Baja cave paintings


I got an email from my brother, Barry Rosof, about some cave paintings he hiked to in Baja. He’s a guy who knows how to retire in style. Here’s his report.

Over New Years I took a trip into the San Francisco de la Sierra, a mountain range in central Baja. …Prehistoric paintings are found all over Baja and at least as far north as San Diego county. The paintings in central Baja are particularly noteworthy for their larger than life size, number per site and complexity. Figures are painted over figures, for example. They are tentatively dated to be 7,500 years old.

cave paintings, Baja

The particular caves I visited are in rather rough country. A plateau of over 3500 feet is cut by narrow steep sided canyons that drop down over 2,000 feet from the rim. The caves are situated a few hundred feet above the canyon bottom.

a cave in the cliffs

The existence of prehistoric cave paintings was known to natives, missionaries, local ranchers, and others.  Erle Stanley Gardner was guided to a few of the sites in the early 1960’s. His efforts resulted in greater awareness of the art culminating in publication of pictures in Life. It was not until the 1970’s, however, that Harry Crosby undertook the systematic exploration of the area, placing many more sites on the map.

My understanding is that new sites are still being discovered today. This is not surprising given the roughness of the terrain and the almost complete absence of humans.


baja, barry rosof, cave paintings, caves



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