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Gold Butte petroglyphs

Photographs of Nevada rock art.  Click on any photo to enlarge.

Gold Butte is a 500 square mile area 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, where the Sonoran, Mojave and Colorado Deserts meet.  This is a desert and mountain wilderness. Much of the area is covered with red and buff sandstone formations with lesser amounts of limestone and granite metamorphic formations which are heavily eroded and fault twisted.  The lower desert area is transected with many shallow, dry washes. Surface water is difficult to find, except for the Virgin River in the western margin. Winter temperatures are in the 60s during the day and can drop into the 20s at night. Summer midday highs often exceed 110.

The low desert vegetation includes creosote, bursage and cactus, which provide habitat for reptiles and small mammals. At mid elevation Joshua trees, blackbrush, cliffrose, serviceberry, oak, and manzanita  provide a home for a multitude of birds and larger mammals such as deer and mountain lion.  On the rocky slopes at the highest elevations are found bighorn sheep, small forests of Pinion and Juniper, and occasional stands of Douglass fir.

Bands of Archaic hunter-gatherers lived here, followed by the Virgin Branch of the Keyenta Anasazi.  When the Anasazi left sometime around 1000AD the Patayan and southern Paiute made Gold Butte their home.

Gold Butte Nevada rock art

Anasazi petroglyphs at Gold Butte

 Gold Butte is a barren but majestic red sandstone landscape and natural petroglyph repository.

The darker stained areas of red sandstone appear to be the preferred canvass for prehistoric rock art makers.

petroglyph on red sandstone

falling man petroglyph

Many of the designs are are pecked into the rock with enough precision to make the images sharp and clear.

Nicknamed "the falling man", this petroglyph could represent an actual event, a wish that this event would occur, a shaman descending to or from the spirit world, or something entirely different.

Kohota Circus petroglyph panel

Nevada sandstone petroglyph

This Kohota Circus panels seems 'cluttered' and has been weathered by the elements over the last millennia.

Over the years different people utilized the resources of Gold Butte making it difficult to determine Who made What rock art.

petroglyph rock art on cliff Whitney-Hartman petroglyph panel

In some place level ground is not to be found and petroglyph panels are located on difficult to reach locations.

This Whitney-Hartman panel includes some superimposition of petroglyphs  pecked over older images.

Virgin Anasasi rock art gold_butte_petroglyph
One of the nicest and best made Anasazi panels in Gold Butte is situated high above a dry wash.
see a replica of this panel
With images almost the same color of the rock, some panels are difficult to detect.
21 petroglyph bighorn sheep
This grand panel of 21 bighorns in a line contains several sheep of different styles.
See...    Petroglyph Replicas Carved in Stone
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  Learn More...    Petroglyph CDs
& Books
petroglyph CD
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