Comanche Rock Art

Comanche Rock Art 
Tom Ashmore

This article from the Archaeological Institute of America I found the be a report of an incredible new insight in the rock art world.  Up until recently, it was believed there was no rock art attributable to the Comanche, especially here in Texas.  Their raiding parties were always on the move and had no time to delve into the leisurely art of telling stories through rock art.  Well, I tend to disagree, because I've seen it myself.  And this paper supports my original theory of probable lost Comanche rock art panels in the Palo Duro Canyon hills. 

I participated in the 2020 Texas Archeological Society's Field School at Palo Duro Canyon.  I was on one of the teams designated as 'extreme reconnaissance.' We were to hike into the rougher areas of the canyon, off the hiking trails, to see if we could find both former recorded sites and potentially new sites.  One site was a pictograph shelter, not far from the trailhead of the equestrian trail at the south end of the park.  This was a revisit of a known recorded site.  However, while we were there we were shown a nearby interesting site within the boulder field, overlooking the shelter.  We climbed up and viewed it.  There were scratchings in the boulders of many triangles.  After viewing it for a while I realized it was a rendering of a teepee village that would have been down below.  It even included the hills beyond the village on the other side of the canyon that matched up properly.  I gave my thoughts and insight into the scratchings to the group of viewers, but nothing else was done as follow up to this viewing.  I assumed it was already part of the original recording of the shelter below.  However, it was obviously a different time period, one of pictographs below and one of petroglyph scratchings above.  My thought was it was probably a lookout position.  I recently found that it was not part of the original recording and contacted the TAS Steward of the area, who was also on our reconnaissance team.  He will be looking into a follow up, especially given this new insight into probable Comanche petroglyphs in New Mexico and their relationship to the Comanche.  As most of us know, Palo Duro Canyon was the winter camping site of the Comanche in Texas, and the site of the great Palo Duro Indian Wars fight of 1874.

You can find the entire paper here.



Leave a comment