Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ancient Rock Art - protect it here and over there

nine mile canyon

Protecting the past - for the future.

We have our Maori Rock Art here and there is also many examples of indigenous rock art being protected in other countries.
"Parts of a remote central Utah canyon decorated with ancient Indian art are being nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.
The Bureau of Land Management this week nominated 63 sites along Nine Mile Canyon, which some call the world's longest art gallery. It contains more than 10,000 prehistoric rock carvings and paintings of bighorn sheep, owls, a two-headed snake, spear-wielding hunters and warriors engaged in hand-to-hand combat.
In the coming years, the BLM in Utah plans to nominate more than 800 sites in the canyon for the national register, according to Megan Crandall, an agency spokeswoman in Salt Lake City. She said it's the largest such attempt for archaeological sites in Utah."
But as is often the case things are complicated.
"The BLM is about to launch another indepth study on the nearby West Tavaputs Plateau. The agency has been considering a proposal that would allow about 800 more natural gas wells in the area and increase truck traffic on the narrow, 78-mile road that snakes through the sandstone and shale canyon.
Conservationists worry the extra truck traffic would kick up dust in the canyon and jeopardize the irreplaceable rock art."
"The canyon's drawings and carvings, easily spotted today from the unpaved road, have been a source of fascination and speculation since their discovery in the late 1800s. Some of the art is believed to be the work of the mysterious Fremont people, who lived in present-day Utah, Idaho, Colorado and Nevada from 700 to 1300 A.D.
Other inscriptions in the canyon's walls are from the Ute Indians, early explorers and members of the U.S 9th Cavalry.
The first batch nominated for the national register includes 19 rock art sites, 40 that include evidence of people living and working during the Fremont period and four sites with homesteads and cabins from the late 1800s and early 1900s. All the proposed properties are on BLM land."
Yes this rock art is under threat from natural gas exploration and miners and so on. What would happen if brownlee found gold under some of our rock art? Perhaps an audit of the rock art would be the best place to start - we don't even know where it all is.

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