Are these vacant eyes staring at you from the ancient past? Probably not since these two 7,000 year old pecked indentations are merely two out of many that cover a rock at the Grimes Point Archeological Area.
I took a detour on my trip down Highway 395 from Reno to Mt. Whitney last summer to drive east on Highway 50 to the town of Fallon, Nevada. I was excited to visit the Grimes Point Archeological Area with its ancient rock art five miles east of the town. They represent some of the oldest petroglyphs in America. The oldest are located approximately 60 miles away at Pyramid Lake.
This sign greeted me at the entrance to the site. The strange lines on the left represent one of the petroglyphs found at the site.
Highway 50 stretching off into the east from Grimes Point across Nevada claims to be the loneliest road in the US. The grooves you see on the right are to wake up motorists who fall asleep while driving the road.
The circles and wavy lines represent some of the oldest petroglyphs found at the site. Rock art is made by using a rock to peck away the dark, desert varnish that covers rocks exposing the lighter colors underneath. You’ve seen many examples on my posts over the last three weeks. These petroglyphs are almost the color of the rock, which means that the desert varnish has had time to cover the rock art, literally thousands of years.
This is another example of pits, this time with grooves connecting them. It almost appears to be horns on a steer-like head, but who knows.
One of the pit covered rocks. Peggy and I found similar petroglyphs on the Big Island of Hawaii. Information at that site said that the pits had been used to place umbilical cords in.
This is what the countryside looks like at Grimes Point. A pickup hauling a trailer can be seen on Highway 50. Having ridden my bike across Nevada on my 10,000 mile bicycle trek and driven across the state numerous times, I can attest to its lonely, wide-open spaces. No problem with social-distancing out here!
Lichens added some fun color to the rocks.
There were some discernible figures such as this leaping or dancing stick figure. Is it “Come to me sweetie,” or “Gads, look at the size of that snake!”
I wonder if this asterisk-like petroglyph represents the sun.
Those with an overactive imagination might see a UFO landing!
The most mysterious to me was this horse-like figure. Horses went extinct in North America around 11,000 BCE and weren’t reintroduced until the 1500s CE. Petroglyphs at nearby Pyramid Lake date back to 10,000-14,000 BCE, however, so horses could have been around then. Maybe we are looking at a dog, coyote or wolf. Or maybe none-of-the-above.
Here we have a much more recent petroglyph from Canyon de Chelly showing Navajo hunters in pursuit of a deer. Note how light the petroglyphs are in comparison to Grimes Point.
I’ll close my coverage of Grimes Point with another pit covered rock. We can only wonder why.
I’ve enjoyed sharing petroglyphs with you. I can guarantee there will be more if for no other reason than the fact that Peggy and I enjoy them and are always searching for new sites. There are thousands throughout the Western United States. I can’t resist a few more from the Petrified Wood National Park and Canyon de Chelly National Monument.
This interesting collection of petroglyphs is from Canyon de Chelly. Check out the top. You’ve heard of having your ducks in a row? So, apparently, did the early Americans…
But how about having your turkeys in a row? These are pictographs at Canyon de Chelly, painted instead of pecked. The figure on the far right is Kokopelli playing his flute.
The ‘newspaper rock’ in Petrified Wood National Park is one of my favorites. Check out the figure to the right of the nudes. Could it be? Is it possible…
Yes! It’s Wile-e-Coyote! That does it for the day. Grin.
NEXT POST: I’ll take you on a visit to Crater Lake National Park.