The photo above was taken near Dinosaur National Monument in northeastern Utah. These are petroglyphs dating from AD 100 to 1200, and were made by people from the Native American Fremont culture. Some of the figures reach 9 feet tall and are located along a 200-foot high sandstone cliff. Many rock art sites such as petroglyphs exist across Utah, and as with most rock art, they are a record of the presence of the people who lived there at the time. (Fremont people were here until about AD 1300. A suggestion as to why their traditions and culture disappeared here is climate change and worsening farming conditions, which did not allow Fremont people to easily adapt to for sustenance.)
Of interest to most general readers of petroglyphs is “What does it mean?” Although archaeologists have arrived at certain general interpretations, “interpreting rock art designs is intriguing yet difficult, often impossible.”
How would you interpret these petroglyphs?
Now to the opposite end of the state for the next photo. Tucked away into a ledge above a dry wash in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park (southeastern Utah) is a structure from the Native American Pueblo culture. This structure, located in the left side of the photo, is an Ancestral Puebloan granary (grain storage bin). Built between AD 1270 and 1295, this type of granary was used to store corn, bean or squash seeds. There are dozens of similar storage structures in this area, but few dwellings. According to the park information, this suggests that the early inhabitants of this area farmed intensively but lived there only seasonally.
“For many years, changing weather patterns made growing crops more and more difficult. Around AD 1300, the ancestral Puebloans left the area and migrated south. Their descendants include the people living in modern pueblos in New Mexico and Arizona like Acoma, Zuni, and the Hopi Mesas.” (Source: National Park Service – Canyonlands)
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