The sunken VW-sized boulder stood alone on the prairie, plunked down by a retreating glacier thousands of years ago miles from its birthplace.
A group of red guns is easily identifiable in Pictograph Cave State Park. Identifiable items such as guns and horses help to date rock art.
Rock art sites are often dramatic places, such as Steamboat Butte north of Billings. Some were seen as places that possessed supernatural power and were sites of vision quests and fasting, while others served as trail markers along an oft-used route.
Pictograph Cave State Park, just south of Billings, has rock art dated to 2,000 years old. The park is the perfect place to learn more about rock art and the long history of human use of the area.
This rock art depicts a shield warrior carrying a lance that looks to be tipped with a metal point, based on its design.
Rock art depicts a variety of subjects, from the elk and shield warrior in this petroglyph to simple lines, geometric designs and tales of a warrior’s conquests.
Castle Butte, north of Pompeys Pillar, is a prominent plains outcropping of sandstone with rock walls perfect for ancient artists to decorate.
An ancient pictograph of a face can still be seen on the Rimrocks overlooking Billings. Such sites are scattered across the West, including concentrations in Montana and Wyoming.
RAWLINS, Wyo. — On the windswept northern plains, a group of Ute Indians ventured along with a herd of stolen horses. Their destination in 1880, the Powder Wash area of south central Wyoming, a few miles from the Colorado border, and an isolated encampment that offered shelter, water and a p…
Leather-bound feathers, possibly part of a fan used in a Sioux peyote ceremony, is part of the collection of amateur archaeologist Thomas Lewis.
Jeanne Zeeck, a contract curator for the Bureau of Land Management, looks through a drawer of rock art tracings, part of the collection of amateur archaeologist Thomas Lewis.
Bureau of Land Management contract curator Jeanne Zeeck has cataloged the collection of amateur archaeologist Thomas Lewis that includes items like this beaded purse.
Many specialized books are part of the Lewis collection.
A rattle of unknown origin is part of the Lewis collection.
A carved stone pipe features a buffalo. Lewis spent a lot of time with the Oglala Sioux.
A woven purse is part of the collection of amateur archaeologist Thomas Lewis.
Like a lot of people in Billings during the 1970s, I grew up calling Pictograph Cave the Indian Caves.
Free Saturday evening summer programs at Pictograph Cave State Park resume July 16 and run through October.
Considering that the oldest dated image in Pictograph Cave is 2,149 years old, it is surprising that even 15 of the 103 original ochre and charcoal images of warriors and animals are still visible.
The birds that inhabit and migrate through Pictograph Cave State Park are the focus of a morning program at 9 a.m. Saturday. Ruth Vanderhorst will lead a bird walk in the park.