The Hopi Tribe
Since time immemorial, the Hopi people have lived in Hopituskwa (Hopi land) and have maintained their sacred covenant to live as peaceful and humble farmers, respectful of the land and its resources. The Hopi still occupy their ancestral villages, some of which were founded up to 900 years ago making them the oldest continuously occupied places in North America. Hopi ancestors once lived across much of the Western United States including Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, California, and Mexico.
Hopi Clan Symbols
Hopi clans are made up of individuals who trace their ancestry through their mother’s line. Each Hopi clan has a totemic affiliation with an object or aspect of nature that they acquired during their migrations. For example, the migration story tells that the Bear Clan was the first clan to come across a bear carcass.
Respecting Our Past
The Tutuveni Petroglyph Site lies along a 100-mile foot trail between the Hopi Mesas and Ongtuvqa, the Grand Canyon. Meaning Newspaper Rock in Hopi, Tutuveni contains 5,000 petroglyphs of Hopi clan symbols and is the largest known collection of clan symbols in the American Southwest. Archaeological sites like Tutuveni are an irreplaceable resource, and are incredibly important to protect. When a site like Tutuveni is damaged, we lose a piece of our past.
The majority of the petroglyphs at Tutuveni are found on eight boulders. Boulder 48, the largest boulder at Tutuveni, contains nearly 60% of the total symbols found at the site. By studying the repatination, or the accumulation of patina (also known as desert varnish) since the scraping or pecking of the petroglyphs, archaeologists have determined that Boulder 48 contains the oldest petroglyphs at Tutuveni. Boulder 48 also features the largest number of symbols for Hopi clans which are now extinct.
Digital Preservation of Tutuveni
Considering their age and relatively close proximity to well traveled roads, the Tutuveni petroglyphs survived in a remarkably well-preserved condition into the mid-twentieth century. Unfortunately, in the last few decades, the site has suffered from increasing vandalism, including painting, scratching, and chiseling of petroglyphs. The sheer number of petroglyphs present at Tutuveni means that most of the site is still intact, but a recent study indicates that up to 10% of the symbols have been damaged. Analysis of datable graffiti shows that almost 80% of the vandalism at Tutuveni happened recently, between 1980 and 2005. In 2010, Arizona Public Services funded the installation of a fence to surround and protect the site. Fortunately, two relatively complete sets of photographs from the 1930s and 1970s allow most of the site to be digitally reconstructed back to its pristine, early 20th-century condition using the highly accurate 3D model and high-resolution photographs generated by CyArk.