Awanyu Guardians of White Rock Canyon

Guided by Robert “Bob” Powers and Rory Gauthier

Field Trip

Saturday, October 3, 2009, 7:30 am–4:30 pm

Snake Petroglyph in White Rock CanyonSnake Petroglyph in White Rock CanyonPhotograph courtesy Janie Miller.
Snake Petroglyph in White Rock CanyonPhotograph courtesy Janie Miller.

White Rock Canyon is one of the jewels of the Pajarito Plateau, with magnificent views, beautiful rock art, and farming sites hidden in the canyon bottom. We will be visiting two sites in the canyon that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of their spectacular prehistoric rock art and important archaeological features.

The Ancestral Puebloans who lived in the large villages of the Pajarito Plateau decorated the black basaltic rocks of the canyon with their unique art. They left behind hundreds of petroglyphs featuring the area’s wildlife, including deer, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes. Spiritual petroglyph symbols like the Awanyu, a Tewa deity and guardian of water, have been etched in exquisite detail and overlook many of the farming sites in White Rock Canyon. The Puebloans farmed along the river terraces and built an extensive canal system to irrigate their fields. At Pajarito Springs, a remarkable stone-lined irrigation system carried water for over half a mile through a mother canal and several lateral ditches to supply sixty acres of farmland.

The Peopling of Bandelier

Our outstanding guides into this volcanic gorge will be archaeologists Robert “Bob” Powers and Rory Gauthier who have extensively explored and recorded the prehistoric use of the Pajarito Plateau. Bob, a retired NPS archaeologist, directed the Bandelier Archaeological Survey and edited the SAR Press book The Peopling of Bandelier: New Insights from the Archaeology of the Pajarito Plateau. Rory is the park archaeologist for Bandelier National Monument and has authored several books on prehistoric New Mexico.

Activity Level: Strenuous, physically challenging with 900-feet elevation change and includes 3 miles of hiking. Participants must be in excellent health.
Please call the Membership Office at (505) 954-7203 if you are uncertain about your physical ability to participate.

Cost: $65 per person, includes van transportation from SAR, guide honorarium, and picnic lunch.

Trip Registration: Participation in SAR field trips is one of the benefits of membership. To make registration equitable, we will begin accepting trip reservations Wednesday, July 8, 2009, 8am to 5pm, for our Fall 2009 field trips. Beginning on that day, please call the SAR Membership Office at (505) 954-7203 to register or to receive additional information about any of these trips. Group size is limited. Reserve your space early.

For more information, visit the Field Trips section.

Follow us: