Slippery Rock Petroglyphs (Lake Isabella, CA / Kern River)

Most rock art in the Kern River Valley is believed to have come from the Tubatulabal and Kawaiisu tribes who have lived in this valley for well over 1,000 years. The petroglyphs represented here are believed by archeologist to be older than other rock art in the area. This thought is based on the atlatl designs, which would predate both the Tubatulabal and Kawaiisu. The atlatl was a spear like weapon that was used for hunting before the introduction of the traditional bow and arrow.

More than likely this area was used as a fishing location, and the atlatl designs, may be a form of “hunting magic”. It is widely believed by archaeologist that petroglyph designs depicting weapons or animals were created before a great hunt (or in this case a “great fish”) to bring a sort of “good luck”. As with any rock art these modern theories are only that, theories. The true meaning behind any design has been lost over many years.  Enjoy this site and any other for what it is, and come up with your own conclusions.

 

Close up of the atlatl designs on the boulder pictured above.

Close up of the atlatl designs on the boulder pictured above.

 

This petroglyph is located inside one of the hundreds of natural water-worn scour holes.

This petroglyph is located inside one of the hundreds of natural water-worn scour holes.

 

If you look closely you can see lines of small dots that had been chipped into this rock.

If you look closely you can see lines of small dots that had been chipped into this rock.

 

 

Interested in visiting this site?

GUIDE SERVICE OPTION: Jim’s Guide Service may be the right choice for you. Jim can provide you with a single day to multiday rock art tours throughout the Mojave Desert.  Visit the guide website for more details.

BOOK OPTION: The Slippery Rock Petroglyph Site is featured in Secret Places in the Mojave Desert Vol. III. Detailed maps, and GPS coordinates are included.  Order your copy now.

 

 

 

 

 

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.