“Bloody Hands” Pictographs (Joshua Tree National Park) {Reboot}

Located in the Wonderland of Rocks, not far from the heavily trafficked Barker Dam, I found this small panel of pictographs. I was en route to Alister’s Cave, a much larger site situated in the same short canyon, located just several hundred feet from one another.

I found this site particularity intriguing because of the vibrant hand prints, painted in red ocher (hence the name, “Bloody Hands”).  It doesn’t end there however, below the still vibrant red pictographs, there is an older layer of orange designs.  The orange pictographs can be difficult to make out in person, but with some manipulation of a captured image, those orange designs can be forced out to an extent. If you look closely at the images that I have provided, you may be able to make out two digital anthropomorphic figures, along with a couple of chains of circles, among other things.

To the left of the pictographs, there is single petroglyph of a digital anthropomorphic figure. Due to smoke damage in the shelter, the figure appears gray in color.





About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.