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Tens of thousands of years ago, artists used ochre and natural ingredients to create the world’s first art–cave paintings. From simple hand stencils to elaborate fight scenes and intricate monster-like shamanic figures, these ancient paintings allow us to consider the past.
In canyons and caves all over the world, this still-vibrant art from long ago is full of mysterious messages from ancient peoples and civilizations, allowing cultures to speak across time.
1. Nine Mile Canyon, Utah
Called “the longest art gallery in the world,” Utah’s Nine Mile Canyon is also one of the oldest. The part of the canyon dense with petroglyphs (etchings) is actually 40 miles long, with at least 1,000 rock art sites showcasing more than 10,000 individual images. Created by the Fremont and Ute peoples between A.D. 600 and 1300, the glyphs are etched into pink and orange sandstone cliffs, with artists favoring the areas where desert varnish has darkened the stone; chipping away at this surface creates lighter-colored figures that really “pop.” There are the long-horned sheep, as well as bison, deer, dogs, and at least three striking and memorable owls all in one panel. The anthropomorphic figures run the gamut from hunters with bows to copulating couples to figures with horned headdresses.
2. Coso Rock Art District, China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, California
In the high desert of Eastern California, you’ll find a series of canyons containing tens of thousands of rock art images, some dating back 16,000 years. This abundance makes for the greatest concentration of petroglyphs in the Western Hemisphere, all the more remarkable for its desolate and remote setting, smack in the middle of a military weapons testing site. Though the area has been designated a National Historic Monument, visiting requires an application process and a Navy-approved guide, through the Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest or the Navy’s public affairs office.
Once you get your clearance (US citizens only, sorry to say), you’ll venture forth with a group and a guide, finding panel after panel of vivid depictions of bighorn sheep, dogs, shamanic figures, shields, masks, and other symbols. There’s even a petroglyph of what some say is an attacking mountain lion, and another of what may be a prehistoric kayaker.
The intense record heat baking the south-central United States is expected to get trimmed back early this week, but a sweep of refreshing air is not on the horizon.
This weekend’s rainstorm was only the start of an abnormally wet pattern that will elevate the flood risk in the eastern United States into the end of the month.
Despite NASCAR moving up the start time of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, rain has hung on and delayed the race at Loudon, New Hampshire.
Yet another round of severe weather is threatening the southeastern United States to close out this weekend.
The remainder of July will be dominated by a resurgence of heat across the northwestern United States.
An uptick in monsoon rainfall is expected to heighten the flood threat across eastern and northern India this week.