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Petroglyph depicting
mountain sheep

AD 600–1300
Sand Tank, Inyo County, California
20 x 47 x 50 cm

This large piece of rock, likely basalt, contains a panel of petroglyphs consisting of two large and six smaller images of mountain sheep rendered in the Coso style. Petroglyphs like these are exceedingly abundant in the Coso Range and neighboring areas of southeastern California, where it has been estimated 100,000 rock art elements occur within an area of less than 90 square miles—one of the greatest concentrations of petroglyphs in all of North America. It is generally believed that Coso-style rock art was left by peoples who occupied the western Great Basin before the present-day Paiutes. Although rock art is notoriously difficult to date precisely, the best available evidence suggests that mountain sheep motifs of the style represented here were produced between ca. AD 600 and 1300.

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