A small amount of rock art is present at Castle Rock Pueblo.
art is not directly datable, this art is assumed to have been produced
during the occupation of the village at Castle Rock, which has been dated from A.D. 1256 to
sometime after 1274 (see "Chronology"). The rock art consists of
several petroglyphs: a few small images on top of the
butte (Database Photo 1353 and Database Photo 1355), two isolated designs on the
faces of nearby boulders, and one panel on the south face of the butte.
This rock art is a significant additional source of information about the
villagers who lived at Castle Rock.
The two isolated designs on the
faces of the boulders consist of wavy lines 45 cm (18 in) long and 4 cm
(1.5 in) wide. They were interpreted by a Hopi elder as possibly
representing the Hopi water snake clan.
The panel on the butte face
is located midway up the south face in a location that could have been
reached only by a ladder resting on the roof of Structure 208 (Database Map 509). This panel consists of three anthropomorphic figures
of similar size, positioned side by side (Figure 1). The three figures have rectangular or globular bodies that may represent warriors' shields. The figure in the center and
the figure on the right hold bows and arrows, stand back-to-back, and
appear to be defending each other. The figure in the center seems to be
shooting an arrow toward the figure on the left. The figure on the left,
with his legs in front of him, appears to be falling away from the central
figure and holding up a shield in defense against the arrow.
Typical anthropomorphic figures created in this region during the time of
Castle Rock occupation are front-view "lizard men" with sticklike arms and
legs extending out to the sides and bent at elbows and knees (Cole
1990*1:143; Schaafsma 1980*1:135-136). These
anthropomorphs are usually depicted as stick figures or as figures with
narrow, rectangular bodies. The anthropomorphic images on the Castle Rock
panel, however, are not typical of this style: their bodies are not narrow
or sticklike, and they are depicted in side view. Figures far more similar
to the Castle Rock figures have been recorded near Moab, Utah (Cole
1990*1:Plate 60; Schaafsma 1980*1:Figure 126). Many of the Utah figures
are also depicted in side view and have similar shields or backpacks, and
some have "antennae" similar to those of the central figure in the Castle
Rock panel. It is possible, then, that the panel at Castle Rock shows
influence from southeastern Utah. Other evidence of contact with
southeastern Utah is present at Castle Rock in the form of a red jasper
Bull Creek projectile
point (see "Trade" and "Artifacts").
Anthropomorphic figures wielding bows and arrows have been reported on
other rock art panels in the Southwest. They are usually depicted in
animal hunting scenes (Cole 1990*1:Plate 85; Hurst and Pachak 1989*1:16; Schaafsma
1971*1:Figures 32, 33, and 121, Plates 14 and 16, 1980*1:Figure 65), but
other possible depictions of human violence are not unknown (Hurst and Pachak 1989*1:10). The Castle Rock panel could have
been created for any of several reasons. It might have been created by one
or more residents of Castle Rock during the habitation of the village, to
reflect the conflict and unrest in the area at the time. It might have
signified an agreement among the villagers to defend one another in case of
attack, or it might have served as a warning to possible intruders.
Alternatively, the panel could have been created after the attack that
ended the habitation of the village (see "The Final Days of Castle Rock Pueblo"), by a
survivor, a relative of the victims, or one of the attackers. Rock art has
been used in other areas to record historic events
(Hurst and Pachak 1989*1:24; James 1974*1:137).
The rock art panel at Castle Rock is significant in that it provides
evidence of conflict independent of the defensible site location, defensive architecture (see
"Architecture"), disarticulated human
remains (see "The Final Days of Castle Rock Pueblo"), and oral
history. The artistic style of the
figures suggests possible influence from southeastern Utah.
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