Saturday, April 26, 2014

Writing on the Rocks

We stopped by the Petroglyph National Monument near Albuquerque, NM. The park is located, in part, on a volcanic escarpment. It is estimated that up to 20,000 petroglyphs were left to us by American Indians and early Spanish settlers from 400 to 700 years ago.

Petroglyphs are created by chipping the black top layer (called desert varnish) off of rock by using another smaller stone. It is wonderful that these images have endured, despite the efforts to deface them and remove them.

150,000 years ago a string of volcanos west of Albuquerque erupted. Cinder cones from ancient volcanos are still visible west of what is now the city, and west of the escarpment.

A few of the cinder cones as viewed from the escarpment

The eruptions had extensive lava flows that moved around ancient hills and filled ancient arroyos. The land around the deposited lava has since eroded, leaving the escarpments where the petroglyphs are found. How cool is that?!

Google satellite map image

A view of the escarpment from below

The images and symbols most likely had spiritual meaning. Some of the designs are similar to those used by present-day Indians, so the meaning of the symbols may be the same. Others are unique to the ancient people. 










I'm thinking Ma and Pa Indian wanted the kids out of the teepee and told them to go out amongst the rocks and play! (OK, so, I'm kidding... but it coulda been true!)









8 comments:

  1. There are so many interesting things to see in New Mexico. It is the state that made me realize I belong in the Western United States.

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    1. Having lived in the lush growth of the east, with higher housing density and more roads, the openness and starkness of the west always fascinates me. Now, when I'm back east, I feel a bit claustrophobic. Having seen the pictures of your canyon area, I can see how it is similar to much of New Mexico, too.

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  2. Super cool!!!! If I ever get to return I will put this on top of my list to see. Amazing.

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    1. There is so much to see out west.... well, in the east, too. Our world is just and amazing place with interesting places, people and things.

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  3. I went to school at UNM from 71-75. We used to go out and see the petroglyphs. Chaco canyon was just a few hours from Albuquerque too. Your pictures brought back some memories.

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    1. Chaco is on our "to do" list. We've had friends who have gone there and done the railroad.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, and glad I could provide fodder for memories.

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  4. Several years ago we visited Valley of Fire by Las Vegas, NV and there were petroglyphics there too. Very interesting. You are probably correct about sending the kids out to play!

    Cindy Bee

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    1. The next time I get to the Valley of Fire, I'll have to look for the petroglyphs. That is an amazing place, too!

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