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Front Page » October 19, 2004 » Local News » Rock Art Safari
Published 3,663 days ago

Rock Art Safari


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By SYLVIA NELSON
Emery County Historical Society Media Representative

Ned Clem from Cold Creek, Nev. enjoys the Emery County Rock Art.

Members of the Utah Rock Art Research Association (URARA) gathered in Ferron at Gilly's to begin a day of exploring the Ferron Box and surrounding areas early on Sept. 25. URARA members were from Colorado, Nevada and Utah.

Many had enjoyed the night at Gilly's cabins or camping at Millsite and other campgrounds close by. Joining them were "hosts of the day," the Museum of the San Rafael officers and guests, and also officers and board members of the Emery County Historical Society.

Since many in the group were familiar with not only the rock art found in these locations, but also the history of early settlers and livestock owners, the car pooling to and from the site proved to be a very interesting and informative time.

The beautiful fall day enabled all to enjoy the first long trek into the Lower Box. Many used binoculars to locate rock art across the creek. Many took photos of the rock art and also the historic names etched by cowboys and sheep owners of 80-100 years ago. The pictographs and petroglyphs range in age from thousands of years ago to about 500 years ago.

After a brief lunch break, most of the group climbed down into the box over boulders and rough terrain to get a closer view of all the canyon has to offer.

The next trek was along footprint petroglyphs covering a large surface of black patina rock formation.

The tour guide leader, Nancy Mason of Gold Hill, Colo., who knows Utah Rock Art areas well, continued the tour to two other locations of interest in the area.

At the museum, Dixon Peacock, Chairman of the Museum Board of Directors, conducted tours and pointed out the many new exhibits to the group until time for the welcome dinner which was catered by Food Ranch.

Jan Petersen, Museum Director, opened the evening meeting welcoming URARA, many guests and also the members of the Emery County Historical Society. Bert Oman, society president conducted the meeting and introduced Shaun Tomsich who played the guitar and sang familiar songs that he had chosen for this group, "Don't Fence Me In" and "Happy Trails To You." Then Shaun introduced his friend Rod Moore who writes and performs original music. Rod played the piano and sang "Whispers in the Wind" then strummed his guitar as he sang "Dutch Flat Road."

URARA President Layne Miller of Price was the guest speaker. He expertly and enthusiastically gave a detailed lecture and slide presentation of Utah Rock Art along with the rules and regulations that the organization adheres to and asks people to practice when viewing rock art. The slides were stunning, some were taken from photos by Troy Scotter, and the information was understandable and very educational. He stated that among the Native Americans that lived in Utah leaving rock art were the Paleo-Indians, Anasazi, Fremont, Ute, Piute, Shoshone, and Navajo.

ECHS Secretary Joyce Staley recorded that Miller had asked "What is Rock Art?" And then explained, "It is not a written language. Pictographs are painted with mineral and vegetable pigments, and sometimes even used blood, human or animal as a base. And most of these paints have lasted over hundreds of years. Petroglyphs are the pecked into the rock type of drawing."

Members of URARA , the Petersens, and other guests did a Sunday trek to more rock art, some close and some quite inaccessible. URARA expressed their enjoyment about staying in and seeing not only the rock art, but some of the wonderful sites Emery County has to offer. They expressed their appreciation to Jan Petersen and the staff of the Museum of the San Rafael for making them so welcome, their days here so pleasant and intend to hold their meetings here again.

The evening concluded with visiting and refreshments, swapping rock art stories and planning more treks.


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