Kumeyaay Pictographs at Indian Hill

Rock Art Gallery

Pictograph photographs at Blue Sun Shelter, Indian Hill, Anza Borrego, California.  Click on any photo to enlarge.

The Indian Hill pictograph site is located in the Jacumba Mountains, nine miles West of Ocotillo, California. Indian Hill itself is a large rock pile of decomposing granite boulders that lends itself to numerous small caves and rock shelters. Archaeological evidence indicates this area has been occupied by indigenous people for at least 6000 years, most recently by the Kumeyaay and Northern Dieguino.

The two most noted features of Indian Hill are the rock shelter, located under the large boulder in the center of the top right photograph below, and the pictograph cave shown in the top left photograph. The rock shelter contains a dozen or so bedrock mortars indicating exploitation of local desert plants and was excavated in the 1950's, but the written excavation report is 'elusive'.

The pictograph cave contains two different styles of pictographs, most likely all post AD 1500, indicating use of the cave by two different culture groups. The cave is about 6 feet deep from the drip line and has a fairly low ceiling, not well suited for habitation, and was probably used by shaman for ceremonial and personal purposes.    Next 10 photos.

indian hill rock art indian hill pictographs
Indian Hill boulders. The rock shelter is under the large boulder in the center. The pictograph cave faces the south east and is an easy climb up from the ground level.
pictograph panel blue sun pictograph
Most of the pictographs are protected from the elements by virtue of being on the upper portion of the back wall, away from exposure to the sun and rain. Also known as 'Blue Sun Cave', a name derived from the blue sun burst in the upper left.
damaged rock art la rumerosa style pictographs
These images have been damaged by recent visitors starting fires in the shelter.  The pictographs inside the shelter are painted in the La Rumerosa Style.
kumeyaay rock art anza borrego rock art
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Some of the fine line concentric circles on the center and ends of this cross are now hard to discern. The original detail was probable painted with a narrow yucca or human hair brush.
anthropomorph pictograph san luis rey style
Simple stick figure anthropomorph. These pictographs painted in a less protected part of the rock shelter have suffered from exposure to the elements. They are painted in a manner suggestive of the San Luis Rey Style.


La Rumerosa Style  ... characterized by polychrome rectangular and curvilinear designs in red, black, yellow, and white. Sunbursts, divided circles and amorphic shapes, bold lines, and simple 'stickman' anthropomorphs are common; two or more colors are often used in one element. This style is associated with the Kumeyaay people post AD 1500, occurs on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and is named by Ken Hedges for the extensive La Rumorosa Pictograph Site in Baja, Mexico.

San Luis Rey Style  ... characterized by rectangular geometric designs in red which include diamonds, diamond chains, zigzags, chevrons, straight lines and dot patterns; often in vertical series; frequently bordered at top and/or bottom; rare representational and curvilinear elements (True, 1954). Associated with late prehistoric and historic Luiseno people. Type site is on the San Luis Rey River, San Diego County, California. 

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