Monday, April 11, 2016

Not Hidden or Fantastic, but Rarely Seen Rock Art - Joshua Tree National Park

These petroglyphs and pictographs are very close to what may be the busiest part of Joshua Tree National Park. They aren't hidden at all, but people just don't see them. I've been to the park more times than I can remember and I've never heard of them being vandalized.

At the rate these rocks are naturally disintegrating, I don't think these petroglyphs will last more than a few more decades.  The pictographs are already pretty much invisible to the naked eye. I don't understand why spots like these need to be kept secret. Pretty soon, nobody will EVER be able to seem them again. Just who are they saving them for? That question is usually answered with "our grandchildren" or "future generations." Well, I'm here to tell you, that those answers are nonsense. Without DStretch, these pictographs are already gone...

Almost invisible

Even after being enhanced with DStretch, there isn't much left

Not much left

Not much left to enhance either

Not much left of the petroglyphs either

This pictograph isn't visible at all

I don't know what it is, but I'm glad it is visible via DStretch. I recently read something about these brain like looking symbols, but I don't recall what it was.

I'll be sharing several more of these sites...


Sorry it took me so long to get a post out (if anybody cares). Much to post, but not much time to do so right now.

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44 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I care!
Hoarding a treasure like that only means no one will enjoy it. Sad that your photos might be some of the last before they are gone.

sage said...

Don't pictographs (done with paint) decay faster than petrographs (chiseled into the rock)? This look to be the first. Thanks for sharing your find. They are quite psychedelic

William Kendall said...

Enhancing the details like that certainly does make a difference.

Betsy Adams said...

That's me---much to post and not enough time to get it done!!!!! ha ha .... Great pictures... I would love to visit there someday... Such wonderful history.

We just got home from a few days hiking in the Smokies... One of these days --I'll get a blog done to share... ha

Hugs,
Betsy

Wayne said...

There's some pretty good psychedelica going on there.

Pat Tillett said...

Alex J. Cavanaugh - HA! Thanks Alex. I agree about the hording. I went to a rock art site a couple of weeks ago and the pictographs were totally invisible to the naked eye. Yet, those in charge, deny their existence.

sage - Psychedelic Shack, that's where it's at... What you said is usually true, especially if the pictographs are exposed to the elements. However, sometimes the type of rock that a petroglyph is made on deteriorates quickly.

William Kendall - It really does make a difference, but unfortunately, sometimes they are too far gone for it to work.

Betsy Adams - Yeah, and I thought I'd have more time after I retired. The opposite seems to be true. Looking forward to seeing your photos Betsy.

Wayne - In some cases the images were created by a Shaman who was most definitely under the influence.

TheChieftess said...

They don't advertise the Bishop petroglyphs anymore because people have actually broken off rock to take samples home...They're much more visible than these, so I can see why people have done that but...come on people! It's like grafitti on rocks...why destroy what nature has given us or our anthropological history??? Sheesh!!! Glad you were able to decipher what's there...

Brian said...

It is so amazing to see things that we would never ever see if it weren't for you Pat!

Kaya said...

Hey Pat,

I was thinking about you and wondering where you were traveling. Joshua National park is my biggest dream; someday I will go there. Rock art is fascinating! And you took magnificent photos of some rocky formations and created great abstract. I always thought that nature is a wonderful artist.

Glad that you are back and showed us something unique.

VEG said...

So sad. We're the last generations ever to see those probably. Where in the park are they?

jeannettestgermain said...

Hello Patrick, even though you have time, please link one of these to SEASONS (the link this week closes Wed. 7pm), so more people who do not know of your investigations, can see them ? Would be thrilled if you did an hope to see one of your thumbnail links there!
Have a great rest of the week!

Pat Tillett said...

TheChieftess - I remember when the BLM would give you a map to those petroglyphs if you stopped by the office first. Even though they no longer do that, they are readily available on the internet. Vandalism is a terrible thing, and they REALLY need to increase the penalties for those caught doing it.

Brian - Thanks so much Brian! It's my pleasure!

Kaya - I'm actually in the area right now. Thanks so much Kaya!

VEG - Most of the rock art has never been seen by 99.99% (or less) by visitors to JT. These particular spots are near the Barker Dam area.

jeannettestgermain said...

Mucho Gracias, Amigo - really, your prompt response is appreciated!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, I can only assume the vandalism is awful. It is great you have photos of the petroglyphs and a record of all you have seen. Thanks for sharing, enjoy your day!

Sandy said...

Cool! Technology can be good for a few things.;) I hear ya about posting. I'm with you! =)

Chuck said...

Hey Pat, how ya been?? It is sad those historical remnants are decaying away. Glad you got to preserve a little of what is left. I am sure glad I ran across this post as I have not been on in a long time. Glad to see you're still photographing the good stuff.
Take care and I hope to not be gone so long...

Chuck

PS. Now I gotta go hit up Alex. Man, I really miss you guys.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

This is so interesting Pat - the complete opposite of sometimes before when you've posted about wanting to keep some of your finds secret. Your DStretched" photos need to be in an historical archive somewhere. I wonder if there is anyone who has already done that and documented where they are the way you have. Can you find out?

We've spent some time in Joshua Tree (a few years ago now) and we love it there -- but never saw these. I wish we had. Thanks for sharing.

I'm glad to know that the reasons you haven't posted are good ones (of course we care).... it's good to know you're well and busy (especially if busy means you're out taking wonderful pictures ;>))). (And of course blogging isn't supposed to be an obligation, but it does get to be like friends and neighbors ... when you don't see one of your regulars for a while you wonder a bit and hope everything is OK. It's kind of an amazingingly different hobby.)

Pat Tillett said...

jeannettestgermain - You are most welcome!

eileeninmd - Thanks Eileen! It's my pleasure.

Sandy - I'm with you about technology. It can be a great thing, right up until it doesn't work, or the power goes out...

Chuck - Chuck! I'm doing great. So nice to see your comment. I hope you are doing well also. I miss seeing you here and on your blog. Take care buddy!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) - Thanks Sallie! I do still feel than some sites need to be kept off limits. However, many of them should be made available to the public. There are a lot of thing that can be done to protect them. Education, Site Steward Programs fences, barriers, etc. Most of the sites have been documented (decades ago), after that, they are very tight lipped about them. Most of the vandalism that does take place these days, is at historical sites (mining and things like that).

Baby Sister said...

I hate that things have to fade, that they can't last forever, because then people forget about them. Sad...

TexWisGirl said...

i'm glad you have a way to share them with us.

DEZMOND said...

there is never enough time in this world, Pat

Icy BC said...

Keep sharing! One of these days, your blog will be in history :) Yes, there are much to do, but not enough to do it.

Icy BC said...

Keep sharing! Your blog will be in history :)

I know what you mean about much to do, and not enough time to do it though.

Anthony J. Langford said...

That is such a tragedy. Great however, that you knew about them Pat and have somehow preserved them in the modern sense. Hopefully some record of them exists somewhere?
The way of life I suppose. The loss of culture ... and of people.

Al said...

Definitely fading, but still worth capturing and sharing. Have a wonderful weekend, hopefully you're getting better weather than our snow!

Leovi - La Fotografía Efectista Abstracta said...

Beautiful photos !!Very interesting!!!

Ron said...

As usual Pat, your posts (and photographs) are utterly fascinating! Very cool about the symbols being visible via DStretch; even though they're fading. The colors make them look like works of art!

Thanks for sharing, buddy. Have a super weekend!

Pat Tillett said...

Baby Sister - I agree. Although, as long as people remember them and there are photos, they aren't ever totally gone. Or not!

TexWisGirl - DStretch is an awesome tool.

DEZMOND - That is so true, but I wish it wasn't.

Icy BC - I will do that! Yep, never enough time.

Pat Tillett said...

Anthony J. Langford - Thanks Anthony! There is a record of most of these places. From decades ago though.

Al - Thanks Al! Found a couple more this week. We are getting a lot of wind, and occasional bit of rain, but not nearly enough.

Leovi - Thanks Leovi! I agree.

Ron - Thanks for the nice words Ron. I appreciate them.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Pat, you're so fascinating to have knowledge of all these fascinations in CA. I think I need to calendar an in-person tour some time. I've been to most of the places you show us, yet I've seen none of this.

Stewart M said...

Life can get in the way of blogging at times - thankfully!

Would love to find a point like the one in the previous post.

Thanks for all the comments.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

NatureFootstep said...

Of course the picographes are interesting bit I like the rock as it is too. :)

Pat Tillett said...

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com - Thanks Robyn! I'm not sure it makes me fascinating, probably more like obsessive and a glutton for punishment. That you've been to these places and never seen any of this stuff, is EXACTLY how the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Forest Service, most archaeologists, and others want to keep it. To me that is a shame. Eventually, most sites will end up like this one and many others.

Stewart M - It sure can Stewart. Yeah, it was an awesome one. I didn't take it (and never do), but I made it a lot harder for someone to find. As always, the comments on your blog are my pleasure. Thanks for the great posts!

Nora said...

you really find the most interesting things. Possibly your photos will be the only records of them in time. We rarely find stuff like that here. I think our First Nations keep them secret. Perhaps there are more here but no one looks for them like you do.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

It's good to know that when these ancient art forms are there no more, for whatever reason, you will have such a good record of them Pat. Keep them safe!

Pat Tillett said...

Nature-Footstep - Yep, the rocks are the main attraction in Joshua Tree National Park.

Nora - Thanks Nora! For sure there are some archaeological records relating to most of these places. There are others who do this also, when compared to the population, there is a very small number of us.

PerthDailyPhoto - Thanks Grace! Unfortunately, it's too late for some sites. I've spent several hours over two days this week looking for a particular spot. I found the spot, but there is nothing left of the pictographs. I couldn't even coax anything out using DStretch.

Mandy Southgate said...

I agree - there is so much we are trying to preserve without experiencing it ourselves. I visited a ruined abbey once, nothing more than a pile of stones, that had signs telling children not to walk on the walls. It'll all be gone eventually (it is outside) - why not let children get a sense of the structure?

And as you can see from the comments, many of us love your posts and do appreciate them!!

Magia da Inês said...


Passei para uma visita.
É uma lástima que esses pictogramas estejam deteriorando-se...
Eles contam uma história que ainda não foi desvendada.

Bom fim de semana com tudo de bom!
Beijinhos.♬♪ه° ·.
💕ه° ·.

robin andrea said...

I always love seeing a post here. I CARE!! Looking forward to all of the future posts of whatever you have been photographing out there in the desert.

Vid Digger said...

Sad that you can't see them anymore. Pat, do you know of anywhere online where you could see what they looked like before?

Pat Tillett said...

Mandy Southgate - I know what you mean. If it is something that is very fragile, then they should put some type of barrier around it. Thanks Mandy!

Magia da Ines -
Magia! Estou muito feliz por vos ver.
Obrigado por comentar.
Vou visitar você também.
Ter uma semana feliz.

Robin Andrea - Thanks so much Robin! The sad part, is that I have posts just waiting to be posted.

Vid Digger - I agree! Very few old photos of them can be found on the internet. Most are kept hidden from the prying eyes of the public. Very frustrating for me. My granny had a ton of old rock art photos that she took when I was kid. Unfortunately, they disappeared shortly after her death in 1972. I'm still looking for them 30 years later and am about to give up. Thanks so much for the comment. I appreciate it.

Liz said...

Another very interesting post as always, Patrick! You are a mine of historical information and I love the hikes you take us on!!

trav4adventures said...

Pat, thank you for another interesting post. We were just at Joshua Tree last Sunday, but hubby's legs were bothering him, so we didn't hike far. Stopped at Intersection rock and at the Barker Dam area. It was a nice, cool, beautiful day and we just enjoyed getting out of the house for a while. I always enjoy your posts.

Pat Tillett said...

Liz - Thanks Liz! It's all my pleasure!

trav4adventure - Thanks Cheryl! If you went to Intersection Rock and the Barker Dam Area, you were REALLY close to this.. I had planned on going there next week, but I heard it will be blazing there, starting this weekend. Thanks again.