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Swift Current Creek Petroglyph Boulder

Swift Current RM 137, Saskatchewan, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/08/27

Petroglyphs show prominently under oblique lighting, 1988.; Government of Saskatchewan, 1988.
Close-up View under Night Lighting
Petroglyphs are incised on the boulder's flat surface, 2004.; Government of Saskatchewan, Marvin Thomas, 2004.
Close-up View in Daylight
View northwest at petroglyph boulder in its valley setting, 2004.; Government of Saskatchewan, Marvin Thomas, 2004.
Petroglyph Boulder - Distance View

Other Name(s)

Swift Current Creek Petroglyph Boulder
Swift Current Petroglyph
Archaeological Site EbNw-15

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/08/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Swift Current Creek Petroglyph Boulder is a Provincial Heritage Property located on the upper slope of the Swift Current Creek valley east of the City of Swift Current. The 16 hectare site features a large limestone boulder bearing precontact carvings (petroglyphs) of bison figures, hoof prints and geometric shapes. Archaeological excavations around the base of the boulder encountered deposits of precontact artifacts and paintings (pictographs) of a mythological animal figure and geometric designs on the boulder’s buried surfaces.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Swift Current Creek Petroglyph Boulder lies in its status as an outstanding example of precontact rock art dating to at least 1,200 years ago. One of the best preserved petroglyph sites in Saskatchewan, it is notable for its bison carvings and for the occurrence of petroglyphs and pictographs on the same rock. The pictographs are executed in rarely seen black pigment, and the discovery of paintings on a buried rock face may be unprecedented in Canadian archaeology. Accordingly, the site has high scientific and educational value for the interpretation of precontact First Nations symbolism, artistic expression, and ceremonialism.

The site also has significant cultural and spiritual value for First Nations. With its bison carvings and a profile reminiscent of a reclining bison, the petroglyph boulder expresses and commemorates the sacred relationship that existed between bison and First Nations people. As such, First Nations view the petroglyph boulder as a link to their past and an important symbol of cultural identity and continuity.


Province of Saskatchewan, Notice of Intention to Designate as Provincial Heritage Property under The Heritage Property Act, February 26, 1990.

Province of Saskatchewan, Order to Designate as Provincial Heritage Property under The Heritage Property Act, August 27, 1990.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the Swift Current Creek Petroglyph Boulder site resides in the following character-defining elements:
-the petroglyph boulder in its original position, with its array of petroglyphs and pictographs and its otherwise unaltered surfaces;
-the boulder’s natural grassland setting on the valley slope and the relatively unobstructed views of the valley, which elicit a sense of the site’s connection to the past;
-in situ artifacts, bone, and other remains such as charcoal and ochre that contribute to the interpretation of the site and help place it in a temporal and cultural context;
-access to the site for First Nations ceremonial use.




Recognition Authority

Government of Saskatchewan

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act, s. 39(1)

Recognition Type

Provincial Heritage Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Canada's Earliest Inhabitants

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Aboriginal Sacred Site

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Conservation Branch, Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, 3211 Albert Street, Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 5W6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

PHP 360



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