The exquisite rock art at Gateway is hidden within the stunning landscape of sculptured rock that surrounds the western Colorado town. Two rock art sites at Gateway were selected for digital preservation, conducted between CyArk and local experts in 2014.
The first, informally called the Horseman Site, is a rock overhang that creates a small cave-like feature. On the cliffs that surround the site are many prime examples of rock art. While rock art is often difficult to date, the Horseman Site is suggested to be associated with the Archaic, Fremont, and Ute rock art traditions, dating from over a thousand to a few hundred years, respectively. Among the images and artifacts found at the Horseman Site are paintings of men on horses, projectile points, corn (maize), and stone tools.
The second site that was digitally preserved at Gateway is a large cliff face with rock art on two boulders near the edge of the cliff. While little information is known about this site, the images suggest both Uncompahgre style Archaic and Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) elements.
In digitally preserving both sites, valuable information is both recovered and documented for future research and analysis. The vulnerability of rock art around the world presents an important case for 3D documentation, a process which enables the public and scholars to capture and make accessible these important sites before they are destroyed and shed light on a previously understudied period in time.