Conserving and Interpreting a Nationally Significant Rock Art Site in Wyoming

Equinox is teaming with Stratum Unlimited, Inc. to develop an interpretive plan for Castle Gardens, a prehistoric rock art site in Wyoming.  Kimberly Williams, from our office, flew out to meet with the Jannie Loubser of Stratum and the client team that included several staff from the Bureau of Land Management.


Castle Gardens, a remote site in the high plains of central Wyoming, is a prehistoric rock art site that is significant nationally for several reasons:

A spiritual center and neutral grounds for multiple tribes.  This site was the convergence of several ancient tribal lands, including ancestors of the Crow, Arapahoe and others.  The site was a neutral place where all came to seek guidance from vision quests; important spiritual rights-of-passage that occurred in pivotal moments of an individual. Often individuals would return throughout their life-times to seek spiritual guidance and return to their rock art, which they believe held power for them

– A spiritual center that holds strong spiritual energy to current day tribes and their ancestors.  Those seeking a vision quest would not eat or drink water for days, causing a trance like state that would allow for visions that they believed would provide needed guidance. Rock art was created as a result of the vision. Natives believed spirits, rather than the individual, were responsible for the drawings.  These drawings generally represented symbols related to the vision, and we’re often “guardians” or symbols of power, whether in animal or other form.  Shamans were most often involved in the creation of the art in Castle Gardens and current day tribes consider Castle Gardens with the much reverence.

Image courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management
Image courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management

-Unusual and beautiful rock art.  Castle Gardens is unique for rock art ‘shields’ which are circular shapes that contain symbols, animals, and human forms. This art is unique because of the colored pigments that were used to paint the shields. These pigments can still be seen faintly on some of the shields.

Equinox will be responsible for developing storyboard concepts for interpretive signage that will explain the cultural, spiritual, geological, natural resource, and historical significance of the site.

Stay tuned for more information about work with Stratum at the Castle Gardens site.

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