Saturday, October 31, 2015


Station #16, Nine-Mile Canyon, UT.
Photograph Peter Faris, 1993.

Close-up of panel at Station
#16, Nine-Mile Canyon, UT.
Photograph Peter Faris, 1993.

In this column I am presenting another egregious mistake from the book Odyssey of the Pueblo Indians by William Eaton. On page 145 he presents a petroglyph panel that he calls a "Pueblo (Fremont) Star Chart". That is his identification of the well-known petroglyph panel from Station 16, in Nine-Mile Canyon, Utah.

Bighorn sheep from Station #16,
Nine-Mile Canyon, UT.
Photograph Peter Faris, 1993.

One identification that I take exception to is what he calls the two-headed mountain sheep. Upon careful examination of the petroglyph Eaton's second head at the back of the animal is actually a conglomeration composed of its tail and a couple of curved lines descending from an unknown mark that has been destroyed by the impact of a large caliber bullet. The remains of this mark can be seen circling around to the upper right of the bullet crater.

Anthropomorph on left of panel,
Station #16, Nine-Mile Canyon, UT.
Photograph Peter Faris, 1993.

On the left of this panel is a figure that Eaton calls an "anthropomorph with a six-ball bola weapon." Now this is a very interesting figure and does, in fact, remind one of a figure holding a bola. This figure along with numbers of carefully rounded stone balls found at Fremont sites have prompted this same identification by many other rock art researchers. It is an interesting speculation, but one that has not been proven. For some reason, and absolutely without any evidence at all Eaton has claimed that "the three balls may possibly refer to the three stars now called Orion's Belt." Which three balls Mr. Eaton? As you pointed out there are six.

Eaton's analysis of panel (p. 39), 
Station #16, Nine-Mile Canyon, UT.

Then Eaton went on to identify the constellations Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, and Serpens, as well as a few other stars including Polaris in additional marks on the cliff face. Unfortunately, the majority of the stars that Eaton identifies in this panel are, in reality, bullet holes put there by Anglos much later than the petroglyphs. In many places, we find that petroglyphs and pictographs provided seemingly irresistible targets to gun-toting vandals. These unfortunate marks have never had anything to do with Fremont or Pueblo Native American groups. Additionally, to make the constellation Serpens out of those bullet holes Eaton had to flip the constellation entirely as can be seen in the star chart below.

Star chart of the summer sky showing
Serpens to the left of center. From
Howard, The Telescope Handbook
and Star Atlas, 1967, p. 39.

This so-called "Pueblo (Fremont) Star Chart" is just another mistaken example of someone who feels compelled to try to force the facts to fit a theory that they bear no relation to in the real world. While I applaud Mr. Eaton's enthusiasm, I do have to deplore his methods and results.


Eaton, William M.
1999    Odyssey of the Pueblo Indians, Turner Publishing Co., Paducah, KY.

Howard, Neale E.
1967    The Telescope Handbook and Star Atlas, Thomas Y. Crowell Co., New York. 

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