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Red Rock Canyon Petroglyphs

Updated on November 13, 2009

Petroglyphs at Red Rock Canyon

Petroglyphs Vs Pictographs

Petroglyphs are images carved or painted on the canton walls or on boulders long the escarpment. As you hike the trails at the Red Rock Canyon, you may see many Petroglyphs or Pictographs. Petroglyphs at the Red Rock Canyon can be thousand of years old. What is the difference between petroglyphs and pictographs? As described by archeologists, it is the manner in which they are created makes the difference.

Petroglyphs were pecked or ground onto the surface of the rock. Usually the dark layer that covers the rock, known as the patina or vanish, was broken away to allow the lighter unweathered rock to show through. Artists may also use non-varnished rocks. Sometimes even soft sedimentary rocks were used where rock elements were cut or incised to create awesome art creations. The reason for selecting unvarnished rocks are unknown, but these petroglyphs are still found especially in rock shelters.

What are pictographs?

Pictographs are less common as they have a greater likelihood of fading away. They are paintings or drawings on rocks made by various forces. The paint used for pictographs consists of pigment a binder and a vehicle.

The pigment was the paint's color. In the area of red rock canyon, red, white and orange are the most common colors, but occasionally other colors like blue, green or purple have been spotted. The materials used for binding is also unknown. The answers to many of these questions remain a mystery even today. Petroglyphs or Pictographs are a fragile part of the past and can be easily damaged.

Preservation of Petroglyphs or Pictographs is critical as they have to be studied further to enhance our understanding of the mysterious history. The number of Petroglyphs or Pictographs is decreasing every year, which motivates us to study them and conserve them as early as possible before they all vanish. so, when you visit the area, avoid rubbing or any abrasion. Taking photographs and making sketches is okay.

Red Rock Canyon is a land of marvellous beauty and should be preserved for generations to enjoy.


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      NICOLA 'HORNY TOAD' 7 years ago

      The hilton sucks

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      An interesting information and I enjoyed it. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.