Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

Fremont Petroglyphs
Fremont Petroglyphs, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

For this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge theme, I present images from two Native American cultures in my home state of Utah, USA.

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.

Puebloan Granary
Puebloan Granary, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

“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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46 responses to “Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

  1. Both history and photos are fascinating! The changing weather has made impact on many ancient places. Great entry for the culture theme.

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  3. Great shots once again Fergie. Love your entry hon. Well written and so interesting! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 *hugs*

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  6. how interesting fergie, i remember seeing sites like this when i was there … the granary is so neatly tucked away in that shelter … and the images look like important people to me …

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  11. Interesting petroglyphs. What do they show? I don’t know, of course, but I think I see a shaman with a long fringe, two or maybe more men with “necklaces,” and a woman in a plain tunic…

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  13. I lived in Utah for a very short time and made the mistake of never going to these places. I would so love to see them now, so thank you fro taking me there. I am very fond of Native American art and brought back textiles, pottery and jewelry. There is something visceral about their art and way of life.

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  16. Those Petroglyphs are amazing. The Americas are so ‘new’ one tends to forget they were inhabited long before they were ‘discovered’! Great interpretation Fergie.

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  18. I had a picturesque visit to Utah in the late ’90s and spent a good hour taking photographs at a petroglyph site, but I can’t remember if it was the one you show here. West Texas has a bunch of sites, too.

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