Second Journey into The Maze : Cowboy Cave

Stephanie B

Steph and Blake
Dec 7, 2017
April 23, 2019

To quote Coulam and Schroedl, "Cowboy Cave, a stratified Archaic cave site in southeastern Utah, has been a cornerstone in defining the Archaic occupational chronology of the Colorado plateau." For me, I wasn't so much interested in visiting the site because of how it enabled archaeologists to "connect the dots" time-wise. Rather, I was more intrigued by the split-twig and clay figurines that were found there.

Replicas located in the Hans Flat Ranger Station :



I guess I tend to think that the ancient peoples who lived in the Four Corners were fully occupied with the necessities of daily life...Water, crops, hunting, shelter, health, etc. I don't think of them as having time to spare for non-essential items such as figurines. Whether these pieces were for religious or ceremonial purposes or were purely for play, we don't know for sure. But, for me, it's one more thing that makes me feel as if we're not so far apart. They had time to create and enjoy objects that weren't strictly utilitarian. I can relate to that!

Truth be told, Cowboy Cave (and the adjacent Walters Cave) doesn't offer much to see. The petroglyphs and pictographs are scant and faded and Lorin Wilson left more of a lasting impression than they did.

Faint picto :


Indistinct petro :


One of many of Lorin's signatures :


We did count, though, four grinding stones and one sharpening stone in the caves :


As well as a couple pieces of worked rock :


Other than that it was left up to us to imagine how it was to live in the cave. It certainly offered a pleasant view :


The following day would take us to The Maze proper!

If you're interested to learn more about Cowboy Cave you can check out the links below.
There's apparently a decent dino trackway near cowboy cave, but I haven't had the opportunity to go look for it yet.