A good panel of Coso sheep. One could be forgiven for inferring these were added over generations since the styles do appear to vary somewhat. 

In the center, a mountain lion. Center right, the rake. Interestingly enough the spring in this canyon still hosts a big cat. Remarkable to think that the line of predators here may have been unbroken since the time of the paleo-Indians.

These are quite old, as the sheep lack the stylization of later periods. Possibly in excess of a thousand years. 

Grinding slick atop a small petroglyph site in a wash. A place of waiting. 


Some motifs are repeated across sites many miles apart while others seem unique to particular locales. Note the faint crosshatching - it occurs across a range of sites in the Mojave.

This petroglyph resonated powerfully. Perhaps it was the contrast to the others.

Within the context of the other rock art, one can see how this particular figure stands in marked contrast.

The lizard panel

Dense petroglyph panels. This site was clearly used over generations. Lithic scatter was everywhere in the wash, petroglyphs on every conceivable surface, even horizontal planes. Evidence that this was almost certainly a village site at one point.

Here are classic motifs: the rake and the atl-atl (a spear throwing device)

Although it looks to the modern eye like a crude child's drawing of a vehicle, viewing rock art through the lens of your present era is a sure way to misinterpret. 

Mortars on a boulder. 


This could have been tongue-in-cheek, or possibly aspirational as there are no known mines in the immediate area. Or it could be there is more to this canyon than meets the eye or is recorded in the historic record.

I call this the school of rock art. The imagery is so densely overlaid, I had the immediate quixotic vision of children learning the discipline - like a chalkboard for adolescents.

The great panel of Coso sheep. This immense rock towers over the adjacent wash making it even more imposing. 

An example of the classic boat-shaped Coso sheep.


I believe this was Bill Keys of Joshua Tree National Park fame. He did a stint in Death Valley, befriending Death Valley Scotty, another colorful character. Back in JT, Keys shot and killed Worth Bagley over a disputed mill. He was convicted of murder and sent to San Quentin. 


A closer inspection reveals petroglyphs beneath the Ubehebe Bunch graffiti.

A lizard and a scorpion. These I stumbled across wholly by dumb luck after a harrowing previous day stuck in the desert 20 miles from the nearest paved road. They led me to previously undocumented caves/rock shelters with artifacts strewn about their mouth, smoke stains on the ceiling and more petroglyphs

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