Emily Marturano, University of Pittsburgh
(June 17, 2016)—What do you do when bees decide to take over your excavation site and force an impromptu day off while the hive is removed? Drive to the middle of the desert to look at rock art, of course. In the name of bee avoidance, we headed to the Pony Hill site in Deming.
After about two hours in the car, we turned down a ten mile-long dirt road where an old set of directions promised rock art. The first area we stopped at turned out to be the wrong place, but provided a good photo opportunity of surrounding views. We almost gave up, but decided to try one more time a little further down the unmarked road. We stopped a mile further on and unpacked from the van to try our luck for a second time.
Within the first couple of minutes of the hike, we knew we were in the right location. Bright tan images popped out immediately from the dark, weathered rock. The huge clusters of images stood out among the surrounding untouched rock. The dark surface on the rocks, or patina, was pecked at with a rock to expose the lighter rock underneath. These images are referred to as petroglyphs. They differ from other types of rock art like pictographs and geoglyphs. Pictographs are painted on to rocks, and geoglyphs are formed with rocks on the ground.
As we hiked further up the rock face, we were amazed by the increasing number of petroglyphs. All of a sudden, it seemed every rock that surrounded us was adorned by images that resembled the margins of my notes. Many of the images were typical of petroglyphs in the Southwest, such as geometric shapes and anthropomorphic figures. We continued to admire the ancient art for the remainder of the afternoon.
At the end of the day, we were ready to head back to camp and get back to work at our newly bee-free site.