Palomar College Archaeology Club
Field Trips to Little Petroglyph Canyon
2003 & 2005

in the Coso Mountains

2005 PHOTOS:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13   14  15

2003 PHOTOS:   1     3   4   5

The Coso Mountain region near China Lake and Ridgecrest, California, has the greatest concentration of prehistoric rock art, primarily petroglyphs, in North America.  Little Petroglyph Canyon contains perhaps the most abundant number of petroglyphs, but others are scattered in various canyons and on rock outcrops throughout a 50-60 square mile area in the region.  The petroglyphs consist of geometric designs (many perhaps representations of images seen during shaman hallucinatory trances), human figures, human-animal figures, and large numbers (about 50%) of portrayals of bighorn mountain sheep.  Archaeological evidence suggests that these petroglyphs were produced over many thousands of years. A few valuable references and web pages are cited at end of this text section.

Both public and private tours are conducted onto the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake where Little Petroglyph Canyon is located.  The Maturango Museum assists in the arrangement of private tours (see  The map below shows the town of Ridgecrest which is just south of the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake.  Little Petroglyph Canyon can only be reached through tours approved by the base.


References Coso Rock Art:  A New Perspective, Ed. Elva Younkin, Maturango Press, Ridgecrest, 1998.
  Rock Drawings of the Coso Range. C. Grant, J.W. Baird, & J. K. Pringle, Maturango Museum Publication No. 4, Ridgecrest, 1987 (first published 1969).
  Ancient Artists of the Desert:
Web Pages The Maturango Museum:
  Little Petroglyph Canyon:   Once here, select SoCal Rock Art, then at bottom of page, select Little Petroglyph Canyon
   Maturango Museum Home Page:

Photos From Rock Art Field Trip to Little Petroglyph Canyon May 2003
(see photo credits at end)

left to right: Kerri Hunsinger, Eileen LaLone, Ryan Anderson, Priya Wong, Dr. de Barros, Pandora Winsby, Jeff Sahagύn, Marty Hiles, Carrie Simmons, & Deborah Jordan-Sakimoto

(1) Human-like Figure with Bow and Arrow

(2) Bighorn Sheep

(3) Bighorn Sheep, Shaman, & Geometrics

(4) Bighorn Sheep and Human-like Figures

Photo Credits:  Nos. 1-9,11-16 & 27, Jeff Sahagύn; 10, 18-26, 28-38, Philip de Barros; 17, Priya Wong.

More Photos:    3   4   5


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This page was last updated on Thursday, March 24, 2016.
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