Thursday, August 28, 2008

Potash Road Petroglyphs

Potash Road is a scenic byway that runs along the north side of the Colorado River just west of the entrance to Arches National Park in southeast Utah. There are several campgrounds and trail heads along the way and one of the attractions is a large set of petroglyph panels or Indian Writing as the sign says.

This doesn't appear to have been an area where there is room for any dwellings or room for farming, yet there is a lot of rock art. The setting is spectacular with massive sandstone cliffs right against the road and the Colorado River only a few feet away. The Colorado River here is just upstream of where it enters Canyonlands National Park.

It is thought that these drawing were done by the Northern San Rafael Fremont Culture which flourished in this area from 600 AD to 1300 AD. These drawings are mostly high above the roadway and have a mix of animals, human figures, and geometric designs.

There are quite a few panels to see in one place and the figures seem larger in scale than others in the region. Some of the human figures appear to have animal heads, or they are wearing horns.

There is only a narrow strip of land between the sandstone cliffs and the Colorado River. On the opposite bank are some of the rough carved sandstone formations that are typical in this area.

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