PHOTOSNM New Mexico aka CORALREEFPHOTOS
The Three Rivers Petroglyphs are outstanding examples of prehistoric Jornada Mogollon rock art. The basaltic ridge rising above the Three Rivers Valley contains over 21,000 petroglyphs, including masks, sunbursts, wildlife, handprints, and geometric designs. The number and concentration of petroglyphs make this one of the largest and most interesting rock art sites in the Southwest. A rugged 0.5-mile trail begins at the visitor shelter and links many of the most interesting petroglyphs. Another short trail begins on the east side of the picnic area and leads to a partially excavated prehistoric village.
The Three Rivers Petroglyph Site is one of the few locations in the Southwest set aside solely because of its rock art. It is also one of the few sites giving visitors such direct access to petroglyphs. The number and concentration of petroglyphs here make it one of the largest and most interesting petroglyphs sites in the Southwest. More than 21,000 glyphs of birds, humans, animals, fish, insects and plants, as well as numerous geometric and abstract designs are scattered over 50 acres of New Mexico's northern Chihuahuan Desert. The petroglyphs at Three Rivers, dating back to between about 900 and 1400 AD, were created by Jornada Mogollon people who used stone tools to remove the dark patina on the exterior of the rock. A small pueblo ruin is nearby and Sierra Blanca towers above to the east. A detailed petroglyph guide is available at the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site. For more information visit;
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Hundreds of petroglyphs, dating from pre-contact time and the Spanish colonial era, can be found along this mesa above the Santa Fe River. Most of the petroglyphs were placed there by Keresan-speaking puebloan people living in the area between the 13th and 17th centuries. The descendants of these people now live down the Santa Fe River along the Rio Grande at the Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos. The area is known for the great number of hump-backed flute player images and a great variety of bird figures. The site is also of interest to those tracing the route of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, as the ancient road passed along here as well. For more information visit;
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Petroglyphs are rock carvings (rock paintings are called pictographs) made by pecking directly on the rock surface using a stone chisel and a hammerstone. When the desert varnish (or patina) on the surface of the rock was chipped off, the lighter rock underneath was exposed, creating the petroglyph. Archaeologists have estimated there may be over 25,000 petroglyph images along the 17 miles of escarpment within the monument boundary.
It is estimated 90% of the monument's petroglyphs were created by the ancestors of today's Pueblo people. Puebloans have lived in the Rio Grande Valley since before 500 A.D., but a population increase around 1300 A.D. resulted in numerous new settlements. It is believed that the majority of the petroglyphs were carved from about 1300 through the late 1680s.
The arrival of Spanish people in 1540 had a dramatic impact on the lifestyle of the pueblo people. In 1680 the Pueblo tribes rose up in revolt of Spanish rule, and drove the settlers out of the area and back to El Paso, Texas. In 1692 the Spanish resettled in the Albuquerque area. As a result of their return, there was a renewed influence of the Catholic religion, which discouraged participation by the Puebloans in many of their traditional ceremonial practices. As a consequence, many of these practices went underground, and much of the image making by the Puebloans decreased. A small percentage of the petroglyphs found within the park pre-date the Puebloan time period, perhaps reaching as far back as B.C. 2000. Other images date from historic periods starting in the 1700s, with petroglyphs carved by early Spanish settlers.
Sadly this is a common sight at every place that is open to the general public, it's a common case of one person can ruin it for so many. This kind of damage can not be fixed but you can help by being alert to what others are doing and report suspicious activity.
This was so disappointing to find, someone painted right over existing petroglyphs without a care in the World? This did have a happy ending thanks to social media, the park system responded and did get it removed, a major BRAVO goes out to those who cleaned it up.
It's so sad when you see this kind of vandalism knowing there is nothing one can do to fix or repair the damage, be alert to others around you and report any suspicious activity.
Riddled with bullet holes. In this situation there is nothing you or anyone can do to repair this damage. Best you can do is photograph it and send it in to the BLM, Park Service or those in charge but chances are they have already seen it.
Way back in the 80's my dad and I found this fish in an area near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico and recently went back to visit it. Thankfully there are only a handful of people that know where this is and we are all sworn to secrecy in order to keep it safe.