The canyon walls are sliced from De Chelly sandstone. Formed during the late Permian Period, about 200 million years ago, the stone still reflects the ancient sand dunes that created them.
The walls also are a canvas for petroglyphs, images and symbols chipped into the stone. Petroglyphs are difficult to date. Both the Anasazi and Dineh (Navajo) practiced this art. These images can commemorate an event, mark a trail, or hold deep spiritual or religious significance in rites or initiations. This section of the canyon wall near Antelope House Ruin has petroglyphs scattered over its surface. Click on the image for a larger view.