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Petroglyphs on Atlal Rock in the Valley of Fire, Nevada's first designated State Park, fifty miles north of Las Vegas.

These petroglyphs belonged to an Ancient Pueblo People (Anasazi) who were hunters, gatherers, and farmers. They occupied areas surrounding the Valley of Fire between 300 BCE and 1150 CE. By the mystic content of their artwork we may rightly assume the Valley was a place of relilgious ceremony.

Several of the animals shown in this detail of an art-covered wall which appear to be dogs, though the three main animals in a row could as easily be bighorn sheep though the "horns" aren't coiled so could be ears, and the tails are dog tails not stubby little tails of the bighorns. Also, the middle "goat" in this row of three seems to be carrying a stick or a lizard, so it's up for grabs whether this is meant to represent a dog with weirdly long ears (such exaggeration would not be unusual for petroglyph art) rather than horns.

One such hunter is shown here, near the top, and he seems to have a small dog with him. Here again, though, it could be a game animal about to get speared, though it seems awfully small for a deer and "perspective" was not really used by these artists.

But then in the lower part of the picture is a weoponless human figure (with horrizontally extended hair that likely indicates a female figure) and a tiny dog appears to be jumping on her for attention. On her other side another dog is running/leaping over a sun-sign. In petroglyphs and pictographs from various Pueblo peoples sites, this image recurs of a woman with "buns" hair-do and a tiny dog, probably a shamaness who kept dogs for ritual purposes.

In fact we have a pretty decent discription of bighorn hunting activities that explain this woman and her dog dead-on. In 1928, James Tait reproted on the sheep hunting method, as he had it from an Okanagan Indian, which may well apply to this case. The bighorn hunt was communal. "A woman with shamanic powers" was able to approach the sheep without startling them. She'd then whistle for her trained dogs, and they'd herd the sheep toward a group of hidden men who would leap out with bows and arrows.

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