Petroglyphs (Lava Beds National Monument

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1 Indian Well Headquarters, Lava Beds National Monument, USA
530-667-8100

Petroglyphs (Lava Beds National Monument Reviews

cotton_foam cotton_f…
263 reviews
appreciating ancient rock art! Jul 06, 2013
My husband has a special liking for Native American rock arts so as soon as we found out there is a site for petroglyphs/pictographs, that should be must-visit for us.

To see thousands of carved petroglyphs on a massive open headland you have to drive in the northeast corner of Monument Park at Petroglyph Point. About 2 to 3 miles drive from the southeast entrance of the park. With over 5,000 individual carvings all in one place, this site is one of the most extensive representations of American Indian rock art in California.

Petroglyphs and pictographs are both present at Lava Beds National Monument. Petroglyphs are carved or punctured using a sharp object. Researchers believed the Native Americans used pointed stick or sharp stone to create these rock arts. Pictographs are painted like a picture.

It is very interesting to know that the Petroglyph Point once used to be an island in Tule Lake but it is now drained and very dry. In the olden times, the Native American can only reach this point by boat. And it was only during low-tide they could carve at the volcanic rock. And during high-tide, many of these petroglyphs were soak underwater.

Although the date for each image is hard to determine, many of those images are between 400 to 1,500 years old! It is also very intriguing to find out the brightest images may not be the youngest; they could be the oldest! That’s because an image’s exposure to weather determines how fast it ages, so images that are better protected may be older even if they are brighter.

The geometric pattern styles on the rock art at Lava Beds are mostly human, animals and other natural figures. They are very fascinating to look at and figure out each pattern. Our game-guessing was fun!

The Modoc artists (Native Americans who lived in this part of the region) who made these images may have had different messages, meanings or a reason for each art carving. No one knows the mystery behind each image except themselves for sure.

The area is now surrounded with barbwire to protect the images. Because of the installed fence no one can actually get closer to the bluffs where the petroglyphs were carved. I had to use a 70-300 mm lens to photograph the images.

This is a very special; full of wonders and mystery type of art.

If you are interested into petroglyphs, this is an amazing place to visit! And before I end this review, do bring lots of bottled water with you. Sunscreen and hats or bandana would also be helpful protection from the scorching heat during summer.
signage to the Petroglyph Point
look at the ground...this area use…
interpretive display
7 / 7 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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cotton_foam says:
thank you, guys! yes this piece of historical ground is worth visiting!!
Posted on: Aug 31, 2013
yjc513 says:
The shots are great!! Loved your blurb!!
Posted on: Aug 30, 2013
Zagnut66 says:
Hard to belive that area was once a lake. Great photos of the petroglyphs.
Posted on: Aug 28, 2013
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Lava Beds National Monument Map
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