Rock art has been a part of human expression for over 30,000 years, yet more ancient rock art is lost every day. We are committed to doing what we can to help save what is left of this precious resource. Our members have been working together for over fifteen years, and have documented several hundred sites in the Mojave Desert, the American Southwest and the Great Basin.

Founded in 2006, Western Rock Art Research is a small non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the preservation, documentation, and research of Indigenous and early historic rock art in the American west and throughout the world. For more information please read our Mission Statement below.

Mission Statement

The purpose of Western Rock Art Research is to promote and facilitate the preservation and scientific research of prehistoric and historic rock art heritage resources on private and public lands throughout the world, focusing on the western United States. This mission is accomplished by: initiating an active inventory program to identify endangered, at risk resources followed by thorough resource documentation to current standards, significance evaluation, and resource management planning to meet the needs of private, state and federal land managers; establishing and maintaining a permanent digital and electronic archival record to be shared with appropriate land managers and recognized repositories or academic institutions; consulting with appropriate Native American and Aboriginal groups to incorporate their perspectives and concerns; engaging the services of specialists and other professionals as deemed necessary; and cooperatively working with fellow researchers, organizations, and institutions to promote the distribution of rock art research and encourage and support public education to broaden our common knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of rock art.

Increased development and recreational use has led to a similar increase in the amount of damage occurring to cultural resources on both public and private lands. Prehistoric sites that include panels of painted or carved rock art are especially vulnerable, and occur throughout the American west, yet each one is unique. It is estimated that less than 20% of the known rock art in California has been documented to current standards. Secondary purposes of the organization include consulting and cooperating with other concerned groups (Native Americans, researchers, land owners, avocational groups, etc.), and providing public education about current practices in rock art research and management.

Funding is accomplished through partnership agreements with public land management agencies and private landowners, as well as private and business tax-free donations. Western Rock Art Research assumes more than 50% of the cost of any project (labor, expenses, etc.). Lectures or presentations for public education are provided for a nominal fee (expenses, etc.). Offers of donations from corporations, foundations, or private individuals for the support of any project are accepted.


Western Rock Art Research adheres to the Codes of Ethics for both the Society for American Archaeology and the American Rock Art Research Association.

Permits and Memberships

WRAR currently have permits in California and Nevada, and are working to obtain more permits and memberships in other western states.