ROCK ART RANCH TAKES VISITORS BACK IN TIME ! EXPERTS MARVEL AT “BIRTHING SCENE” A GLIMPSE OF SOUTH WEST PREHISTORIC LIFE ON PECOS 2013 TOUR
THE PECOS CONFERENCE IS HELD EACH AUGUST ALLOWING SOUTH WEST ARCHAEOLOGIST TO MEET, DRINK BEER, VISIT IN THE SHADE OF A PINE TREE WHILE DISCUSSING THE SEASON’S FINDS AND CONCLUSIONS. THE FIRST TWO DAYS FOLKS MEET BENEATH BIG TENTS AND LISTEN TO 10 MINUTE REPORTS, ON SUNDAY FOLKS BREAK CAMP AND HEAD OUT ON THEIR CHOSEN FIELD TRIP FROM A DOZEN TO CHOOSE FROM THIS CHEVELON CANYON TOUR FILLED UP FAST….MORE 2013 PECOS NOTES BELOW…
To some, the land seen off I-40 just south of Winslow, Arizona, is featureless and seemingly without end. Others, more adventuresome, might find the finger-like canyons of precious water that collect on these lands and have supported life there for centuries. Those who stop and look closely might enjoy the language of prehistoric man left on the walls of Chevelon Canyon. Surprisingly, rock artists seven thousand years ago wrote about the same human conditions that preoccupy our lives today….life, death, birth and putting food on the table.
Man’s need for spirituality is found in the two foot tall human-shaped figures who resembled the shamanistic drawing found in the San Juan River valley. Perhaps the most famous rock drawing found here is the “Birthing scene” which shows a unmarried pueblo women (wearing Hopi hair whorls) giving birth. Some of the paint of this design has been scrapped away over the centuries by women hoping to become pregnant, either by carrying the powder in a medicine bag or ingesting it in order to successfully conceive. For thousands of years these rock designs were the religious center of between 200-400 people living in the area who up to 1400 AD depended upon this canyon for their livelihood and probably their spiritual life also.
Today Rock Art Ranch is a private ranch 25 miles southeast of Winslow, AZ, it still raises cattle and bison and encompasses 5,000 acres between Winslow and Holbrook. Rock Art Ranch is home to one of the best preserved and most extensive collections of ancient petroglyphs in the southwest. The spectacular rock art dates from 6000 BC to AD 1400 and lies in the deep lush canyons found in the high desert around 5100’ elevation. For thousands of years this area has been visited by hunting nomads and gathering groups. Charles Adams is a Professor in the School of Anthropology and Curator of Archaeology in the Arizona State Museum, both at the University of Arizona. Chuck directs a field school here each summer and is the overall principal investigator in Chevelon Canyon. Adams along with Richard Lange have conducted survey and excavations in this area through the ASM Homol’ovi Research Program, their research interests include proto-historic and historic Pueblo archaeology, Hopi ethnography, religion and ritual in the archaeological record, settlement patterns and land use. In 2013, the UA field school focused on describing the archaeological record of the ranch and its neighbors and conducted a limited excavation on an early 13th century pueblo of 30-50 rooms. They wanted to gain an understanding of how the landscape was used by groups over the past 8000 years, and why groups migrated to and from this area, and if this rock art communicated identity and ownership.
Visiting Homolovi Ruins (just north of Winslow, AZ) some folks hear of the Winslow ranching family who managed to keep a significant cluster of petroglyphs protected from vandalism for more than 50 years. Brantley Baird is a descendent who created “Rock Art Ranch AZ” and for a fee, the Baird’s will guide folks to the 3000+ rock art images located on the canyon walls. Some archaeologist have declared Rock Art Ranch as; “One of the premier rock art sites in the world” saying the significance of this site is amplified by rock art samples spanning 6000 years produced by Anasazi, Sinagua, Hopi, Navajo, and the Zuni cultures. Please note also this hike is on private property and arrangements must be made in advance with the Baird family prior to visiting Rock Art Ranch. Contact the Baird’s at 928-288-3260 to make your arrangements, and be sure to visit their museum setup, displaying a lifetime of discoveries. The ranch, which Baird’s parents purchased in 1945, features a barn stocked with artifacts found on the property as well as those passed down through the family, which has deep Arizona roots. Baird’s great-grandfather was William Jordan Flake, a co-founder of the town of Snowflake. Anasazi ruins and a Navajo hogan and sweat house are all part of the ranch.
Call 928-288-3260 and for a fee and the date, time can be arranged. You will be met by a ranch hand at the corner of Territorial Road and Bell Cow Road at 10 am on any Saturday. Be prepared to follow his truck along a rutted ranch road for a couple of miles. You will pass through a couple of locked gates along the ranch road until reaching a parking area next to Chevelon Canyon. As long as you are with Baird or his people, ignore all those threatening signs overhead, the tour is well worth the risks…
From Winslow: Take SR87 south towards Payson. Turn left on SR99 and follow about 6 1/4 miles until you reach Territorial Road (McLaws Road on many maps). Follow the gravel surfaced Territorial Road for about 8 1/2 miles until you reach intersection of Bell Cow Road. This is the rendezvous spot for those interested in viewing the petroglyphs. Rock Art Ranch House Museum is three miles further east on Territorial Road on the south side..
THE 2013 PECOS CONFERENCE WAS HELD IN FLAGSTAFF, ALMOST 500 ATTENDED, THE EVENT WAS SPONSORED BY THE MUSEUM OF NORTHERN HISTORY. IN THE BUSINESS MEETING, THE CONFERENCE NOW IN ITS 76 YEAR, WILL HOLD THE 77TH MEETING IN UTAH HOSTED BY THE CITY OF BLANDING AND THE EDGE OF THE CEDARS MUSEUM. THE 78TH MEETING WILL BE HELD NEAR MANCOS, COLORADO AUGUST 6-8TH 2015…
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