Topic ID #38711 - posted 9/10/2017 12:07 PM

Archaeologists work to gather data from fading rock art sites (Texas)


High above the Pecos River, archaeologist Jessica Lee points out the muted colors of human, animal and otherworldly creatures that make up a faded mural spanning 24 feet along a rocky overhang.

A white-robed figure with arms stretched wide, a deer with a full set of antlers, and elaborately squiggled lines in black, red, yellow and white all brighten the stony recess within view of the Highway 90 bridge west of Del Rio.

This detailed panel, which experts believe was painted 2,000 years ago, is one of more than 350 known examples of rock art in Val Verde County. Another, the Fate Bell Shelter at nearby Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Area, depicts elaborately dressed figures, some holding darts, sticks and atlatls.

But like all of the ancient artwork in the area, rain and high humidity are slowly erasing these murals. Floods in 2008 and 2014 washed tree branches and debris into some of the sites. Receding muddy water left silt lines on others. Everywhere, limestone is gradually flaking away, taking with it stories of the ancient people who lived here.


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