PETROGLYPHS.US

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Komatke

Photographs of Hohokam petroglyphs in central Arizona.  Click on any photo to enlarge.


When I first visited this site many years ago my guide referred to it as Komatke, although I have learned since that it has several other names and that the village of Komatke (an O'odham word) is actually thirty miles east. It has been my habit to retain site names as I first know them, so I continue to do so here.

This site is a basalt lava flow complex extending three miles north south along the Gila River. The dried bed of the river is at 740' above sea level and the flat tops of the nearby lava flows are at 820'. The dark patinaed basalt makes an excellent canvass for the Hohokam petroglyphs, unlike the poorer quality rock found further east or north. Summer daytime highs are over 100 from May to September and winters lows are in the 40s. The heaviest rains are about 0.8" monthly December - March and about 1" in each of the monsoon months of July and August.

The Gila River was flowing during Hohokam times and the temperatures were mild. The Hohokam built canals across the flat land and grew fields consisting of several varieties of corn and beans, as well as squash, gourds, agave and cotton. Wild devils claw, barley, tepart, crucillo and grasses added to their diet and basketry fibers. Although farmers, they still hunted antelope, rabbit and smaller game in the basins and bighorn sheep and deer at higher elevations. Fish could be caught in the Gila during Hohokam times.

This site is along a trade route from the Phoenix/ Snaketown areas to the east and the Gatlin Site, Sea of Cortez to the south and the Colorado River to the west. The petroglyphs do not show a great degree of re-varnishing, most were probably made by the Hohokam during the Gatlin occupation between AD 800-1200; although some were surly made before and after that time, and others probably made by travelers from different cultures using the trade route. Petroglyphs are sporadic along the lava flow.

Round belly stick figures with or without a phallus/ tail, stacked round belly stick figures, complex geometric designs, "story panels" (several elements arranged in such a way as to imply their is a relationship between them) and representational images are common in Hohokam rock art in this area.
 

 Petroglyphs are on the basalt flows facing the Gila River.

The petroglyphs may be on any side of the boulders, but most seem to face east.

Two 'suns' between two 'rivers'. Could that mean two days travel time?

Hohokam round belly stick figure.

tained boulder rests near a roadway where hundreds of people drive by everyday.

There is some minor degree of  revarnishing and superimposition

A complex geometric image. The meaning of these type images is known only to the petroglyph maker.
Stacked round belly stickmen. hin layer of clear silica (I believe) leaching out of the parent rock. The coating serves to protect the pigment from further deterioration.
A possible story panel. Weathering on this rock has obscured the image, which was a line of bighorn sheep.
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