Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fremont Indian State Park

On my way to Yellowstone, I camped the first night at Fremont Indian State Park in Utah. I am fascinated by the petroglyphs and pictographs one can find in Utah and other areas of the Southwest. One of the best places to see rock art done by the Fremont culture is at Fremont Indian State Park off Interstate 70 just east of Interstate 15. Sadly, the park was established to make up for the fact that the largest Fremont village ever discovered was destroyed by the construction of Interstate 70. I have no idea why the Interstate couldn’t have been moved or re-routed a bit to avoid obliterating the village.

The panel below, called newspaper rock, is easily viewed from the road with binoculars, and has over 250 petroglyphs in it. Some idiot vandal by the name of Mike had the bright idea unfortunately of adding his name to it. When you view rock art, please just view it, don’t touch it since the oils on your hands can damage it.

At the visitor's center at the park one can get a trail guide that attempts to give meaning to some of the rock art. This is the only place I have been where this is attempted in such a serious way. The guide says that the panel below contains figures that are meaningful to the Hopi, and relates to levels of initiation.

This image is a "pictoglyph". It is both carved and painted. Petroglyphs are pecked or carved into the surface of the rock, and pictographs are painted. The red is painted, and the white is carved in this pattern. This is one of nine pictoglyphs known in Utah. Archeologists refer to these designs as pottery designs because of the similarity to the designs and those found on pottery.

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