Pinyon Uplands - Site 5

This site is located at the southern edge of a pinyon forest. It contains a half-dozen panels on a northwest-facing escarpment. Other remains at the site are located in a level area to the west of the panels. These include flaked stone tools and chipping debris, pottery sherds, and milling (seed grinding) tools. Analysis of the archaeological remains indicates that this site was occupied primarily during the last 200 to 650 years, indicated by the presence of arrow-sized projectile points (Cottonwood Triangular and Desert Side-notched types) and pottery sherds. Dating of obsidian artifacts (by obsidian hydration analysis) supports this conclusion. A few other projectile points and some of the obsidian hydration data provide evidence of a less intensive occupation earlier, extending back to about 2500 years ago.

Each panel contains between two and sixteen elements. The majority of elements are abstract (25), with comparatively few representational (5) or scratched (8) ones. Most of the abstract elements are circular designs or lines. Scratched designs occur only at Panel 1 and Panel 5. At Panel 1 they overlay earlier pecked designs, all of which are abstract.

Nearly all abstract and representational rock art in the Coso region is made by simple pecking -- sometimes forming a continuous line or design, and at other times quite scattered or widely spaced. Panel 1, however, also contains an element made using an uncommon technique: short, chiseled gashes were used to create a basket-weave design. When this technique was used is not yet known. Panel 5 is the most prominent and complex petroglyph at the site, with mostly circular abstract designs, in addition to representational ones (a sheep and a lizard), and a few scratched elements.

Superpositioning indicates that the most recent designs made at the site are the scratched ones. The only substantial occupation of the site occurred quite recently, only 200 to 650 years ago. It thus seems very likely that the scratched designs were created during this latest occupation, and that the pecked designs were made earlier.

The site map below shows the location of rock art panels as yellow dots. Click on any of the dots to see a photo of the panel at that location.