Those interested in the first evidence of art usually focus on sites like Lascaux in France or Altamira in Spain, but for Americans it turns out there is a site in California’s China Lake, near Death Valley, that rivals those or any other rock art locations around the world. David Page managed to visit despite the U.S. Navy declaring the area off limits, for the New York Times:
Ridgecrest, Calif. — We were inside Restricted Area R-505 of the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, rolling in a minivan across the vast salt pan of an extinct Pleistocene lake on our way to see a renowned collection of ancient rock art. On the console between the seats was a long-range two-way radio. It was there so that our escort, a civilian Navy public affairs officer named Peggy Shoaf, could keep abreast of where and when any bombs would be dropped — or launched, or whatever — so that we wouldn’t be there when it happened.