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Rock Art

Petroglyphs and Pictographs

ancient petroglyphs

Petroglyphs are graphical rock art depictions of people (Anthropomorphic petroglyphs), animals (Zoomorphic petroglyphs) and shapes (Geometric petroglyphs) that are etched into rocks by using another rock to remove portions of its outer layer, or patina.

The rock art at Rancho Puerto Blanco was created by ancient inhabitants of the area, members of the Hohokam, Mogollan and Anasazi cultures, between 600 B.C. and 1400 A.D. The etchings depict a variety of symbols and shapes, from human forms to animals, plants and other symbols made from spiraled arcs and geometric lines.

A survey by archaelogists from the University of Mexico (UNAM) counted 5,878 petroglyphs, in the following forms:

Anthropomorphic (people): 556

Zoomorphic (animals): 2030

Geometric (shapes): 3287

Many of the images are concentrated around a (now dry) river bed that runs through the ranch property. Because of that, the area apparently supported generations of occupants through centuries of time.

Although many of the petroglyphs represent easily recognizable graphics, interpretation of the symbols can be difficult. This is not only because the images may have meant something completely different to those who created them, but also because the same symbol may have different meanings between cultures.

One thing is for certain, the petroglyphs are fascinating.

Recently, as I stood in the dry riverbed at Rancho Puerto Blanco, feeling the warm, whispering desert winds in the calm of a beautiful sunset, I looked around and realized that I was seeing the same scene that could have been witnessed by anyone standing in that spot in the past centuries, millenia. It was truly a step back into the past.

Contact us today to make plans for a visit to the ranch – We look forward to seeing you soon!