Saturday, August 27, 2016


De Beque Canyon, Mesa County, CO.
Photograph Peter Faris, Aug. 1981.

I return to the subject of vandalism of rock art sites; the shameful practice of adding initials, words, names, dates, or anything else to the rock art that is there, or altering, removing, or otherwise defacing it. Recently, while reflecting on vandalism, I found myself wondering about the most vandalized/defaced rock art site.

DeBeque Canyon rock art site, Mesa County,
CO. Photograph Paul and Joy Foster.

The question of the most vandalized/defaced rock art site I can remember seeing is easy - it is found in DeBeque Canyon, along the Colorado River in Mesa county, Colorado.

"In the spring of 1884, Dr. W.A.E. DeBeque and three close companions explored the hills  surrounding what is now the Town of DeBeque. They were searching for a suitable place to form a ranch. Others followed them quickly, and by 1890 there were 31 ranches in the area." (

The town continued to exist as a ranching center and an annual market for wild horses rounded up on the adjacent Roan Plateau. As you can see from the illustrations a major local entertainment seems to have been vandalizing this panel of Uncompahgre Style rock art. If you take the time to look at it closely you can make out the beautifully detailed quadrupeds they left.

So, this is my candidate for the most vandalized/defaced rock art site, what is yours? Send it to


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