Shooting Gallery is located approximately 8 miles west of Alamo.

To learn more about the rock art of the Shooting Gallery area, a brochure is available from the BLM Caliente Field Office

This webpage and the brochure were produced by NRAF with the assistance of a grant from the Lincoln County Archaeological Initiative.

Shooting Gallery

Shooting Gallery, situated on the east flank of Badger Mountain, is an archaeological district rich in prehistoric rock art, hunting sites, and campsites. The intermixing of settlement archaeology and art offers a unique glimpse into the cultural lives of the Native American peoples who visited this rugged landscape for thousands of years prior to the coming of Euro-American settlers.

Over some 200 acres of tuff (volcanic ash) outcrops is a landscape that records the mundane and ceremonial lives of ancient hunter-gatherers. Whether ancient peoples were drawn to Shooting Gallery for economic or cultural reasons, the archaeology found here sheds light on the various social and practical meanings that landscapes have for cultures.

Hunter-gatherers made short-duration visits repeated over millennia to Shooting Gallery, leaving behind rock art and the remains of daily life. Making a living in this area required deep knowledge of the environment’s plant and animal resources. This included knowing when was the best time to relocate campsites to take advantage of seasonally available resources. The Shooting Gallery area was used as far back as 6,000 years ago but was most intensively visited during the past 3,000 years. Small groups of related households visited the area to hunt, gather wild plants, and to make and use rock art. During the winter these family households congregated with other household in large lowland villages.

Two styles of rock art can be found in the Shooting Gallery area. By far the most common is Basin and Range tradition that includes abstract designs, stick-figure anthropomorphs, and a range of animals but most commonly bighorn sheep figures. Shooting Gallery contains one of the largest concentrations of bighorn sheep figures in eastern Nevada with hundreds of portrayals of this animal made singly or in groups on tuff outcrops. This style is of great antiquity and continued to be made by hunter-gatherers into the nineteenth century.

The second rock art style is much rarer and is only found in Lincoln County. This is the Pahranagat Style, a schematic way of depicting people as either decorated rectangles (usually without heads) or as solid-pecked oval or rectangular forms that have hands with long fingers, a short line protruding from the top of the head and eyes indicated by negative space. Only the decorated rectangular type (or pattern-body anthropomorph [PBA] is found in the Shooting Gallery area. This style appears to have been made from around 3,000-800 years ago. Major concentrations of this style are found in Pahranagat Valley and the Mount Irish Archaeological District.

This webpage and the brochure were produced by NRAF with the assistance of a grant from the Lincoln County Archaeological Initiative.