Barrier Canyon Style 1000 B.C. to 500 A.D. Wayne County, Utah
A self-educated archeologist who walks the ravines and washes of the Henry Mountains guided me to this massive boulder. I was astounded by the layers of vibrant paintings inside the rock, possibly several thousands of years old.
A supernatural figure holds five writhing snakes high in the air. Both larger figures taper into parallel lines, the symbolism for rain. A bird with delicately painted wing and tail feathers flutters on the roof of the rock. A few rock art researchers believe shamans created Barrier Canyon Style rock art to record their trance experiences. The tiny flying birds, bighorn sheep and large serpents may be spiritual helpers, guiding the shaman between the worlds of man and the supernatural beings in the sky and underground.
Several years ago, a conservator coated the interior of this rock with a protective resin. Campfire smoke destroyed a similar boulder with Barrier Canyon style paintings located in a forest service campground in central Utah. It is no surprise that we locate our campgrounds where early native Americans camped. But the practice has had dire consequences for rock art. The rock art adjacent to camping areas near Temple Mountain in the San Rafael, Sand Island Campground near Bluff, the Black Dragon area near Green River, and the Buckhorn Wash Campground have been vandalized, restored and then further vandalized.
Fortunately this panel is safely hidden from indiscriminate campers.