Puzzling locations for Rock Art in the Southwest

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There are many suppositions when it comes to rock art locations. For instance, rock art occurrences near certain dwellings varies from area to area. Some locations display much rock art near the habitation while others show none even though the inhabitants lived there for centuries. Some structures display “ownership markers” or territorial symbols (1) with large rocks surrounding an area or dwelling to suggest clan membership or a warning.

Another puzzling factor noted by researchers is that the “rock art in the canyon diminished in density and complexity in relation to its height above the canyon floor” and yet the “ratio of pictographs to petroglyphs increased noticeably with elevation”. (1)

A common puzzle is that of mixed rock art panels. A single rock art panel may often contain rock art from different artists, different times and different cultures even though other suitable rock surfaces abounded. Why these superimpositions? Was this a prehistoric form of graffiti? A need to leave one’s personal human imprint? Were they territorial markings continued from different cultures at different times?

Another strange occurrence is that quite a bit of rock art is found in hard to reach ledges and caves which would have required some type of ladder or slab of rock to reach and climb.

(1) Prehistoric Rock Art – Canyon Country – F.A. Barnes