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Newspaper Rock in Indian Creek State Park
Photo courtesy of Shannon Bell

One of the best known parks in Utah, Indian Creek State Park is the location of the Newspaper Rock Petroglyph Panel that exhibits some of the finest examples of Ute art work as well as that of earlier cultures. Located on a large rock face under an overhang at the base of the canyon wall east of Indian Creek, the panel consists of numerous pecked figures of uniformly high quality and provides considerable material for the study of prehistoric and early aboriginal cultures.

The carvings date from at least two periods. The older figures are characterized as such by the higher degree of fading and the other figures superimposed upon them. These older carvings feature horned, trapezoidal-bodied anthropomorphs, birds, stick men and wavy lines. While the exact chronological position and cultural affiliation of these earlier figures has not been exactly determined, Schaafsma (1970) ascribes them to the Southern San Rafael Fremont rock art style. As there are no known Fremont sites in Indian Creek, there is evidence of Mesa Verde Anasazi sites in adjacent areas.

[photo] Newspaper Rock Petroglyph Panel
Photo courtesy of Shannon Bell

The later carvings are believed to date between 1700 and 1750 AD, due to their depiction of men on horses. Because these figures also feature hunting with bows and arrows, they are believed to have been carved before c. 1850, since bows were probably not the usual weapons used after this date. These carvings include horned anthropomorphs, mountain sheep, deer, elk, bison, footprints, snakes, wheels, concentric circles, bisected circles and wavy lines.

Newspaper Rock is located on Hwy. 211, 25 miles before the entrance to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. It is 28 miles northwest of Monticello and 53 miles south of Moab. It is open year round, 24 hours a day.

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