photography from the ground up

An Ancient Canvas

On the way home after our last trip to White Sands, which I wrote about in my previous post, we stopped at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site. Three Rivers is located about sixteen miles north of Tularosa, New Mexico, and is administered by the BLM. It has one of the largest concentrations of rock art in the American Southwest–more than twenty-one thousand glyphs.


Human figure petroglyph at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

The petroglyphs were made by a now extinct culture, the Jornada Mogollon, who inhabited the area from 900-1400CE. They are the same people who lived at the more well known Gila Cliff Dwellings located about two hundred miles west. I always feel a connection when I see evidence of these ancient people’s existence. I imagine them there in the dim past, standing in this same spot and creating their art.


Numerous petroglyphs on two canvases

Many of the petroglyphs at Three Rivers can be seen along the one mile trail which follows a basalt ridge. The artists used stone tools to carve their works into the dark patina covering the rocks; and in some places, nearly every square inch of available “canvas” is covered with drawings.


Mountain goat petroglyph?

Visiting such a place makes me realize that, as an artist, I am a member of a long line of humanity that has felt the need to express their interpretation of things or events which defined their lives. Were these artists-of-their-day respected members of the clan? Were they rebels? Did they rail against social injustice?


The Sound of One Hand

The real significance of these works, aside from recounting the lives of a long lost culture, is their ability to connect us, as people, across the chasm of time.

10 responses

  1. Incredible and beautifully captured as always Jim. A real pleasure to see this place through your eyes!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 7, 2015 at 8:49 am

  2. Oh how I love petroglyphs, and your photos and experience here, Jim, were a real treat. I am amazed at how clearly the images can still be seen. Interesting that their expression survives. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 7, 2015 at 9:33 am

  3. Ray Sanders

    Again, thanks for sharing Jim. Much appreciated. Ray


    November 7, 2015 at 9:47 am

  4. Diane

    These are awesome photos, Jim!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 7, 2015 at 10:32 am

  5. Beautiful images of ancient art. Love your processing.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 7, 2015 at 11:11 am

  6. inc

    I really like how these photos came out so clear and colorful!


    November 8, 2015 at 8:39 am

  7. Super and magical.


    November 9, 2015 at 4:18 pm

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