Some Of The Oldest Rock Art In America Is Right Here In Nevada And It’s Truly Awe-Inspiring

Nevada is just full of surprises and we’re constantly discovering them all. For instance, some people go their entire lives without realizing that the oldest rock art in America is right here in the Silver State! Researchers previously believed that the oldest rock art in North America could be found in Oregon, only to be blown away when they discovered how old this little-known rock art site in Nevada is. If you have yet to see this ancient wonder for yourself, you’ll want to plan a trip pronto. This is the type of experience that every Nevadan should take advantage of.

Nevada is home to some fascinating reminders of the people who lived here long before it became the Silver State we know and love today. In fact, it happens to be home to some of the oldest rock art in America, and it's definitely worth checking out.

Stumbling upon thousand-year-old petroglyphs is always a nice surprise. However, the ones located near the dry lake bed of Winnemucca Lake are special. They are considered the oldest confirmed rock carvings in North America, dating back to possibly the first peopling of the New World.

First of all, Winnemucca Lake is located in northwest Nevada and sits right next to Pyramid Lake. Although it is nothing more but a dry lake bed today, it actually held a shallow level of water up until the 1930s.

The lake bed became dried up when a dam and road were built that restricted water flow, eventually blocking it completely. At one time, the lake was designated a National Wildlife Refuge. However, its designation was revoked due to lack of water.

Currently, Winnemucca Lake's most notable feature is the colleciton of several petroglyphs that are believed to be between 14,800 and 10,500 years old. This makes them the oldest known petroglyphs in all of North America.

Seeing these ancient petroglyphs is a fascinating experience in itself. The art ranges from the appearance of simple lines and swirls to fully-fledged trees, flowers, and leaves. Some of them are as small as 8-inches and others are giant at around 3-feet.

Researchers were able to figure out how old the petroglyphs are by performing radiocarbon testing on the layers of carbonate build-up which formed on the boulders as the lake's level rose and dropped. We still don't know exactly how they were made, but it's generally believed that the artists used hard volcanic rock to chip away at the boulder's soft surface.

how they were made, but it's generally believed that the artists used hard volcanic rock to chip away at the boulder's soft surface.

The fact that the age of these petroglyphs wasn't known until 2013 just goes to show that Nevada is full of surprises. Who knows what other ancient treasures are out there just waiting to be discovered?

Did you realize the oldest rock art in America was right here in Northern Nevada? It’s hard to believe this site is not more well-known!

Courtesy of OnlyInYourState

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