Archaic, Barrier Canyon Style, Fremont, Dinwoody elements 1000 B.C. to 1250 A.D. Emery County
Summary: The Rochester Panel is likely an ancient fertility site. Emery County tourist brochures have increased visitation.
Unfortunately, visitation and rock art vandalism go hand in hand. The rock art at the Rochester and Muddy Creek confluence altered my life. I visited this petroglyph many times, sitting on the large
flat boulder directly in front of the large carved rainbow. A female figure is carved around the natural hole in the rock suggesting female (vulva) symbolism and a male figure with an exaggerated phallus is
carved directly underneath her. The fertility theme of the panel may be mirrored in the confluence of the two creeks. An elder Navajo told me that the confluence of certain rivers was considered a sexual union. He said the San Juan River was a male force, and the Colorado River, a female force. The confluence of these rivers, where the San Juan enters the Colorado River, is a site of great energy and creativity.
Here at the Rochester site I became aware of a different artistic consciousness. The creators of the rock art were working with an enormous palette, which included surface features of the rock, the
surrounding visual landscape and the changing light. I wanted to photograph the expanded vision of the ancient people, the total rock art context. I discovered the power of the Hulcher camera, a 360-degree medium format camera, at this site.
Emery county tourist brochures promote the Rochester Panel as a visitor destination. The result is more site graffiti. A few years ago, someone removed a portion of this petroglyph with a chisel. This great panel deserves our best preservation efforts.