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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rock Art of the Cuyamacas


Like their native American counterparts, Euro-American petroglyphs occur throughout Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Most of them appear to be recent, being of the "Kilroy Was Here" variety. One, however, appears to be historically significant, and has been recorded as site SDI-9086H. The Lookout site, SDI-9086H, is located atop Cuyamaca Peak. It is the location of the Cuyamaca Lookout Tower, now out of service. From the site, one is afforded a commanding view of the surrounding countryside, much of which is included within the Cleveland National Forest. Pecked into a granite boulder adjacent to the tower is a petroglyph in the shape of the United States Forest Service emblem, complete with the names of all the lookout's smoke watchers between the years 1917 and 1932. Probably produced sometime shortly after 1932, this petroglyph serves to document the humanistic nature of rock art. Like his Kumeyaay counterparts, a Forest Service employee found here the inspiration and necessity to record on rock the presence of his people and, like the Kumeyaay, that presence has been outlived by the petroglyph.

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