Twenty years ago in the remote backcountry of the western Grand Canyon, I got my first taste of Grand Canyon rock art. Although I had been interested in pictographs and petroglyphs all my life, these were the most fascinating figures I'd seen. Staring back at me from the sandstone wall were giant multicolored figures, rich with whimsical detail and decoration. These were beings from another world! In short, I was hooked.

The site picture above originally provoked my interest in searching for Grand Canyon pictographs. Shamans' Gallery (aka"Spirit Shelter") was brought to my attention by a long-time Park Ranger, the late John Riffey. After visiting the site in 1980, I felt it was different than other pictograph sites I'd seen. Inspired by enthusiastic friends in the Utah Rock Art Research Association, I started searching for related panels. As I began giving presentations and doing research papers on these pictographs, I coined the term "Grand Canyon Polychrome" to describe in what I believe is a unique style.

Since my first visit to Shamans' Gallery I've made many backpacking trips looking for more sites. I've found and documented a dozen major Grand Canyon Polychrome sites, and several minor ones. The search continues...



The following web pages contain scanned photos from various Grand Canyon Polychrome sites I've recorded. My intention is to provide a sampler of the Grand Canyon Polychrome Style for others who study and enjoy rock art. All images and information copyrighted. Neither the text or photos can be used without my permission.

To protect the sites from possible vandalism, unintentional degradation, and overvisitation, it has always been my policy not to reveal site locations. Some of these sites are so remote they have not yet been visited by archaeologists or recorded in detail. In any case, none of the sites is accessible by road or by river. All the sites are reached only after lengthy hikes or backpacking efforts.

Please: Do not harass government agencies (Forest Service, BLM, Park Service) by requesting site location information. All the sites shown on these web pages are exempt from public disclosure as they are fragile, significant, non-renewable archaeological resources. I don't wish to create a management problem for government archaeologists with site location questions generated by this web site. Furthermore, at least one Grand Canyon Polychrome panel has been deemed sacred by the local Paiute Indians, and the tribe has requested that site location information be restricted.

I've recently added photos from sites related to Grand Canyon Polychrome, including sites mentioned in my original "New Frontiers" report back in 1988.

Shamans' Gallery
Jackpot Cave
The Turret Site
Battion Shelter
The Red Deer Site
The Four Cairn Site
Panther Gallery
 Hades Site

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 ©2004 Mary Allen. All Rights Reserved. All photos & drawings copyrighted.