- Coso Rock Art District
Coso Rock Art DistrictBighorn sheep, a characteristic design at Coso
Nearest city: China Lake, California Governing body: United States Navy NRHP Reference#: 99001178 Significant dates Added to NRHP: October 8, 1999 Designated NHLD: July 8, 2001Big and Little Petroglyph CanyonsArchaic abstract curvilinear-style petroglyphs by Coso People Nearest city: China Lake, California Area: Coso Rock Art District Governing body: United States Navy NRHP Reference#: 66000209 Significant dates Added to NRHP: October 15, 1966 Designated NHL: July 19, 1964
Coso Rock Art District, containing the Big and Little Petroglyph Canyons, is a rock art site containing over 20,000 of Paleo-Indian and/or Native American Petroglyphs The Coso Range is between the Sierra Nevada and the Argus Range. Indian Wells Valley lies to the south of this location. This north south trending range of about 400 square miles (1,000 km2) consists of rhyolitic domes and outcrops of volcanic rock. Also known as Little Petroglyph Canyon and Sand Tanks, Renegade Canyon is but one of several major canyons in the Coso Range, each hosting thousands of petroglyphs. The majority of the Coso Range images fall into one of six categories: bighorn sheep, entopic images, anthropomorphic or human-like figures, other animals, weapons & tools, and “medicine bag” images. Fortunately for the petroglyphs, most of the Coso Range is on the China Lakes Naval Weapons Base, visitation is restricted, vandalism is low, and preservation is most likely. the Coso People in the Coso Range Mountains of the northern Mojave Desert. They are now located within the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, near the towns of China Lake and Ridgecrest, California. There are several other distinct canyons to the Coso Rock Art District besides the Big and Little Petroglyph Canyons. The most popular subjects are bighorn sheep, deer, and antelope.
Big and Little Petroglyph Canyons were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964. In 2001, they were incorporated into a larger National Historic Landmark District, called Coso Rock Art District.
A November 2007 Los Angeles Times' Travel feature article includes it within a top 15 list of California places to visit.
According to that article: "No one knows for sure who decorated Little Petroglyph Canyon with images out of a dreamscape, some thought to be more than 10,000 years old. Or why the basalt walls of a narrow wash in the bone-dry Coso Mountains at the northern edge of the Mojave Desert became a magic canvas for flocks of bighorn sheep, hunters with bows and arrows poised and more. But the area is probably the richest Amerindian Petroglyph / rock-art site in the Western hemisphere. To see the canyon, one must contact either the Navy Base, or join a scheduled tour offered by Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest, California. It's a rough 40-mile drive to the trailhead, followed by a hike and a scramble along the canyon. Visits are scheduled only in the spring and fall."
There is considerable archaeological evidence substantiating trade between the Coso People, possibly of the Northern Paiute tribe, and other Indigenous peoples of the Americas and Native American tribes. For example, distant trade with the Chumash People is confirmed by archaeological recovery from coastal California sites in San Luis Obispo County.
- Coso People
- Native Americans in the United States
- Population history of American indigenous peoples
Petroglyphs Tour Info
- Note: only U.S. citizens are allowed on the tours, and advance reservation is required. 
- Maturango Museum, 100 E. Las Flores Ave., Ridgecrest, CA 93555; (760) 375-6900, http://www.maturango.org .
- Naval Air Weapons Station, (760) 939-1683.
- ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreg/docs/All_Data.html.
- ^ a b c "Coso Rock Art District". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=115&ResourceType=Site. Retrieved 2007-11-17.
- ^ NPS Redbook[dead link]
- ^ NHL Writeup[dead link]
- ^ a b c Susan Spano (2007-11-15). "10. Mojave Art on the Rocks, in "THE GOLDEN 15: 15 places to visit to see the real California"". Los Angeles Times. http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la-trw-cabest18nov18?content=%3Ci%3E.%3C%2Fi%3E%3C%2Fp%3E%0A%3Cp%3E--+Mary+E.+Forgione&single_page=y#show.
- ^ C.Michael Hogan (2008) Morro Creek, The Megalithic Portal, ed. by A. Burnham 
- Coso Rock Art and the Coso Bighorn Sheep Cult
- Maturango Museum
- 7 photos
- Archeology Program: Coso Rock Art, at National Park Service
- Dating Coso Projectile Points
- Visiting the Coso petroglyphs at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake
Indigenous peoples of California
Achomawi · Atsugewi · Bay Miwok · Cahuilla · Chemehuevi · Chimariko · Chumash · Coast Miwok · Cupeño · Eel River Athapaskans (Lassik, Nongatl, Sinkyone, Wailaki) · Esselen · Gabrielino (Tongva) · Halchidhoma · Hupa (Chilula, Whilkut) · Juaneño (Acjachemen) · Karuk · Kato · Kawaiisu · Kitanemuk · Kumeyaay (Diegueño, Ipai, Tipai) · Lake Miwok · Luiseño · Maidu · Mattole (Bear River) · Modoc (Klamath) · Mohave · Mono (Monache, Owens Valley Paiute) · Nomlaki · Northern Paiute · Ohlone (Costanoan) · Patwin · Pomo · Quechan (Yuma) · Salinan · Serrano · Shasta (Konomihu, Okwanuchu) · Tataviam · Timbisha · Tolowa · Tübatulabal · Valley and Sierra Miwok · Wappo · Washoe · Wintu · Wiyot · Yana · Yokuts · Yuki · Yurok
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