Saturday, May 6, 2017


Sego Canyon, Utah. Panel with
possible vandalism.

On June 24, 2016, I posted a column titled Cumulative Vandalism - The Importance of Rock Art Recording, in which I presented a photograph of a Ute pictograph from Sego Canyon, in Grand County, Utah. I had come across this picture online and I noticed a difference in the photo from what I remembered of the actual site.

Sego Canyon, Utah. Close-up of
panel with possible vandalism.

In the photograph that I found online the Ute shield had been embellished with a ring of white hand prints around it that were not in my earlier photographs of the panel. I stated in that posting that this either consisted of a serious case of vandalism, or an example of a computer modified (Photoshopped) photograph. My point in that column was to point out the importance of having a comparative record to check against in such a case of possible vandalism.

Ute Shield panel, Sego Canyon,
Grand County, Utah. Photo:
Peter Faris, October 9, 2016.

Close-up of Ute Shield, Sego
Canyon, Grand County, Utah.
Photo: Peter Faris, October 9, 2016.

On October 8, 2016, I was able to visit the Sego Canyon site again and was relieved to confirm that the ring of hand prints was indeed a computer alteration. The actual panel did not show the white painted hand prints that were in the computer picture. The real rock art has been subjected to a certain amount of vandalism by the addition of scratched names, but the only thing damaged by the circle of white hand prints is the computer record. This will cause future students of rock art confusion during online research, but the actual art is still safe. Still, the alteration of the image is vandalism of a sort. This puts another version of it out into the world, sort of like President Trump's "alternate facts" as voiced by Kellyanne Conway. Any future analysis of this art must cope with knowledge of this situation - a kind of intellectual or aesthetic vandalism.

NOTE: One possibility that I had to consider is that the hand prints might actually be there, but be too faint to see or show up in photographs taken from the viewing area. The pictures showing the circle of white hand prints around the Ute shield could possibly be the result of d-stretch photo enhancement. An Internet search proved that to not be the case as I found a 2014 image of the same panel that was enhanced through d-stretch by Kerk Phillips (Internet address below) that does not have the hand prints. This leaves us with Photoshopping as the likely source of the hand prints.


Faris, Peter,
2016    Cumulative Vandalism - The Importance of Rock Art Recording, June 24, 2016,

Phillips, Kerk
2014     Sego Canyon Rock Art,

No comments:

Post a Comment