Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hickison Petroglyphs April 8, 2011

My next two blogposts are about Native American rock art sites near Austin Nevada.

Directions: The Hickison petroglyphs are located on US 50 in central Nevada approximately 20 miles to east of Austin, Nevada. The petroglyphs are on BLM land on the top of Hickison summit. There are six panels of petroglyphs to look at on two nature trails of varying length the longest one approximately 0.6 miles long. Be sure to take some time to look around because this is a beautiful area. RESPECT the petroglyphs. PRESERVE for future generations!!!

History: The Big Smoky Valley of Nevada has many prehistoric sites such as Hickison and Toquima some of which date back 11,000 to 12,000 years. This area was important for prehistoric people because of the presence of two lakes: Lake Toiyabe 25 miles to south and Lake Tonopah near Tonopah. The lakes supported a wide range of plants and animals used by the Native Americans. It is believed these petroglyphs were created by the Western Shoshone who lived in the area around 1850. The following photos are some petroglyphs a visitor could see at the site. (Thanks to BLM pamphlet for information).

Toquima Cave April 8, 2011

Colorful animal image on the cave wall

Directions: From Austin, Nevada, take US 50 east 13 miles to 376. Take 376 approximately 0.1 miles until you see a dirt road heading to the left. Take this road approximately 12 miles. Near the cave (not really a cave but over hang) is a small National Forest campground. Because visitors have attempted to deface the rock art in the past; a tall fence has been built. All photos of pictographs were taken through the fence. Remember pictographs are painted onto rock surfaces while petroglyphs are carved or scratched.

History: The Western Shoshone were a Native American tribe who lived in central Nevada. At Toquima they painted approximately 300 images which depict abstract, linear, geometric, human and or shapes. Rock art was painted in areas which hold spiritual significance. Around Toquima this was an important hunting area.

The most interesting aspect of rock art is the materials used to create the color and the tools used to create the images. Native Americans used natural materials collected near the area; such as, berries, plant juices, clay, or bird droppings to create the color. They prepared them by crushing, dyeing or cooking the ingredient then they applied the color to the rock with sticks, bones, feathers, or their own fingers. (Thanks to government pamphlet for information).

It is YOUR responsibility to protect rock art for future generations. That means KEEP your hands off the images AND NEVER deface the images.

Snow at 7400 feet near Toquima

The images on the wall

Image showing some of the circular and linear images

Good image showing more of the pictographs