Rock Art of Rochester Creek Panel

A 4,000 Year Old Open-Air Rock Art Gallery


Rochester Creek Aerial (-4000/-1) by Stephen AlvarezAncient Art Archive

Just North

Just north of I-70 in central Utah, cleaving the confluence of the Muddy and Rochester Creek drainages, a knife-edged ridge of sandstone and tumbling boulders forms a peninsula, dropping off hundreds of feet on both sides.  

Rochester Creek Aerial Closer (-4000/-1) by Stephen AlvarezAncient Art Archive

Rochester Creek Panel is

Rochester Creek Panel is a destination, a spot chosen repeatedly by artists and spiritual leaders who made this stark and rugged landscape their home. 

The Rochester Panel (-500/1000) by Stephen AlvarezAncient Art Archive

Over Thousands of

Storytelling on a Massive Scale

Over thousands of years, they engraved their stories into boulders the size of houses, giving us glimpses into their interior lives.

Hi Res Rochester Creek Main Panel (-4000/-1) by Stephen AlvarezAncient Art Archive

Creating this art

"Creating this art required skill and a precise set of tools. No one is walking up to this site and picking rocks up off the ground and deciding to make art. They are coming here with a very intentional tool set and an idea in mind." Jamie Hollingsworth, Navajo Archaeologist

The Rochester Panel on Mud Creek (-500/1000) by Stephen AlvarezAncient Art Archive

The Rock Art of

The rock art of Rochester Creek Panel beckons visitors with hundreds of complex and mesmerizing images, like this animal with spines down its back and a huge mouth full of teeth ...

Or This Large Eyed

... or this large-eyed, bird-like creature.

Is This A Rainbow

Is that a rainbow? Or a rock bridge? Or something else? Why are there bands across the arched lines? Are the images above and below part of a story?

This Image

This image seems to depict the act of giving birth. Archaeologist Jamie Hollingsworth believes the presence of this rarely seen image is an indication of the site's historical cultural significance.

While These

While these images provide us modern visitors our best opportunity to see inside the minds of those who came before us, we can never know their precise meaning. The symbolism of the figures has long since faded.

What Appears

What appears to depict an animal may in fact have portrayed a mythical character or story.

Since They Were

Since they were created by  different artists over hundreds or thousands of years, the images might not tell a single story.

Even Though

Even though their original meanings may have slipped away, these images help us recognize the humanity, the imaginations, and the rich cultures of the people who created them.

We Can Feel

We can feel an emotional connection to the ancient artists who expressed themselves in this place. When we visit the site, we can even stand in the very spot where they stood as they created these evocative figures.

The More We Look

The more we look, the more we see, the greater our sense of wonder, and the greater our appreciation for this window into the world of people who lived here long before Europeans arrived. 

To learn more, we recommend visiting this site by the Utah Division of State History.

Credits: Story

Kevin Jones, Ph.D.
Jamie Hollingsworth
Tim Riley, Ph.D.
Stephen Alvarez
Stephanie Welsh
Natalie Fewings
Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum
Bureau of Land Management Price Field Office
National Geographic Society

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.