Lagomarsino Canyon Petroglyph Site

The Lagomarsino Canyon Petroglyph Site is one of only eight rock art sites in Nevada to be honored on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the largest identified rock art site in the state, containing 2,229 rock art panels distributed along a quarter of a mile stretch of a fine-grained basalt cliff and associated talus. From 2003-2008 NRAF worked with Storey County, the Nevada SHPO, NRCS, the Nevada State Museum and other agenices to complete a full archaeological inventory of the site.

The Lagomarsino Canyon site was described by Julian Steward (1929) who recorded the site as “208 Pt Virginia City, Nevada” based on a 1904 report from a local Reno resident. The site was partially recorded in the 1950s by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley (Baumhoff et al. 1958). This archaeological inventory estimated that Lagomarsino comprised 600 rock art panels, of which 439 were photographed and analyzed (Heizer and Baumhoff 1962:294-303).

Documenting Lagomarsino Canyon

In 2003, the late Alanah Woody started fieldwork at Lagomarsino Canyon with the goal of producing a complete archaeological inventory of the site. The data collected was to serve the needs of culture resource management, public interpretation, and research. Alanah Woody recognized that completing an exhaustive inventory of such a large site would require an organization that could harness public support from across the state as well as the assistance of land managing agencies. The results of program of detailed archaeological documentation at Lagomarsino Canyon are described in this linked e-book.


This project was planned and developed by Dr. Alanah Woody, who led fieldwork and data management until her death in July 2007. Without her vision and commitment to the long-term protection of Lagomarsino Canyon and all Nevada rock art, this project would not have been possible.

This project was funded in part by grants provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and US Forest Service; the Dept of the Interior administered through the Nevada SHPO; and Patagonia.

Other financial support was provided by the generous donations of panel program sponsors: Sharon P. Chase, Catherine S. Fowler, Don D. Fowler, Douglas Fowler, Don Frazier, John Gianotti, Charles Greene, Thomas and Peggy Hall, Sam and Kathleen Hayes, Bill Jackson and Joanne Jackson, Dittany Lang, Petit Gilwee, Elizabeth Sweeney, Keegan Turner, Tavis Turner, and David and Patricia Vaughn. Additional support was provided by Dan Smercina and Western Village Inn-Casino. Our photography needs were serviced through the generous support of Ed Laine Photography and Jim and Laura Ouimet.

We thank our partners for their support and technical assistance: Storey County, the Nevada State Museum, usda, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Nevada Department of Transportation (Geodesy and Location Divisions).
Cheryln Bennett, Ralph Bennett, Joan Johnson, and Dianne Jennings provided invaluable support with the management of this project. Lastly, we thank all the volunteers who contributed to this project—their efforts are greatly appreciated.

References Cited

Baumhoff, Martin A., Robert F. Heizer and Albert B. Elsasser

1958 The Lagomarsino Petroglyph Group (Site 26-St-1) near Virginia City, Nevada. Reports of the University of California Archaeological Survey, No. 43, Berkeley.

Heizer, Robert F. and Martin A. Baumhoff

1962 Prehistoric Rock Art of Nevada and Eastern California. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Steward, Julian H.

1929 Petroglyphs of California and Adjoining States. Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 47-238. University of California, Berkeley.