Dating the late 1000s to the mid-1200s CE, petroglyphs of sandal images are among others that distinguish ancient Pueblo rock art in the San Juan and Little Colorado River drainages on the Colorado Plateau from Ancestral Pueblo rock art elsewhere across the Southwest. The sandal “track” also has counterparts as effigies in stone and wood often found in ceremonial contexts in Pueblo sites. These representations reflect the sandal styles of the times, both plain in contour and the jog-toed variety, the latter characterized by a projection where the little toe is positioned. These representations are both plain and patterned, as are their material sandal counterparts. Their significance as symbolic icons is their dominant aspect, and a ritual meaning is implicit. As a component of a symbol system that was radically altered after 1300 CE, however, there is no ethnographic information that provides clues as to the sandal icon’s meaning. While there is no significant pattern of its associations with other symbolic content in the petroglyph panels, in some western San Juan sites cases a relationship to the hunt can be inferred. It is suggested that the track itself could refer to a deity, a mythological hero, or the carver ’s social identity. In conclusion, however, no clear meaning of the images themselves is forthcoming, and further research beckons.
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