Monday, 31 May 2021 13:14

PROFILE: Prehistoric “Art Gallery” Preserves Human Faces And Grizzly Bear Tracks In Stone

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Saskatchewan is home to more than 850 co-operatives and credit unions operating in 24 sectors of the economy. Here is the first spotlight on one of our province’s diverse, community-focused co-op businesses.

Did you know that Saskatchewan has a prehistoric "art gallery" almost in our own backyard? St. Victor Petroglyphs Provincial Historic Park is home to more than 360 petroglyphs (carvings). While the site is owned by Saskatchewan Parks, a co-operative is responsible for education, research and awareness building. 

Read on to learn more about the Friends of St. Victor Co-operative Ltd., how you can visit the site, and the best times to view the petroglyphs.

THE CO-OP CONNECTION

St. Victor Petroglyphs Provincial Historic Park is home to over 360 images (known as petroglyphs) pecked and ground into sandstone by ancient Indigenous artists -- making it one of Saskatchewan’s most visible and accessible archaeological sites.

Saskatchewan Parks owns the park and the Friends of St. Victor Co-operative Ltd. is an active non-profit partner that focusses on education, research and awareness.

The co-operative works to protect, preserve and promote a sacred First Nations site within the provincial park.

 

GRIZZLY BEARS AND HUMAN HANDS

The plains grizzly bear tracks are a powerful image found at the site, but there are also cloven-hoofed animal tracks, human faces, human foot prints and human hands. 

Some of the petroglyphs are very rare and unique to this site. Unfortunately, some of the carvings have been lost due to erosion and collapse of the sandstone cliff on which they were carved. Protection of worn or damaged carvings and replicas of endangered petroglyphs are in the co-op’s future plans.

Research indicates that the artists were Siouan speaking peoples who made the carvings between 1800 to 250 years ago. 

 

PLANNING YOUR TRIP

The best times to see the petroglyphs are early morning, late afternoon and sunset because the sun’s slanting rays create shadows, improving their visibility.

The nine-acre site is on the Wood Mountain plateau. The spot includes a viewing platform and washrooms, which are all maintained by the co-op. Income is primarily from guided tours, fundraising and the occasional grant. A gift shop in the co-operative’s interpretive centre in St. Victor also provides revenue.

St. Victor Petroglyph Provincial Park is located 33 km southeast of Assiniboia. It’s open daily all year-round. There is no charge to enter.

Visitors are advised to contact the Friends webpage about current viewing opportunities and visitor centre hours.

Visit their website or Facebook page to learn more. 

 

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 The Friends of St. Victor Petroglyphs Co-operative works to protect, preserve and promote a sacred First Nations site within a provincial park.

 

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Last modified on Monday, 31 May 2021 20:21