Summary: The Birthing Panel or Birthing Rock petroglyph site is a large boulder covered on all sides by Native American rock art. The petroglyphs span three different periods spanning 2,000 years.

The Birthing Panel (or Birthing Rock) petroglyph site is a large boulder covered with Native American rock art. The rock art is thought to cover three different periods spanning almost 2,000 years: Anasazi (AD 1 to AD 1275), Fremont (AD 450 to AD 1250) and Ute (AD 1200’s to AD 1880). The significant rock art site has been nominated for the National Historic Register.

The rock is named after one petroglyph that has been interpreted as portraying a a woman giving birth (a breech birth, as the feet have been delivered first).

The birthing woman is surrounded by many other motifs, including a large figure of a man with a smaller man superimposed on his neck.

Near the base of the boulder below the woman are two centipedes.

To the right of the birthing woman are more human figures, and a number of foot prints.

A small figure on the same side of the boulder (at the very right-hand side of the photo below) looks a human figure riding a broomstick, and has been described by as “a figure with a knapsack on its back similar to the normal presentation of the famous kokopelli figure. (Many people mistakenly think the kokopelli figure is hunchbacked but when images are found of him that show more detail they depict he is carrying a backpack.)

The north side of the Birthing Rock has petroglyphs of men and a snake in the Abajo-La Sal style which is unique to the Canyonlands area. Dating back to the Basketmaker II period (AD 50 to 500), it has attributes frmo both the San Juan Basketmaker style and Barrier Canyon style. Typical of figures in this style are broad-shouldered anthropomorphs, who have short arms that extend straight out from the shoulders (which may also be drawn as arcs). Animal tracks and linear geometric forms are also common to this style.

Getting to Birthing Panel petrogyphs

The Birthing Panel site is located about six miles (9.6km) west of Moab, Utah along Kane Creek Boulevard (which is off Highway 191). There’s parking for a couple of cars near the site, which is just below the road. It’s a spectacular drive to the site, as Kane Creek Boulevard follows the Colorado River along the base of some very tall cliffs.

More information

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