Basin and Range

White River Narrows

brochure Basin and Range - White River Narrows
Archaeological Initiative Project The Nevada Rock Art Foundation produced this product with funding provided by the sale of public lands by the Bureau of Land Management and approved under an inter-agency partnership authorized by the Lincoln County Land Act. Rock Art White River Narrows National Register District N E VA DA R OCK A RT F O U N DAT I O N BLM NRAF Lincoln County Rock Art of Lincoln County White River Narrows National Register District Whit e Ri v e r Na rrows In troduc tio n Pres e rvin g t h e Pas t T he oldest petroglyphs in the Great Basin are 8,000 years old; in the White River Narrows, some petroglyphs are 4,000 years old. Despite this antiquity, rock art, like other archaeological monuments, is a fragile part of Nevada’s cultural heritage. Natural weathering processes, such as wind and rain, are slowly eroding these ancient markings. Other threats include intentional defacement like graffiti or other vandalism. Intentional damages cannot be removed or even camouflaged easily and are expensive to treat. Federal and state laws protect archaeological sites from vandalism and theft, and many sites are monitored by concerned local citizens volunteering in the State of Nevada’s site stewardship program. Because the past deserves a future, visitors at archaeological sites can help by following a few simple guidelines. Take only pictures, leave only footprints. Be a steward—volunteer to monitor the condition of archaeological sites. For more information on how you can help preserve Nevada’s past, visit these websites. www.blm.gov/nv www.nvshpo.org/stewards www.nvrockart.org 12 W hite River Narrows, in lower White River Valley, is one of the largest concentrations of prehistoric rock art in eastern Nevada. The importance of the Narrows’ archaeological heritage is recognized by its listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The petroglyphs here provide glimpses into the cultural lives of Native American peoples who lived by harvesting wild plants and animals from some 4,000 years ago until the nineteenth century. Although the exact meanings of the Narrows’ rock art may be unknowable, they mark the Narrows as a place important to those who made and used these galleries of ancient art. These petroglyphs continue today to be important to Native American peoples living in the region. White River Narrows is a winding canyon that was carved by the White River during the Pleistocene or Ice Age (ca. 2.5 million to 11,700 years ago). The Narrows forms a travel corridor used by ancient Native American cultures and, more recently, it was a route for unpaved SR38 until 1980. For most of the region’s history, until the coming of EuroAmerican settlers in the nineteenth century, hunter-gatherer cultures settled eastern Nevada. Hunters and gatherers skillfully harvested the wild resources of the arid Great Basin. Their deep environmental knowledge and efficient technology allowed them to prosper in the region for thousands of years. Huntergatherer groups lived in small, mobile family groups and moved across the landscape to gather seasonally available plants, animals, and other resources. Their cultural knowledge was expressed through song, myth, and rock art. Early farmers from the Fremont Culture (2000-850 years ago) of Utah also influenced the prehistory of eastern Nevada. Short-term campsites and pottery made by the Fremont are found in eastern Nevada, indicating trade and cultural connections with their core territory to the east. 1 Rock Art of Lincoln County White River Narrows National Register District ThNa e Na tionI a l rrows Regist e r Dis t ric t InNa troduc rrowstio VIn (con t i n ued) White RiverVINarrows hasnorth two main rock styles, one arrows is near the end of theart Narrows, located generally associated with hunter-gatherers (Basin and Range on the east face of a tuff cliff. The site is notable for the tradition) and one with Fremont Basin and with Rangemany sheer quantity of densely clusteredgroups. rock art images, tradition rock art is distinguished by finely made abstract younger designs placed on top of older ones. N T N designs suchrange as circles, spirals,portrayed rectangles, wavy VI lines. The wide of imagery at and Narrows is These were often combined to make complex images long and compositions particularly striking. Abstract designs include lines that that are very ambiguous and evocative. In this tradition of rock extend for several meters, complex meanders, outlined crosses, art, artists depicted peopleRepresentational as stick-figures. They portrayed rakes, spirals, and circles. figures include a wide range of animal species, most commonly bighorn a large number of bighorn sheep (arranged in groups, assheep, if but also deer, coyotes, lizards, mountain lions, and birds.(human portraying herds), lizards, stick-figure anthropomorphs Fremont rock art is famous fordesigns its stylized portrayals of people,of figure), and footprints. These are local interpretations sometimes depicted wearingrock jewelry Basin and Range tradition art. like necklaces and earrings. Archaeologists have suggested that rock art have been Possible Fremont-style anthropomorphs are may represented made to secure aidcurved for hunting and to ensure that by a few figuressupernatural that have short the plants and animals needed by people were abundant. Other lines extending from their heads. One archaeologists thinkisthat rock art wasvertical made by traditional rectangular design decorated with healers (shamans) to secure supernatural powers and record lines. This appears to be a Pahranagat-style important lore. More recently, rock art has been seen as one patterned body anthropomorph (PBA), way that people turn their physical environment into culturally which is distinctive to Lincoln County and meaningful places by establishing enduring landmarks. is concentrated in the Pahranagat Valley Rock art is one of the few archaeological monuments where area to the south. White River Narrows marks the northernmost contemporary visitors can stand in art the style. footprints known extent of this regional rock § of prehistoric peoples and their descendants. § history thatsmall are worthy preservation. Narrows’ listing Two other figuresofcan be seen justThe below the rake: a on the National Register highlights serpentine line and a vertical line.the importance of the District’s rock artrock and art other features. is on of This hasarchaeological been suggested by someThe to District be an example public lands administered by theit Bureau hunting-magic, as they believe portraysofa Land game Management, drive fence. Caliente Office.in an area that could have lent itself to NarrowsField I is located game drives. Its narrowed entries could have been blocked using temporary fencing made of brush, directing game animals to hidden hunters. But, there is no reason why cultural practices (like rock art) intended to ensure hunting success would have been done only at hunting locales. Alternatively, it has been observed that during the summer solstice a shadow falls on the center of the rake-like design. This has suggested to some The Caliente Office’sItmission is, in partnership a planned solar Field interaction. is not possible to prove ifwith this the public,solar to provide stewardship of the lands and apparent interaction is a chance correlation orresources one intended entrusted to art’s it formakers. present §and future generations. § by the rock 2 10 hearrows WhiteI River Narrowspetroglyph sites collectively form a District is an isolated panel on a large tuff covering is canyon. listed onThe the most National boulder some on the4,000 southacres side that of the Register of Historic Register recognizes prominent figure at Places. the siteThe is a National finely made, long rake-like places major patterns in national designthat thatrepresent runs horizontally along the width ofand thelocal boulder. 311 Rock Art of Lincoln County White River Narrows National Register District Na Narrows rrows III V Narrows rrows IV II Na N N designart types, suchare asmostly a human hand-print, sunbursts (circles Rock designs Basin and Range tradition in style, with short lines radiating around their disks), wavy lines, and including a deer, stick-figure anthropomorphs (human figures), concentric circles. Most notable arewavy curvilinear abstractand designs bighorn sheep, small rakes, circles, lines, zigzags, that are unique to this locality. These are circles and ovals meanders. that have lines inside, with curved or slanted Narrows IV is distinguished by the unusuallines styleextending of many of from their tops, resembling “horns” more normally seen on its zoomorphs (animal figures) as having long, narrow necks anthropomorphic and thin bodies. There are (human) figures. several miniature bighorn The emphasis on sheep figures that may be these enigmatic, unique to this site. These could internally decorated represent a rare case where an individual artist can be identified. circles and ovals Usually, it is only possible to identify broad periods in rock Narrows II or art production rather than individual artists.atThe lightness illustrates that darkness of rock art’s patina (the color of the surface of the certainindication designs were rock that darkens over time) may give some broad only made at particular places. What makes some locations of a design’s relative age. If a site’s rock art has patinas that are appropriate for specific visibly different in colorsets thenofitsymbols is likelyand thatcultural the site behaviors was made is an intriguing question prompted by sites such as this. § over time by different artists. § design types—such lines, and complex way of making rock as artcircles, in the wavy region. meanders—predominate. Representational areDistrict, limited One of the largest concentrations of rock images art in the to a few bighorn sheep figures because and an unusual figure has Narrows III is also prominent of the scale andthat density lines head and trailing lines of its extending designs. Itsfrom highitsvisibility and the fact that old SR 38 runs extending its arms andthe hands. This of could by the site from probably explain quantity graffiti initials and be a portrayal an animal an unusual dates at the siteof(the oldest oforwhich is from 1926). Some of this artistic has treatment of a person. V over ancient rock art graffiti been placed near or,Narrows sometimes, exemplifies the wide in design types and is intrusive to thevariation site’s general setting. that Basin and Range style rock art and Range Abstract designs are tradition representative of Basin takes. types. Several rake-like figures are notable for their tradition The general distribution rock artdesigns in White River length, extending 4 meters pattern or more.ofAnimal include Narrowssheep highlights thatpaw where rock Anthropomorphs art was made was(human culturally bighorn and bear prints. meaningful. Rock art is found in and concentrations select figures) include stick-figure types a number ofatunique locations. Themes and groupings of designs each portrayals that apparently highlight gender. distinguish Fremont-style site. This suggestsinclude that different placesthat were thought be more anthropomorphs two figures have short,tocurved appropriate for certain kinds of rock arthave images. Understanding lines extending from their heads. Both traces of red why particular setsthem, of designs made differentthat places in pigment in-filling a rarewere feature thatatsuggests some the landscapemay underpins petroglyphs also havemost beenresearch painted.into § rock art. § arrows IV II comprises four petroglyph panels on arrows is on the south side of a small hill,onona cliff a basalt the west side of(athe canyon. panels are atboulders). the foot of cliff and talus slope of rockThree debris and small the cliff, near the north end, and one is located at the top are of the Petroglyphs are located mostly on vertical rock faces and cliff. The site contains well-known Basin and concentrated at the middle of the outcrop andRange its easttradition end. 84 V isislocated basalt side ofat a arrows III locatedon onathe westoutcrop side of by thethe canyon, a dirtin road. north, Narrows canart bewas seenmade at bend the To oldthe river channel. Here,IV rock approximately 150cliff meters Narrows V’sand rock art is Some mostly the foot of a tuff that away. is, in places, soft friable. abstractwere designs in Basin and Range tradition style. Curvilinear designs incised rather than pecked, a generally uncommon 95 Rock Art of Lincoln County White River Narrows National Register District White Rivers Narrows is located by SR 318, about 150 miles north of Las Vegas, 125 miles south of Ely, and 23 miles north of the small town of Hiko. From the junction of SR 375 and SR 318, just south of Hiko, head north on SR 318 for approximately 23 miles; half a mile north of mile marker 23 turn east onto a dirt road that intersects with SR 318 (there is a Stop sign at the intersection). The White River Narrows sites are on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Caliente Field Office. Help protect the environment by travelling on existing roads only. N VI Dir t road Ely III 318 White River Narrows II Caliente 318 93 15 Dir t roa d I Las Vegas Hik o IV V 0 6 Mi l es 1 0.5 7 Rock Art of Lincoln County White River Narrows National Register District Na Narrows rrows III V Narrows rrows IV II Na N N designart types, suchare asmostly a human hand-print, sunbursts (circles Rock designs Basin and Range tradition in style, with short lines radiating around their disks), wavy lines, and including a deer, stick-figure anthropomorphs (human figures), concentric circles. Most notable arewavy curvilinear abstractand designs bighorn sheep, small rakes, circles, lines, zigzags, that are unique to this locality. These are circles and ovals meanders. that have lines inside, with curved or slanted Narrows IV is distinguished by the unusuallines styleextending of many of from their tops, resembling “horns” more normally seen on its zoomorphs (animal figures) as having long, narrow necks anthropomorphic and thin bodies. There are (human) figures. several miniature bighorn The emphasis on sheep figures that may be these enigmatic, unique to this site. These could internally decorated represent a rare case where an individual artist can be identified. circles and ovals Usually, it is only possible to identify broad periods in rock Narrows II or art production rather than individual artists.atThe lightness illustrates that darkness of rock art’s patina (the color of the surface of the certainindication designs were rock that darkens over time) may give some broad only made at particular places. What makes some locations of a design’s relative age. If a site’s rock art has patinas that are appropriate for specific visibly different in colorsets thenofitsymbols is likelyand thatcultural the site behaviors was made is an intriguing question prompted by sites such as this. § over time by different artists. § design types—such lines, and complex way of making rock as artcircles, in the wavy region. meanders—predominate. Representational areDistrict, limited One of the largest concentrations of rock images art in the to a few bighorn sheep figures because and an unusual figure has Narrows III is also prominent of the scale andthat density lines head and trailing lines of its extending designs. Itsfrom highitsvisibility and the fact that old SR 38 runs extending its arms andthe hands. This of could by the site from probably explain quantity graffiti initials and be a portrayal an animal an unusual dates at the siteof(the oldest oforwhich is from 1926). Some of this artistic has treatment of a person. V over ancient rock art graffiti been placed near or,Narrows sometimes, exemplifies the wide in design types and is intrusive to thevariation site’s general setting. that Basin and Range style rock art and Range Abstract designs are tradition representative of Basin takes. types. Several rake-like figures are notable for their tradition The general distribution rock artdesigns in White River length, extending 4 meters pattern or more.ofAnimal include Narrowssheep highlights thatpaw where rock Anthropomorphs art was made was(human culturally bighorn and bear prints. meaningful. Rock art is found in and concentrations select figures) include stick-figure types a number ofatunique locations. Themes and groupings of designs each portrayals that apparently highlight gender. distinguish Fremont-style site. This suggestsinclude that different placesthat were thought be more anthropomorphs two figures have short,tocurved appropriate for certain kinds of rock arthave images. Understanding lines extending from their heads. Both traces of red why particular setsthem, of designs made differentthat places in pigment in-filling a rarewere feature thatatsuggests some the landscapemay underpins petroglyphs also havemost beenresearch painted.into § rock art. § arrows IV II comprises four petroglyph panels on arrows is on the south side of a small hill,onona cliff a basalt the west side of(athe canyon. panels are atboulders). the foot of cliff and talus slope of rockThree debris and small the cliff, near the north end, and one is located at the top are of the Petroglyphs are located mostly on vertical rock faces and cliff. The site contains well-known Basin and concentrated at the middle of the outcrop andRange its easttradition end. 84 V isislocated basalt side ofat a arrows III locatedon onathe westoutcrop side of by thethe canyon, a dirtin road. north, Narrows canart bewas seenmade at bend the To oldthe river channel. Here,IV rock approximately 150cliff meters Narrows V’sand rock art is Some mostly the foot of a tuff that away. is, in places, soft friable. abstractwere designs in Basin and Range tradition style. Curvilinear designs incised rather than pecked, a generally uncommon 95 Rock Art of Lincoln County White River Narrows National Register District ThNa e Na tionI a l rrows Regist e r Dis t ric t InNa troduc rrowstio VIn (con t i n ued) White River hasnorth two main rock styles, one arrows VINarrows is near the end of theart Narrows, located generally associated with hunter-gatherers (Basin and Range on the east face of a tuff cliff. The site is notable for the tradition) and one with Fremont Basin and with Rangemany sheer quantity of densely clusteredgroups. rock art images, tradition rock art is distinguished by finely made abstract younger designs placed on top of older ones. N T N designs suchrange as circles, spirals,portrayed rectangles, wavy VI lines. The wide of imagery at and Narrows is These were often combined to make complex images long and compositions particularly striking. Abstract designs include lines that that are very ambiguous and evocative. In this tradition of rock extend for several meters, complex meanders, outlined crosses, art, artists depicted peopleRepresentational as stick-figures. They portrayed rakes, spirals, and circles. figures include a wide range of animal species, most commonly bighorn a large number of bighorn sheep (arranged in groups, assheep, if but also deer, coyotes, lizards, mountain lions, and birds.(human portraying herds), lizards, stick-figure anthropomorphs Fremont rock art is famous its stylized portrayals of people,of figure), and footprints. Thesefordesigns are local interpretations sometimes depicted wearingrock jewelry Basin and Range tradition art. like necklaces and earrings. Archaeologists have suggested that rock art have been Possible Fremont-style anthropomorphs are may represented made to secure aidcurved for hunting and to ensure that by a few figuressupernatural that have short the plants and animals needed by people were abundant. Other lines extending from their heads. One archaeologists thinkis that rock art wasvertical made by traditional rectangular design decorated with healers (shamans) to secure supernatural powers and record lines. This appears to be a Pahranagat-style important lore. More recently, rock art has been seen as one patterned body anthropomorph (PBA), way that people turn their physical environment into culturally which is distinctive to Lincoln County and meaningful places by establishing enduring landmarks. is concentrated in the Pahranagat Valley Rock art is one of the few archaeological monuments where area to the south. White River Narrows marks the northernmost contemporary visitors can stand in art the style. footprints of prehistoric known extent of this regional rock § peoples and their descendants. § history thatsmall are worthy preservation. Narrows’ listing Two other figuresofcan be seen justThe below the rake: a on the National Register highlights serpentine line and a vertical line.the importance of the District’s rock artrock and art other features. District is on of This hasarchaeological been suggested by someThe to be an example public lands administered by theit Bureau hunting-magic, as they believe portraysofa Land game Management, drive fence. Caliente Office.in an area that could have lent itself to NarrowsField I is located game drives. Its narrowed entries could have been blocked using temporary fencing made of brush, directing game animals to hidden hunters. But, there is no reason why cultural practices (like rock art) intended to ensure hunting success would have been done only at hunting locales. Alternatively, it has been observed that during the summer solstice a shadow falls on the center of the rake-like design. This has suggested to some The Caliente Office’sItmission is, in partnership a planned solar Field interaction. is not possible to prove if with this the public,solar to provide stewardship of the lands and apparent interaction is a chance correlation orresources one intended entrusted to art’s it formakers. present§and future generations. § by the rock 2 10 hearrows WhiteI River Narrowspetroglyph sites collectively form a District is an isolated panel on a large tuff covering is canyon. listed onThe the most National boulder some on the4,000 southacres side that of the Register of Historic Register recognizes prominent figure at Places. the siteThe is a National finely made, long rake-like places major patterns in national designthat thatrepresent runs horizontally along the width ofand thelocal boulder. 311 Rock Art of Lincoln County White River Narrows National Register District Whit e Ri v e r Na rrows In troduc tio n Pres e rvin g t h e Pas t T he oldest petroglyphs in the Great Basin are 8,000 years old; in the White River Narrows, some petroglyphs are 4,000 years old. Despite this antiquity, rock art, like other archaeological monuments, is a fragile part of Nevada’s cultural heritage. Natural weathering processes, such as wind and rain, are slowly eroding these ancient markings. Other threats include intentional defacement like graffiti or other vandalism. Intentional damages cannot be removed or even camouflaged easily and are expensive to treat. Federal and state laws protect archaeological sites from vandalism and theft, and many sites are monitored by concerned local citizens volunteering in the State of Nevada’s site stewardship program. Because the past deserves a future, visitors at archaeological sites can help by following a few simple guidelines. Take only pictures, leave only footprints. Be a steward—volunteer to monitor the condition of archaeological sites. For more information on how you can help preserve Nevada’s past, visit these websites. www.blm.gov/nv www.nvshpo.org/stewards www.nvrockart.org 12 W hite River Narrows, in lower White River Valley, is one of the largest concentrations of prehistoric rock art in eastern Nevada. The importance of the Narrows’ archaeological heritage is recognized by its listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The petroglyphs here provide glimpses into the cultural lives of Native American peoples who lived by harvesting wild plants and animals from some 4,000 years ago until the nineteenth century. Although the exact meanings of the Narrows’ rock art may be unknowable, they mark the Narrows as a place important to those who made and used these galleries of ancient art. These petroglyphs continue today to be important to Native American peoples living in the region. White River Narrows is a winding canyon that was carved by the White River during the Pleistocene or Ice Age (ca. 2.5 million to 11,700 years ago). The Narrows forms a travel corridor used by ancient Native American cultures and, more recently, it was a route for unpaved SR38 until 1980. For most of the region’s history, until the coming of EuroAmerican settlers in the nineteenth century, hunter-gatherer cultures settled eastern Nevada. Hunters and gatherers skillfully harvested the wild resources of the arid Great Basin. Their deep environmental knowledge and efficient technology allowed them to prosper in the region for thousands of years. Huntergatherer groups lived in small, mobile family groups and moved across the landscape to gather seasonally available plants, animals, and other resources. Their cultural knowledge was expressed through song, myth, and rock art. Early farmers from the Fremont Culture (2000-850 years ago) of Utah also influenced the prehistory of eastern Nevada. Short-term campsites and pottery made by the Fremont are found in eastern Nevada, indicating trade and cultural connections with their core territory to the east. 1

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