Events Calendar

Museum Closed July 3rd and 4th

The University of Colorado Museum of Natural History will be CLOSED for the Independence Day Holiday on Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4.


Dating North America's Oldest Petroglyphs

General Information

Event Category:

Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Paleontology Hall

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.

Larry Benson, Adjunct Curator of Anthropology, University of Colorado Museum of Natural History