Rock Art Trail
Rock Art Trail at Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site (SAS) in Wyoming. Published by Wyoming State Parks.
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Look, But Don’t Peck Don’t add graffiti or deface images at rock art sites. Even if others have been thoughtless enough to add their names, initials, or a message to the rock art, please don’t condone their actions by adding your own. Rock Art Trail 10 MARKER 9 8 3 4 Trail Marker Locations RGESS JlNKS BUD AN RTlN SPEED MA l2 JUNE -l9l9- 5 MARKER 10 6 numerous superimposed images; both pecked and incised. There are three female anthropomorphs with horned headdresses. Notice the strange concentric eyes on several of the figures. Can you find the beaver in the lower left area of this panel? 7 Form: Anthropomorphs, zoomorphs, geometric Description: This panel is extremely complex with Rock art and the landscapes in which they occur are extremely fragile. Once damaged, these cultural resources are irreparably lost. To many Native Americans, rock art sites are sacred places. To others, they are a visible reminder of people who visited a place long before us. For all people, it is important to respect, preserve, and protect these stories pecked and painted in stone for future generations. 9 Our Cultural History It’s Illegal Remember, defacing public archaeological sites is illegal. The defacing of rock art sites is not unlike placing graffiti on public buildings, sculptures, churches, gravestones, or other sacred structures and objects. 1 is visible on this section of the cliff. Horses were introduced into Wyoming during the late 1500s. This panel includes several historic initials and names. We conserve and protect the older names but remove those made after 1973 as funding allows. Removing vandalism from the cliff face is extremely expensive and may lead to fines and additional fees imposed on people found vandalizing the site. 2 Form: Anthropomorphs, zoomorphs, geometrics, graffiti Description: A painted (pictograph) of a horseman Medicine Lodge is well known for its quantity and quality of petroglyphs and pictographs. Rock art numbering in the hundreds are spread out over a 750-foot long sandstone cliff. As you walk along the cliff face, look for the numbered trail markers (1-10). This brochure provides information about petroglyphs and pictographs seen at each marker. Additional information is available at the visitor center. MARKER 1 MARKER 3 MARKER 5 MARKER 7 (2) (4) (3) (3) (1) (1) (2) (6) (5) Form: Anthropomorphs, zoomorphs Description: The shields covering the shield-bearing warriors’ bodies (left) indicate they are pedestrian warriors. The larger figure on the right has tear streaks coming from her eyes. Female warriors like these are only found at a few sites. She is either holding a dart or has been shot by one. The large zoomorph on the right lacks features that allow positive identification. What do you think the large animal on the right could be? MARKER 2 Form: Anthropomorphs, zoomorphs Description: Some people believe the zoomorph on the left represents a pronghorn antelope. What do you think? Note the shield-bearing warrior with weapon and distinct shield pattern. Some shield patterns are associated with warrior societies allowing a specific cultural group to be identified. The shape of his head and ears are similar to those attributed to the Crow (Apsaalooke) Tribe. His body and weapon are accentuated with black pigment. Natural erosion makes other nearby shield-bearing warriors difficult to see. MARKER 4 Form: Anthropomorphs, zoomorphs, geometric Description: The row of figures (1) are interpreted as dancers or a procession. One theory is it represents a procession that is part of a Crow Tobacco Society ceremony. The shield-bearing warrior (2) is holding a banner staff. Some banner staffs have pennants made of feathers, representing honors an individual or group had won. The shield of the next warrior (3), referred to as an x-ray shield figure, is transparent. Zoomorphs include an ermine, otter, or feline (4), grizzly bear (5), and bison (6). The far right figure is a shield-bearing warrior superimposed over an earlier figure. MARKER 6 Form: Anthropomorphs, zoomorphs, geometric Description: The large figure is an anthropomorph wearing a bison horn headdress. Several darts or arrows are shown in his body. Look for the bear claws extending to the left of the figure. Zoomorphs on this panel include a grizzly bear depicted with its characteristic shoulder hump (1) and a bighorn sheep (2). Several shield warriors are visible to the upper right. Recent research discovered that at solar noon shadows align with the vertical and horizontal lines on figure (3), marking the half-way point between summer solstice and fall equinox. MARKER 8 (1) (4) Form: Geometric designs, graffiti Description: In addition to the faint prehistoric black pictographs in this area, we see music-related images from the early historic era. These images help us understand the people who lived in this isolated area; because of this we don’t consider them to be vandalism. The more recent initials, however, are vandalism. The sheet music and violin illustrate the importance of music to early settlers in the area. Form: Anthropomorphs, zoomorphs Description: The large zoomorph on the left is believed to be a bison. The circle and line (towards the mouth) within the body is called a blood line, which represents the aorta and heart. The shield-bearing warriors have distinct patterns on their shields and unique head gear. How many other shield bearing warriors do you see here? (3) (2) Form: Anthropomorphs, zoomorphs, geometric Description: Figure 1 is part of a grouping of atlatls or dart throwing sticks, used prior to the introduction of the bow and arrow about 1,500 years ago. Zoomorphs include a beaver (2), bird (3), and several pictographs and petroglyphs of bears. What appears to be a bow with arrow (4) is actually an oval shield. This section also has several shield-bearing warriors. The one with round ears may depict a warrior with bear power, which made them very powerful. Some Crow warriors would arrange their hair to look like grizzly bear ears. Rock Art Types: Anthropomorphs (human figures), Zoomorphs (animal-like), Geometric Designs (symbols, abstract designs) Form: Anthropomorphs, zoomorphs, geometric Description: This series of images is dominated by a near life-size elk with darts or arrows in the body. There are also two owls; one behind the elk and the other to the right. Several anthropomorphs are visible both with and without shields. Can you find a silhouette of a bear and its footprints? This panel is composed of numerous images from different time periods superimposed over each other. Petroglyph (incised or pecked rock art), Pictograph (painted rock art)