© mike connealy
Mesa Prieta
The map shows the West Mesa Escarpment before the formation of the Petroglyph National Monument in 1990. At that time the exisiting State Park included only Rinconada Canyon near the center, with no protection for the Piedras Marcadas site in the north, or Mesa Prieta at the south end. Today, the National Monument encompasses the full seventeen miles of the escarpment, with management undertaken jointly by the City of Albuquerque, the State of New Mexico, and the National Park Service.
    While there are petroglyphs scattered all along the ridge south of Rinconada, the greatest concentration is in the escarpment's last mile. The rock art is described as being in the Rio Grande style, but there is a great variety in the designs, with many portraying human and animal figures in a realistic manner. Coming from the south, the first two panels contain unique representations of a turkey with the tail feathers fully deployed, and a bear in the style of a design widely appropriated by modern jewelry makers which is known as the Zuni Spirit Bear. Further along are many fine panels at regular intervals depicting animals, birds, Kachina figures, and abstract designs common to all the Rio Grande sites.


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