Incised Stones from Idaho

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


Incised stones have been reported from locations across Idaho, most commonly in the panhandle region. Though relatively rare, they are in some instances associated with Late Archaic (2000--150 B.P.) period sites and in southeastern Idaho with the Fremont pattern (1300--500 B.P.). Four types of incised stones are described. Type 1 items consist of stones characterized by parallel lines located on the face or margins of the stone with lines that may be horizontal, vertical or diagonal, or a combination, though one direction is usually predominant; in some cases, the lines are minimal in length and/or number. Type 2 incised stones are characterized by centrally placed hachure, while Type 3 stones are characterized by etching or by lines that are irregular and multi-directional in placement and without discernible patterning. Type 4 stones are more decorative; these display combinations of motifs, including zig-zags, ladders, parallel lines, and chevrons. The geographic and temporal distributions of incised stones in Idaho are reviewed, accompanied by observations regarding their function.

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