The Procession Panel

Looking across the slickrock towards the Processional Panel
Looking across the slickrock towards the Procession Panel

Recently – last month, before the temperatures in the Utah desert dropped to ridiculous lows – we took a quick trip down to do some exploring on Comb Ridge, in San Juan County, Utah. The Comb is a geological “wonder” extending north to south, over 160 kilometers in southern Utah and northern Arizona.The eastern boundary of the Monument Upwarp, the east-dipping Comb Monocline presents west facing cliffs that, in places, rise over 300 meters high. Late in the day, with the early evening light striking the west face of the ridge, the drive along Comb Wash is spectacular!  This time, however, we weren’t there for the sunset.  My goal for this trip was the Procession Panel, located just below the crest of the ridge, on the east (Butler Wash) side of the Comb.  

Pecked steps or "Mokis"
Pecked steps or “Mokis”
Comb Ridge from the west at sunset
Comb Ridge from the west at sunset

For our trip last month however, it was a perfect fall weekend; clear skies, 70º temps, picture perfect wispy clouds, and none of the ATV/Jeeper crowds that can be swarming around Butler Wash.  The Procession Panel was an easy, cool 30 minute hike.  

Possibly dating to the late Basket Maker periods, ca 450 – 750 A.D, like most prehistoric rock art sites, archaeologists have theories as to what the Procession Panel “means” but no one knows for certain.  It is situated near a possible Anasazi road segment that passed up and over the Comb, via pecked handholds, or steps.  The steps are easily
The "Procession"
The “Procession”

viewed with a decent pair of binoculars from the road in Comb Wash, to the west.  There are other “roadside” features located nearby as well, including a faint, circular stone outline just above the point where the handhold “road” crested the ridge.  It is possible the images; numerous animal figures, as well as a long line of small anthropomorphic figures strung along a line, getting smaller and smaller until they disappear, almost as if walking off into the distance, represent a clan migration.  They could depict a ceremonial gathering.  Since the people that made them left no “written” record, we’ll never know for sure what it means.  What is certain is the beauty, isolation and pristine quality of the site.  It lacks the standard bullet holes and graffiti that usually accompany the other rock art sites in this part of the world.  It is highly worth a visit! 

Lyn standing inside the circular stone feature (faint but there)

Lyn standing inside the circular stone feature (faint but there)


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One Response to The Procession Panel

  1. art says:

    I’m interested in the stone “circle”. I have never noticed it. Do you have a picture? Thanks much!

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