WRITTEN ON STONE
Texas hosts a number of premier rock art sites, shelters and rock faces painted by history’s Native Americans as well as the prehistoric peoples who came before them. The pictographs, although often difficult to decipher, reveal clues about the inhabitants who occupied the country up to the arrival of Europeans. The Paint Rock site, a few miles north of the Texas Fort Trail community that shares its name, is considered one of the state’s major pictograph collections. The heart of the site appears on a limestone cliff seventy feet high and several hundred yards north of the Concho River. Here, hundreds of pictographs portray animal and human figures, curious geometric shapes, and a preponderance of handprints both negative (outlined) and positive. In addition, an estimated fifteen hundred pictographs are scattered across a half-mile of rock. A rough date places the earliest pictographs around a thousand years before present but, as the site was used repeatedly over the millennium, the paintings span the entire age. Colors vary as well, from black and white to red, yellow, and orange, all pigments derived locally and from nature. Past vandalism and forces of nature have compromised at least a quarter of the pictographs, thus the site, on private property, is protected by ranch family members.
Paint Rock Indian Pictographs