Saturday, September 24, 2011

Legend Rock Petroglyphs, Wyoming

The Legend Rock State Archaeological Site is 30 miles northwest of Thermopolis, Wyoming.  Sometimes an on-site caretaker will let you in, but normally you need to get a key to unlock the gate.  We got ours at the State bath house at the Thermopolis hot springs.

Petroglyphs are pictures pecked or scratched in rock.  The Legend Rock site has an easy trail leading to several panels of pictures.  One of my favorites was this Thunderbird in one of the first panels.

Petroglyphs at Legend Rock range from about 200 to 11,000 years old.  These animals are among the oldest at the site, so they are not as distinct as newer ones.

Notice the two styles.  The animals on the left are outlined and the ones on the right have their bodies filled in, which is known as "en toto".

Animal figures, like the ones above, are known as zoomorphs.  Human-like figures, such as those to the right are anthropomorphs.  These fantastic figures have horned headdresses and unrealistic bodies.

What is the meaning of something like this?  Anthropomorphs are intertwined into one complicated figure with hands in strange places.

A panel under this figure was removed by vandals.  This is a common problem at rock art sites so we were glad for the extra security at Legend Rock.

This amazing figure has extra feet, arms in the wrong place, and is missing much of his face.  I think his strange personality jumps at you from the rock.  Notice the writing in the upper right.  When it gets this old, it can be referred to as "historic graffiti" and may even be considered to have historical value.
You can see more rock art at our web site:

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