The Coso Mountain region near China Lake and Ridgecrest, California, has the greatest concentration of prehistoric rock art, primarily petroglyphs, in North America. Little Petroglyph Canyon contains perhaps the most abundant number of petroglyphs, but others are scattered in various canyons and on rock outcrops throughout a 50-60 square mile area in the region. The petroglyphs consist of geometric designs (many perhaps representations of images seen during shaman hallucinatory trances), human figures, human-animal figures, and large numbers (about 50%) of portrayals of bighorn mountain sheep. Archaeological evidence suggests that these petroglyphs were produced over many thousands of years. A few valuable references and web pages are cited at end of this text section.
Both public and private tours are conducted onto the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake where Little Petroglyph Canyon is located. The Maturango Museum assists in the arrangement of private tours (see http://www.desertusa.com/mag98/mar/poi/feb_matmustour.html). The map below shows the town of Ridgecrest which is just south of the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake. Little Petroglyph Canyon can only be reached through tours approved by the base.
Photos From Rock Art Field Trip to Little
Petroglyph Canyon May 2003
Photo Credits: Nos. 1-9,11-16 & 27, Jeff Sahagύn; 10, 18-26, 28-38, Philip de Barros; 17, Priya Wong.
This page was last updated on
Tuesday, December 13, 2005.
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