such a lot of fascinating (and useful) information.

Icy BC said...

You found wonderful things, Pat!

sage said...

I don't know about Joshua Tree, but remember Zion Natl Park not saying anything about native art because they didn't want people disturbing it. This is interesting, but I am sure that it isn't blood for I would think that the wind and sand and what little rain would have washed it away.

Mandy Southgate said...

I love it when you take us here. I can almost feel the stillness and latent magic of the place.

visualnorway said...

Very interesting stuff! You must know this country very well to find such a place. Is it possible to date the pictographs using the C14 method, or are they too contaminated?

Thank you so much for the nice comments!

James said...

Definitely interesting! The top picture is so beautiful!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

That red is blood red. I'm wondering why. Is it actual blood? Hopefully not.

Pat Tillett said...

Alex J. Cavanaugh - I like the Bloody Hands name (from Death Valley Jim), but looking at the comments, it seems some people might think the red is actual blood. I wish I could find something official, but I really don't know if it was ever officially discovered and/or named.

Brian - thanks Brian!

TexWisGirl - I concur!

Sylvia K - Thanks Sylvia! I also wish I was there. Right now!

Margaret Benbow - Thanks Margaret! They do worry about vandalism, but that is only valid to a point. I believe that the more people know and are educated about these places, the more respect they will receive. This is a huge and complicated subject, that I could go on and on about. Unfortunately, the archaeologists make these decisions. Their track record relating to rock art, isn't that good and in some cases, it's deplorable.

Pat Tillett said...

Karen Jones Gowen - I agree with Karen. I think it is that way with a lot of people Your former home state is chock-full of this stuff and it is amazing.

Ms. A - Oh no! That color usually has red ochre or something else as a base. Some blood (not THAT kind though) might be used as a binder in some cases. It wouldn't still be red anyway.

Betsy Adams - You are most welcome and thank you! I'm sure I'll be doing JT posts for a long time. I've done about 20 so far and have at least that many more in some form of draft. And I'm just getting started. There is much much more there.

sallie (fulltime-life.com) - I really wish you could go back there again. Let me know if it ever happens. I also like knowing that they exist. The truth is, they have no idea exactly what they have, because they haven't found them all and they really aren't looking.

William Kendall - that is a perfect description of the place William. I hope you do get to see it. Let me know, when and if you do!

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

While it's good that they don't advertise it, it would be nice to get some scientific study of these. I'm afraid it will be too late when someone realizes. Another 'very cool' find.

robin andrea said...

Some places need to be visited many, many times to absorb all of the multi-layers of beauty. I'm glad you return here and find these pictographs, these ancient messages written so long ago.

Should Fish More said...

Great stuff, Pat. You've made a field of study from Joshua Tree, there might be no one in academia that can rival it.

Pat Tillett said...

eileeninmd - Thanks so much Eileen! Well, I'm not telling anyone where it is, but maybe they could put a fence around it.

Arlee Bird - I've been to tons of rock art sites. Some are "secret" and some are well known. I think the chances of vandalism at either one, are about the same. Minimal... Many (if not most) of the park rangers and employees don't even know where most of this stuff is.

dennis hodgson - Hey Dennis! Thanks for the nice words. People would be amazed if they knew how much time it sometimes takes, to find a tiny breadcrumb of a clue, to help find places. Libraries, internet, etc. The time spent searching in person, is the fun part.

Icy BC - Thank you! It is a blast...

sage - You are so right! Zion is an amazing place. The are a little more open than Joshua Tree though. In fact, they are pretty public about a couple of great sites. Those sites aren't really monitored and are pretty much pristine. Speaking of Zion, the National Parks in Utah are amazing! There are 59 National Parks in the US, 15 of them are in Utah and California (CA 9 - UT 6).

Pat Tillett said...

Mandy Southgate - Believe me, it is my pleasure! I love going places where there isn't a hint of noise from civilization.

visualnorway - My grandmother was what we call a "desert rat" and I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in places like this as a child. Some of these spots can be dated, but some cannot. Also, in some spots there is rock art, created upon older rock art. Most of the rock art here is anywhere from hundreds to thousands of years old. These people didn't interact with the Spanish or Whites until later than most American indigenous groups. What happened after that is incredibly sad.

James - Thanks so much James!

Rawknrobyn - Although it would make for a better story, I'm pretty confident that it isn't blood.

Wayne - Thanks Wayne! I couldn't find even a tiny bit of technical information on this site. Many of the ones they know about, weren't surveyed until the 1970's. Some of those haven't ever been totally evaluated. Like I said before, if all they found was rock art. They might have almost totally ignored it. Back in the day, it rock art wasn't considered that glamorous. To me, THAT fact is one of the major contributing factors to the vandalism. Back then, they would pick up (or dig up), then catalog every projectile point, pot, basket, pipe and any other artifact they found and "protect" them by putting them in storage, or a museum, or even in their own private collections. Yet, they amazingly paid little attention to the rock art and just left it sitting there.

Pat Tillett said...

robin andrea - I'm couldn't agree with you more. It's nice to sit there and soak up some of the feeling and history.

Should Fish More - Thanks so much! I really appreciate the nice words. Unfortunately (or fortunately), there are some who know more than I do. I'm fortunate to know a couple of them. My granny knew more than anyone I've met. Sadly, she took much of her knowledge to the grave. I should have paid more attention to her, when she was dragging me around the desert. Oh well...

Leovi said...

Beautiful photos, interesting place, looking for pictograms!

Jenny said...

I am going here one day!

It's on my very, very, very long bucket list!

Thanks for sharing your journeys! Stories and places are always best shared!

Pat Tillett said...

Leovi - Thank you Leovi! It is very interesting.

Jenny - I hope you do go Jenny! Several years ago, I cut down my "bucket list" to only include places and things in the southwest and Great Basin areas. I know I'll never complete even those. Oh well. Thanks Jenny and it's my pleasure.

Al Penwasser said...

No wonder you've been going there as long as you have. this is a fascinating place!

jeannettestgermain said...

Have you ever contacted archeologists in the area where you live about the site, Patrick? Someone must know something... also about the symbols, etc.

Pat Tillett said...

Al Penwasser - Your are correct sir! Thanks...

jeannettestgermain - Interesting question. Unfortunately, most archaeologists in this area, or any other, don't know much (or any) more about symbols than I do. They don't even agree with each other. That isn't a criticism, it's just that most of that knowledge is gone.

Stewart M said...

Great pictures.

I was reading some material about new, and very early, hand stencils being found in Indonesia recently.

It may be worth a Google search.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne.

PS: Naturs car wash took care of the cat!

EG CameraGirl said...

I can see why you love this place, Pat. There's so much to see and learn about there! And there's so much only a few people have ever bothered to check out - treasures!

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Maybe it's better this way Pat.. there are too few undiscovered spots these days.

NatureFootstep said...

it is such an interesting teknique. :)

Pat Tillett said...

Stewart M - I will Google that Stewart. Thanks for the info. I wish nature would step in where I live.

EG CameraGirl - Interesting, beautiful and mysterious. There is a lot to love out there.

PerthDailyPhoto - In some cases I agree with that. In this part of the country, I believe that the number of undiscovered sites, outnumbers the discovered ones by a huge number.

NatureFootstep - Yes, interesting and historic.

ladyfi said...

What a great find!

Magia da Inês said...

。°°。✿⊱。
Locais como esse devem ser preservados... contam histórias antigas.

Bom fim de semana!
Beijinhos do Brasil°°。✿
。°°。✿⊱。

Al said...

That's a great find and a beautiful area. You have an eye for finding these things!

altadenahiker said...

How are the Joshua Trees handling the drought?

Sandy said...

Very cool find. Great pictures that show the enhancement - to show the hands. :)

Pat Tillett said...

ladyfi - It is a small site, but nice and tucked away.

Magia da Ines - Hello Magia! Thanks so much! I love history and it is very nice to find it.

Al - Thanks Al! It is beautiful there. Although there is a lot more to finding them, than just a good eye, but it sure does help.

altadenahiker - I'm no expert (on anything!), but from all I've seen and heard. The younger trees are having a bigger problem because of a shallower root system. In addition, "new" trees are having a much harder time catching on. It's also been getting a bit hotter there, so that may have a bigger impact than the drought. Joshua Trees thrive in the high deserts, but not in those at lower altitudes. The little bit of temperature difference between the two, changes all the vegetation. You can almost see that fact demonstrated before your eyes along the pinto road. There is a transition zone there the Mojave and Colorado deserts meet. In a short distance, you can see the vegetation all change, as you go up or down hill.

Sandy - Thanks Sandy! The program that does those enhancements is pretty cool. Thanks for the comment...

Stickup Artist said...

Oh, how I wish time travel were possible. How much we might learn from these ancient people. We have lost so much thru the ages about ritual, community, respect, caring for the earth that sustains and nourishes us. Your photos make that time travel possible at least in my imagination...

Sharon Wagner said...

I'm not surprised you discovered such a remote and unknown site Patrick!

Baby Sister said...

I think it's awesome that you find these places that are unknown and off the beaten path, it's cool and it makes you wonder what else is out there, waiting to be discovered.

Betty Manousos said...

pretty neat!
loving your photos!!

have a good day~

Japy said...

Another simple of those interesting places you always show us. Well done.
Greetings.

Pat Tillett said...

Stickup Artist - You are so right. They did just fine until we came along. I'll be back in J.T. next week.

Sharon Wagner - Thanks Sharon! Not totally unknown, but almost. I hope to find a couple more next week.

Baby Sister - I'll tell you what is out there. A TON of places like this. You are right about them being off the beaten path. It's a good thing that that path, is my favorite path. Thanks Amanda!

Betty Manousos - Thanks Betty! I appreciate that.

Japy - thanks so much Japy