Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Monumental Art Volume 55 Number 3, May/June 2002
by Eric A. Powell

Utah governor Mike Leavitt has announced a campaign to designate the arid desert wilderness known as the San Rafael Swell a national monument under the 1906 Antiquities Act. The rugged area is known for its spectacular rock art. Left, a red ocher pictograph in the Barrier-Canyon style, first developed by hunter-gatherers perhaps as early as 3000 B.C., depicts a figure with hands outstretched to what appear to be plants with extremely long roots. A zoomorphic "helper figure" is at left. Local preservationists worry that national monument designation will dramatically increase the numbers of visitors to the numerous rock-art panels in the area, putting fragile sites like this at risk.


(Courtesy Troy Scotter) [LARGER IMAGE]

© 2002 by the Archaeological Institute of America