“The Indians of Anza Borrego and Their Rock Art”


The earliest inhabitants of the Anza Borrego Desert left hardly a trace of their passing. Flourishing sometime between 5000 to 8000 years ago, these early peoples were completely nomadic. They pursued large game, caught fish and waterfowl.

Rock Art #2Our understanding begins with the written historical record beginning in the year 1774. This was due to the expedition led by Juan Bautista de Anza through the desert on his way to California from Tubac, Arizona.

Rock Art #3

Three main tribes make up the prehistoric and recent historical inhabitants of Anza Borrego. These are the Cahuilla to the north and east, the Northern Diegueño off to the west, and the Kumeyaay to the south.

Rock Art #4

Petroglyphs and pictographs remain as the representational art left behind by these tribes. The rock art is more plentiful here than in most other regions of North America. Petroglyphs are created by picking directly into the dark stain of desert varnish which coats the rock surface. When picked through, the lighter colored underlying granite is exposed. This results in a lasting image. Pictographs, on the other hand, are painted on the rock using ancient formulas to achieve a range of colors.

Interpretation of rock art is always a matter of conjecture, because the true meaning has often been lost to the sands of time. One thing is certain, that many of the symbols and glyphs have a mystical or ritual quality and come into use in initiation ceremonies, fertility and marriage ceremonies, astronomical and or astrological observations, visions and dreams and even historical records. The importance of these carvings and paintings to the various tribal shamans cannot be over emphasized.


~ samwell

About sidestreetsam

Sam Hallmark ~ Graphic Designer ● Conceptual Design ● Animation ● Multi-Media ● Music ● Desert Wind Graphics was established in 1994 as an affordable graphic design solution for a wide range of clients. From conceptual media, storyboards, print collaterals, logo design, multi-media presentations, animation, engineering, technical, marketing , advertising and corporate image packages, Desert Wind Graphics will fulfill your design needs for projects both big and small. With over twenty-five years of design experience I can provide you with access to a unique skill set that will deliver your project on time, within budget and on target! Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have regarding your graphic design needs.
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2 comments on ““The Indians of Anza Borrego and Their Rock Art”

  1. The first image you have on this blog is mine. It’s titled “Spirits of Carrizo Gorge” and it has been featured in the book Old Magic: Lives of the Desert Shamans by Nicholas Clapp. I have never been contacted by you or anyone else associated with this blog or Desert Wind Graphics for permission to use it, and my watermark as been conveniently cropped out of the image. Please take it down or pay me for the use of it. I’ll be contacting wordpress if I don’t get a response from you. “All contents of this website are ©2012 Sam Hallmark”, this is wrong. Please don’t take credit for my work.

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