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  • Andrei Stoica

Snake Gulch - Gallery of the Ancient Ones


Imagine an art gallery open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for more than 3000 years. It's free and open to the public willing to put in the legwork required, considering the gallery is 6 miles long. Would you postpone your visit knowing that old age comes at a price? In this case, most of the exhibits are pretty faded and fading fast...

Welcome to Snake Gulch, a small canyon in northern Arizona that has its walls peppered with pictographs and petroglyphs, commonly referred to as "rock art". The art found here is as old as 1000 BC and has endured the elements rather well, considering its only protection is some shade from the surrounding rocks. Even so, the Gulch is said to be one of the best collections of rock art in the American Southwest.

I traveled to Snake Gulch in the spring of 2017, and found the rock art fascinating in its diversity of shapes and subjects.

Most of the "exhibits" depict humanoid figures, much like your 2nd grader would paint them: stick figures.

Are these smiling faces or something more subtle than that?

Two big dudes hanging out

And here's the BC version of bumper stickers, depicting the entire family...

A prehistoric meeting?

No idea what the dotted pair of pictographs on the right might be...

There are hundreds of small and large pictographs to be discovered, but my time was limited and the Arizona sun unforgiving... I recorded as much as I could during the 5 hours of this in and out hike, but I'll remember this trip for a long time. And yes, I have the "documents" to prove it!

#pictograph #petroglyph #AmericanSouthwest #Arizona #rockart #rockart

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