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dark zone rock art in caverns

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Feather Cave, New Mexico, U.S.A.

Feather Cave (LA 37551) is entered through a low entrance at the bottom of a shallow but prominent sink. The entrance descends into a large passage at least 250 feet long apparently used for ceremonies and partially excavated by the University of New Mexico in the early 1950s. At the back of the ample entry passage is a small, very tight crawlway about 2 feet wide and 1 foot tall leading into Arrow Grotto, a series of small breakdown rooms used prehistorically, around 1350 A.D., for ritual activity. Pictographs (mostly white) associated with individual shrine locations are painted on the walls and ceiling, and ritual materials deposited in the rooms (and now removed) included arrows, miniature bows, prayer sticks, painted mask fragments. and other items. Rituals apparently were associated with winter or summer solstice, especially related to renewed fertility of crops, requests for rain to support those crops, and Pueblo life in general.




Surratt Cave, New Mexico, U.S.A.

Surratt Cave is a vertically oriented system used during late Pueblo times, probably after about A.D. 1350, as a shrine location where ceremonies were conducted. The large sandstone sink has several panels of petroglyphs and pictographs, including a concentration of human footprints. A large Tlaloc-type face overlooks the sink, and the mouth area was stuck with hammerstones to produce a voice that impressively booms across the sink and the main cave entrance. The cave is entered through a small crawl that passes through a tiny notch barely large enough to squeeze through, then descends through a series of small passages and larger rooms to a lower room containing individual ritual stations bordered with painted panels. Below this, down to a depth of at least 127 feet below the surface level, are more climb-down cracks, passages, and kiva-like rooms covered with both negative and positive paintings of handprints, human or deity masks or faces, cloud terraces, huge snakes, rabbit clubs, birds and bird footprints, bows, geometric designs, and other figures. Figures are mainly black charcoal paint (much of it blown out the mouth or through tube), but with much dark orange liquid paint and some blue solid crayon. CLICK HERE for a PDF report.





U-Bar Cave, New Mexico, U.S.A.

U-Bar Cave in New Mexico was used as a ritual site about A.D. 1300-1450.





Triangle Cave, Montana, U.S.A.

Triangle Cave is an 80 foot long, narrow, tunnel-like tube.
The main shaman paintings are 45 feet from the cave entrance.

View a slideshow of Triangle Cave





Two Hands Cave, Montana, U.S.A.

This island mountain cave is one of several along a limestone formed mountain range. However, only a few of the caves in the area have rock art. This suggests that Two Hands and others were selected because of their specific characteristics for this function.

View a slideshow of Two Hands Cave

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