Exploring the Grand Canyon by floating down the Colorado River with Arizona Raft Adventures provides the opportunity to see signs of ancient life including Grand Canyon rock art. The Ancient Puebloan people inhabited the American Southwest 800-1200 years ago. They lived, hunted and farmed in the Grand Canyon. Much of their existence remains a mystery, but if we study the signs they left behind we can learn about who they were and how they lived. The number of archaeological sites in the Grand Canyon is stunning. In fact, researchers say there are 4,300 documented locations in the Grand Canyon where prehistoric clues have been located – and there are still sites to discover. These sites include evidence like granaries, kivas, pottery shards and rock art. The geology of the Grand Canyon landscape and its tributaries provide an endless canvas for rock art.
Ancient Rock Art
Perplexing artwork speckles the main corridor and the side canyons of Grand Canyon. We call these drawings petroglyphs and pictographs; we consider them as one of the earliest known forms of writing. Petroglyphs are created by chipping away rock to expose a symbol or design. A pictograph is rock art that is painted. A location where rock art is located is referred to as a panel. We can only assume what the purpose of these mysterious symbols may be. Do the panels leave a diary of happenings or events? Are the symbols communicating important messages between tribes and clans? Could they be an expression of art? It is a mystery. Grand Canyon rock art is remarkable, but there is actually thousands of ancient rock art sites all over the American Southwest and the world.
Will I See Grand Canyon Rock Art On My Excursion?
It is possible that you will see some rock art while participating in a Grand Canyon raft adventure. There are several panels ranging in size in locations accessible to backcountry explorers. However, like many things in the Grand Canyon, nothing is easy to get to. You must be in good physical condition to access most of them. Also, there are many factors that play into the trip schedule such as weather, overall fitness of the group and other trips on the water.
Specialty Trip Or On Your Own
Occasionally, we host a trip with a focus on Grand Canyon Archaeology. Call the office to inquire whether we currently offer an adventure with such emphasis. In addition, we can help create the perfect charter expedition with an agenda encompassing a focus on archaeology. We have several river guides well-versed in the topic of human history and the early ancient inhabitants of the Grand Canyon. We can also look for a specialist. For example, a few years ago, we partnered with a well-known Grand Canyon archaeologist named Kimberly Spurr. She writes one of our other blog articles titled “Grand Canyon Archaeology.” You can also do your own research before and after your adventure. The Grand Canyon National Park website has a plethora of information about the Archaeology in the Grand Canyon.
If a specialty or charter trip is out of the question, it’s ok. It is possible to learn about Grand Canyon archaeology on every trip. In fact, if you have a particular interest in Grand Canyon rock art, share your interest with the Trip Leader at the beginning of your adventure. They will take your interests into consideration as they shape the agenda for sightseeing, hiking and camping. We like to customize the schedule of the trip to encompass the interests of our guests. While we can never guarantee visiting a certain site, we will try to share with you as much as we can.
Furthermore, it is impossible to do or see it all on one trip – even if we tried. If you like Grand Canyon rock art, or archaeology in general, we invite you to come back again. We will try to show you something new on each adventure.
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