San Rafael Swell
Rock Art: Dry Wash (Molen Reef)
This page contains a discussion of the rock art found on the Dry Wash Panel within the San Rafael Swell in Utah. All photographs are from our our personal collection. If you'd like to see more rock art from this location, or if you'd like to see higher resolution or larger images, send us an e-mail message and we'll see what we can do.
This site is located on the west side of the San Rafael Swell. It is just inside the reef, at the mouth of Dry Wash.
This is a petroglyph site on several large sandstone boulders which have rolled down from the Ferron sandstone which tops the Mancos shale adjacent to the site.
The dominant theme at this site is snakes. The largest is eight feet across. On top of one boulder is a sharply outlined lizard. On the side of another boulder, facing the road, is a small hunch-backed flute player. A search among the boulders results in rewarding surprises.
There is also supposed to be a dinosaur track in the area, but we were unable to locate it.
- Archaeological Resources Protection Act Hotline: 800-227-7286.
- See Archaeological Site Etiquette.
- See American Antiquities Act of 1906.
- See Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979.
- See More Rock Art Sites.
Other rock art sites within the San Rafael Swell:
All of these photos have been resized and manipulated in Photoshop to give the best representation of the image. Some color distortion is inevitable. If you would like to see higher quality versions of these shots, or if you would like to use these images for any purpose, please contact us and we would be glad to help if we can.
Select an image to see a full sized version.
|DW003: This looks a bit like a Kokopelli figure carrying his flute under his arm. The figure has long legs with unusual feet. Petroglyph.|
|DW007: This stick figure has a set of three concentric circles for a torso (or is this a shield?). There appears to be one leg, but then if you look at the bottom there are two feet or short legs, and a possible penis. The arms extend from the shoulders and are raised at the elbows, ending in hands with four or five spread fingers. There is a ball shaped head atop a thin neck. The head has three feathers or horns protruding from it. There is also a small, thin zoomorph of some sort that looks a bit like a spirit helper, the way it's placed close to the anthropomorph. Petroglyph.|
|Panels and Mixed Groups|
|DW002: This is one of the more prominent panels in this area, and, as you can see, it has been vandalized. There appear to be several snakes of different styles represented here, as well as the kokopelli-like figure. Petroglyph.|
|DW006: This is an interesting image. The central anthropomorph is somewhat similar to the figure in DW007, but has the single leg extending downward and curving into another figure that may or may not be a small triangular shaped anthropomorph. Near the main figure there are three zoomorphs, two of which appear to be Desert Big Horn sheep, while the third may be an elk or a pronghorn. Surrounding all of these figures on three sides is a solid line that may represent some sort of fence or trap within which the animal figures have been corralled and trapped. Outside of the fence there is another small anthropomorphic looking figure. Petroglyph.|
|DW001: A well defined snake figure. Petroglyph.|
|DW004: A well defined and unusual looking horned snake with a prominent head and slightly coiled tail. Petroglyph.|
|DW005: This is a very large snake figure; the largest that I've seen. It is about six to seven feet long and sits on this rock surface by itself. Associated with the other snake images at this site, one wonders if perhaps there were a large number of snakes in this area, although none seem to represent a rattle snake, each with a more or less constrictor type tail. However, the head on this large snake is shaped exactly like that of a pit viper. Petroglyph.|