Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Petroglyph National Monument

Our national system of "monuments" is a true treasure...striving to maintain a link to our past, not as a nation, but as a continent. This park is no exception. We had been to a petroglyph park in Utah, state run not federal. It was fascinating. There the various petroglyphs told stories, showed maps... each etching connected to the other. Not here! On the site of 5 dormant volcanoes, encompassing over 7244 acres, 17 miles and over 20,000 carved images, Petroglyph National Monument is "monumental" in scope and history. The park is a bowl surrounded (basalt escarpment) and peppered with all sizes of black, basalt rocks. At first look, it doesn't look like much. You just need to start walking and really looking. The drawings are scattered here and there. Various upheavels have scattered the rocks everywhere. There is no way to show it. Its wonder is found in just walking in the park! Don't mean to wax philosophical, but some places just lend themselves to it.

Distant view of a petroglyph........................... Doesn't look like much, does it?
Now a view of the same rock...close and both sides. Look close. (Double click on the photo.) There are drawings on both visible sides.
The ground is littered with rocks that have just cascaded down the sides of the escarpment. We just kept hollering to one another, "Look, over there!" The area has been inhabited by and the etchings were done by a variety of peoples over a very long span of time. From 3000 BC to 500 AD, hunter-gatherers; 700 to 1300 AD by Anasazi farmers; and, after that, Spanish sheperds. And now just a sampling of the drawings we found.

All in all, one of those places that sneaks up on you! Just think... you are looking are looking at a drawing from 5000 years agoo!! Sticky notes won't make it that long. Also had a thought about a book I read years ago, "Chariot of the Gods" about alien space travelors back in ancient times. The book referenced drawings like some of these found all over South America and linked them to ones in the Middle East. Some do look like spacemen!

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