Black Canyon 2

Southern Nevada Rock Art Sites

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The Southwest, including Southern Nevada, has a significant amount of Native American Petroglyph / Rock Art Sites. Our web site will concentrate on the rock art of Southern Nevada which extends back over 1500 years, and was typically created by either the Paiute, Shoshone, Chemehuevi, or the Anasazi people.

 

Preservation through Education

 

We believe that rock art on public lands does not - and should not - belong to just a few select people or groups.  However, due to the fragile nature of many rock art sites, it is not realistic to have a large number of people visiting most of them. What we are attempting to do with our website is to provide visual access where those with the interest or the curiosity can go to see and appreciate a small piece of Native American history. Our beliefs are that by educating people to the historical significance of the rock art, people will be more inclined to respect, and preserve, the sites for the enjoyment of everyone for a long, long time.

Black Canyon 2

 

Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge (PNWR) Black Canyon had a rich prehistoric past and is best known for its “Pahranagat Man”. There are approximately 26 sites in Lincoln County where these Pahranagat-style motifs occur and they appear to be confined to an area within a 15-mile radius of Ash Springs, which is just north of Alamo Nevada.

 

Info on rock art styles: The basic styles include: Pit and Groove, Abstract Curvilinear and Rectilinear, and Representational. Also included are the Virgin River Representational, Puebloan Painted, Great Basin Painted, and Scratched.

 

The Pahranagat style of rock art is a distinctive style of Representational rock art, and has two iconic anthropomorphic motifs. First is the solid body motif with hands at the end of down turned arms, straight stick like legs, and circular unpecked eyes. It also has a spike like structure coming off the top of its head. This style is often called a Pahranagat Man or P-Man for short. The second style is a patterned-bodied motif. It has a rectangular shaped body with an interior design similar to a rug or tapestry. It often has fringe on the lower end with straight stick arms and legs. The shorthand term often applied to these patterned-bodied anthropomorphs is PBAs.

 

Black Canyon is located in the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge and is mainly known for the Pahranagat style of rock art found there. Both styles of the Pahranagat Man are found at this location, and until around 2008 or 2010, give or take a couple of years it was accessible to the public. It was around this time that the US Fish and Wildlife Service decided to close the site down, but as a positive note Highway 93 runs through part of Black Canyon and a few of the panels can still be seen from the edge of the highway. Because of the closure it could be many years before the average person can legally walk the site again.

 

 

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