Thursday, September 15, 2011

Deer Valley Rock Art Center

The Deer Valley Rock Art Center preserves the 1571 rock art images of the Hedgpeth Hill Petroglyph site. The 0.25 mile trail and museum are 2 miles west of Interstate 17 on Deer Valley Road on the northwest side of the Phoenix, AZ area. There is a $7 admission charge.

The rock art images are thought to be the work of Archaic, Patayan, and Hohokam people from between 500 to 1200 AD. The trail is along the base of a hill with many basalt boulders and the petroglyphs are among the boulders.

One of the interpretive signs along the trail mentions that green stones from the nearby Skunk Creek have been found among the basalt boulders and there is an association with grinding stones.

The rocky slope here may have been an important source of material for producing grinding stones. There are also supposed to be some small rooms built among the boulders, but I don’t think these are visible from the trail. The purpose of the small rooms isn’t clear, but could have been lookout points.

There are 12 stops along the trail with most of the images between stops 6 and 9. Viewing tubes are installed to point out some of the images. Many of the images are high up among the boulders and binoculars are handy to see the distant figures.
Besides the rock art images, some of the desert plants are identified and there is a cactus garden planted in the shape of a spiral petroglyph. The museum has some displays on petroglyphs and in September 2011 there is a gallery of archaeological pictures taken at the Perry Mesa area of Agua Fria National Monument. I visited on a 95 F early September day and spent about 1:00 hour.

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