National Register of Historic Places

Torrey Lake Petroglyph District

Near Dubois

Date Added to Register

Monday, October 04, 1993

Smithsonian Number


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The Torrey Lake Petroglyph District is an extensive, discontinuous grouping of predominantly pecked rock art extending approximately 5.2 km (3.2 mi.) along the Torrey Creek Drainage. About 175 petroglyphs, 11 lithic scatters, and a probable prehistoric drive line/sheep trap have been identified within the district. Three panels within a radius of about 100 meters and containing about 35 individual figures form the largest grouping of petroglyphs. With few exceptions the Torrey Lake petroglyphs are representative of the ''Interior Line Style'' of pecked petroglyphs, consisting of surrealistic anthropomorphs and abstract designs. The best known examples of this distinctive rock art style are found about 15 km (9 mi.) to the east at the Dinwoody type site. The rock art is locally referred to as the Dinwoody style. Largely due to the surrealistic nature of much of the Dinwoody style rock art, it has been speculated that they are the product of shamanistic activity. Dinwoody style petroglyphs are found in a relatively restricted geographic area comprising the western Wind River Basin and southwestern Big Horn Basin of north-central Wyoming. The chronology and cultural association(s) of the Dinwoody style are poorly understood at present, with estimated dates ranging from the Protohistoric period to the Early Plains Archaic. Recent advances in absolute dating methods for petroglyphs promise to clarify the chronology and perhaps suggest cultural affiliation(s) for these and other petroglyph styles.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources