The rock art and archaeological site at Karnatukul was given the name Serpent's Glen by dogger Peter Muir (father of artist and Indigenous rights activist Kado Muir) in 1965, "on account of the large number of snake drawings hereabouts and their obvious association with Aboriginal legends of Rainbow Serpents".
The site was, until recently, estimated to have been inhabited for up to 25,000 years, and known as the site of the oldest continuous recorded occupation in the Western Desert cultural region. The Martu people used to congregate at Katjarra when other water sources had dried up. However, a study published in September 2018 showed that humans had in fact occupied the site around 47,830 Cal BP. This and other recent studies, which were done at the request of the native title holders, shed new light on the concept of deep time, as well as the social geography of arid zones. The study, using archaeobotany to establish its findings, found that wattle had been collected throughout the whole history of the site, confirming its status as the oldest known site of continuous occupation in the Western Desert. The wood was used as firewood, food, bush medicine and for making tools, from the Pleistocene through to the Holocene eras, and more than 100 species were used across the continent by other Aboriginal peoples. Karnakatul shows one of the earliest uses of firewood, and habitation continued through times of extreme climate change, when the desertification occurred as the polar ice sheets expanded.