Petroglyphs as time markers for Pleistocene occupation of the Great Basin

Author(s): William Jerrems

Year: 2017


The association of cupules and pit and groove petroglyphs is possibly the oldest form of "rock art" in the Americas as evidenced in the northern Great Basin. Recant methods of dating petroglyphs, made possible by unusual paleoclimatic circumstances, have resulted in what may be the identification of the ‘North America’s oldest petroglyphs." Three sites located on the shores of ancient Pleistocene Lakes, two at Lake Lahontan in northern Nevada and one at Long Lake in southern Oregon, have given evidence of this style of petroglyph’s great antiquity. At Winnemucca Lake in the far northwestern subbasin of the Lake Lahontan system, absolute dating was possible on a tufa dome of calcium carbonate deposited by variable lake levels of the Younger Dryas. In all three cases the pit and groove/cupule petroglyph style is present on the shores of Pleistocene pluvial lakes that are now dry lakebeds.

Cite this Record

Petroglyphs as time markers for Pleistocene occupation of the Great Basin. William Jerrems. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 428805)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

min long: -122.761; min lat: 29.917 ; max long: -109.27; max lat: 42.553 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15190