Detail of the petroglyph site
On the western side of the Winnemucca Lake Basin in northwest Nevada is a carbonate tufa mound, which contains the oldest petroglyphs (rock art) found in North America. Using various methods, including radiocarbon dating, Dr. Benson and his colleagues have determined these petroglyphs were carved sometime between 14,800 and 10,200 years ago. According to the archaeological record, Native Americans inhabited this area from 14,800 to 13,200 years ago, and also from between 11,300 and 10,500 years ago, and either group is a candidate for having carved the petroglyphs. In any case, this mound of volcanic rock represents a monumental find which adds to an understanding of this era of prehistory. Dr. Benson will be presenting an overview of this find and the research behind the dating of the petroglyphs.