Tutuveni Petroglyph Site
The Tutuveni Petroglyph site boasts more than 5,000 Hopi clan symbols that were inscribed during the ceremonial pilgrimage to Ongtupqa, or the Grand Canyon, which is for many Hopi the point of their people’s emergence into the world. At this stopping point of the pilgrimage, Hopi carved symbols that relate to known historic and extinct Hopi tribal groups. The glyphs date from 1200 A.D. to the 1950s and cover large sandstone blocks and boulders. The site contains over 150 boulders spread over an area of approximately 6,000 square meters along the slope at the base of the Echo Cliffs. The majority of the glyphs are found on eight boulders, and one stone known as boulder 48 contains 60% of the total symbols at the site. It is a ritual for Hopi youths to visit the site and its petroglyphs as part of their education about their ancestors, tribal traditions, and the history of the Hopi nation. The glyphs also play an important role in the modern scholarship of Hopi language, iconography, and history.
How We Helped
Vandalism over the past 20 years has already significantly damaged the petroglyphs at Tutuveni, and the severity of the defacement has escalated in recent years. In order to protect the petroglyphs from irreparable damage, WMF documented and protected the site in 2010. The project at Tutuveni includes laser-scanning, hands-on training in digital documentation, and the installment of a protective fence and security surveillance cameras. CyArk, Hopi Land Information Systems, Petrified Forest National Park, and Redlands University, collaborated with WMF on this project. The high definition laser-scanning survey focused predominately on the 8 boulders with the vast majority of the glyphs. CyArk and members from the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office took scans of the site’s symbols and photographed the landscape to capture the context of the entire boulder field. To restrict vehicular access and deter trespassers, a fence was installed. A sign has also been installed citing the American Antiquities Act of June 8, 1906 and a warning that the area is under 24 hour surveillance and access is allowed only with written permission from the Hopi and Navajo tribes. In December 2011 CyArk launched a feature on their website showcasing the digital scans made of the site.
Why It Matters
The Tutuveni Petroglyph Site represents a vital and fragile cultural heritage monument that allows Hopi youth to celebrate their ancestral heritage and have provided valuable information to scholars on the evolution of the Hopi. WMF’s project has digitally preserved the current state of the petroglyphs to bring awareness to the importance of the site and encourage continuing respect for this sacred place.