Ancient petroglyphs found by drone in southern Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A video recently posted on YouTube claims "Drone discovers ancient petroglyphs in Utah."

The video was made by Bill Clary of Colorado who owns 'Got Aerials,' a business which sells drones. His website shows several samples of video taken by drones, many in spectacular outdoor settings.

Clary claims the petroglyphs were filmed on a high canyon wall in Southern Utah, but declined to say exactly where, telling FOX 13 he is making an effort to contact the property owners.

Jerry Spangler who heads the Colorado Plateau Archeological Alliance ( reviewed the video for FOX 13.

"What you showed me is what we call San Juan basketmaker style. Broad shoulders, pecked in outline, skinny legs. It's a very classic style made by the basketmaker people from about 500 B.C. through around 8600," Spangler said.

Spangler said it is possible that the petroglyphs seen in the video have gone unnoticed for centuries, perhaps longer.

He added there are likely thousands of archeological sites in Utah yet to be discovered -- there are hundreds of known sites, which have not yet been fully documented.

"Some of these sites are so incredibly difficult to get to, just for safety reasons we can’t get to them," Spangler said.

Spangler believes drones could become an invaluable research tool, but also thinks it may be hard for organizations like the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and organizations like his own to keep up with the discoveries, which people like Clary will likely make.

Spangler said looting and vandalism at archeological sites has long been a problem, and speculates that the sharing of information online will accelerate such behaviors. He hopes Clary and others will closely guard information about locations and access, noting that each discovery is unique, and future finds could unlock clues to human history

"The more remote that sight is, the more likely it is to be intact," Spangler said.

It is illegal to tamper with, vandalize, or remove anything from an archeological site on public property.

While the archeologist interviewed for our story did not immediately recognize the petroglyph panel, one of our viewers did. Jonathan Bailey is an avid hiker and photographer who says he and others have visited the petroglyph panel many times and provided photos as well. He says his photos were taken long before the panel was captured on video by a drone, dispelling the idea that the petroglyphs are a new discovery. Bailey maintains a website of his photos and adventures, which is well worth checking out.



  • anon

    That should be AD 600, not 8600. ” It’s a very classic style made by the basketmaker people from about 500 B.C. through around 8600,” Spangler said.”

  • Bill Clary

    Im the one who took the video and the photos from Mr Bailey dont seem to be from the same site, I’m confused

    ALSO, While exploring some petroglyphs sites I decided to take the drone up some rock faces. Obviously some of these petroglyphs cant bee seen from the ground and repelling is not an option and illegal…

    Im simply saying that could I of possibly discovered some never before seen petroglyphs.

    For example, beyond the main petroglyphs I count over 80 and the ones to the right of the main image with the seemingly storyline seems very interesting and something I cant find anywhere!

    your welcome!

  • Bill Clary

    I never said I discovered a bran new site, just that my drone can see petroglyphs that have not been seen before. Which is true and if look close you will see.

    I didn’t title the news story but I did title my youtube video and in the description you will see its clearly explained.

    I guess you jumping all over this and making me look like a bad guy is a great way for you to get some free press, right?

    Once again your welcome!

  • Aaron

    I can take you directly to this very panel. I wont give away the location either but I can tell you its on BLM, near a river and has definitely been recorded. Keep your eyes out for a short film named Raising the Mammoth by Larry Ruiz and you I’ll see some rock art from the same spot. Nice try though!

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