Writer : Dollie Eanna Indigostar
Petroglyphs which are put into two categories, Petroglyphs are carved into rock or rock sculptures, Petrographs are painted upon the rock surface usually in red, brown, white or yellow depending on plants or minerals that are found locally. Although the majority of images found, were commonly drawn with the finger, or some were executed withthe use of tools like brushes, possibly made of animal or plant fibers. Petroglyphs are images that are scored, scraped or ground into cliff walls, boulders and flat bedrock surfaces by using stone tools.
The term petroglyph should not be confused with petrograph, which is an image drawn or painted on a rock face. A petroglyph is an image created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, or abrading, as a form of rock art.
Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images. Petroglyphs are found worldwide, and are often associated with prehistoric peoples.
Some petroglyphs might be as old as 40,000 years, and petroglyph sites in Australia are estimated to date back 27,000 years. Many petroglyphs are dated to approximately the Neolithic and late Upper Paleolithic boundary, about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, if not earlier, such as Kamyana Mohyla. Around 7,000 to 9,000 years ago, other precursors of writing systems, such as pictographs and ideograms, began to appear. Petroglyphs were still common though, and some cultures continued using them much longer, even until contact with Western culture was made in the 19th and 20th centuries. Petroglyphs have been found in all parts of the globe except Antarctica, with highest concentrations in parts of Africa, Scandinavia, Siberia, southwestern North America, and Australia.
Many hypotheses explain the purpose of petroglyphs, depending on their location, age, and subject matter. Some may be astronomical markers, maps, and other forms of symbolic communication, including a form of proto-writing. Petroglyph maps may show trails, symbols communicating time and distances traveled, as well as the local terrain in the form of rivers, landforms, and other geographic features.
Some petroglyph images probably have deep cultural and religious significance for the societies that created them; in many cases this significance remains for their descendants. Many petroglyphs are thought to represent some kind of not-yet-fully understood symbolic or ritual language. Later glyphs from the Nordic Bronze Age in Scandinavia seem to refer to some form of territorial boundary between tribes, in addition to possible religious meanings. Petroglyph styles has local or regional "dialects" from similar or neighboring peoples.They are not yet well understood.
A recent set of images once again stired my attention towards Petroglyphs and cave art, What did our ancestors actually see and witness ? My mind wonders to what a child would paint in first images at school, the basic concepts are there to the surroundings of the child to draw a clear image,recognisable to the viewer in making out those early scribbles of sticks, dots and squiggles to a very proud 5yr old saying its you mummy look, I am a circle on a circle with sticks for legs dots for eyes - Great fantastic depiction and clear to see a Human shape - So my thoughts stretch back to those drawings and carvings, who did them, how long back and why record the same rheme and correlating images, not just found in one place but hundreds and thousands of them are spread accross the globe from contenant to contenant, surely it wasnt a mstake or just coincidence that the same depictions as far lands the Americas, Africa, Europe and downunder in the far reaches such as Australia, new Zealand, China all clearly seem to have such symbolic meanings, how can rthey have witnessed the same clear depictions at the same time unless it was a global event or connection, with symbols and representations like the most famous Peterborough collection in North Canada. The whole province and park heritage site is littered with multiple interesting and very questionable, undecoded and dialectual language already spoken globaly in these phenomenal glyps and gaphs my quickest term of sayin, boy are these just one of the most intreguing mysteries behind our indigieonous ancestral roots.
Looking at many of the mysterious depictions of animals, life, culture and somthing else seeming other worldly, with images of beings with glowing appearance of Halo or illuminated large heads, sometimes creatures appearing mythical, winged and flying disk.
The Peterborough Petroglyphs are the largest collection of ancient rock carvings (petroglyphs) in all of North America, made up of over 900 images carved into crystalline limestone located near Peterborough in Ontario, Canada.
Proclaimed a National Historic Site of Canada in 1976, local indigenous people believe that this is an entrance into the spirit world and that the Spirits actually speak to them from this location. They call it Kinoomaagewaapkong, which translates to "the rocks that teach".
The petroglyphs are carved into a single slab of crystalline limestone which is 55 metres long and 30 metres wide. About 300 of the images are decipherable shapes, including humans, shamans, animals, solar symbols, geometric shapes and boats.
It is generally believed that the indigenous Algonkian people carved the petroglyphs between 900 and 1400 AD. But rock art is usually impossible to date accurately for lack of any carbon material and dating artefacts or relics found in proximity to the site only reveals information about the last people to be there. They could be thousands of years older than experts allow, if only because the extensive weathering of some of the glyphs implies more than 1,000 years of exposure.
There are some other mysteries surrounding these remarkable petroglyphs. The boat carvings bear no resemblance to the traditional boat of the Native Americans. One solar boat — a stylized shaman vessel with a long mast surmounted by the sun — is typical of petroglyphs found in northern Russia and Scandanavia. A Harvard professor believes the petroglyphs are inscriptions (and maybe even a form of written language) left by a Norse king named Woden-lithi, who was believed to have sailed from Norway down the St. Lawrence River in about 1700 B.C., long before the Greenland Viking explorations.
Another vessel depicted in the petroglyphs is a large ship with banks of oars and figure-heads at bow and stern. There is a large steering oar at the stern, a necessary feature only for vessels that are 100 feet or more in length. However, the Algonkian people who inhabited the region never produced anything more seaworthy than a birch-bark canoe or a dugout. Even reluctant archaeologists admit that the ships “do not look like real Algonkian canoes” but steer away from any uncomfortable conclusions about pre-Columbian visitors by speculating that the vessels are simply a shaman’s idea of magical canoes that travel the universe.
Another peculiarity is the figure-heads at bow and stern which resemble birds. The same design can be seen in Etruscan repousse gold work of the 9 th century BC. The bird-headed ships were portrayed 200 years earlier, when Egyptian artists carved their images into the walls of Pharaoh Ramses IIIs “Victory Temple” in the Valley of the Kings.
Yet another mystery is the presence in the petroglyphs of a tall figure or ‘god’ which stands with arms akimbo and with a halo radiating rays, presumably from the sun. Cowering before him are two minute humble humans in attitudes of supplication. Scientists think the figure may represent a sun gold but there doesn’t exist any known cases of sun worship among the indigenous people of the region.
Some historians and researchers believe there is more to the petroglyphs than meets the eye. Some maintain that they are in fact a sky map of the heavens based on European tradition from 3100 BC. Evidence includes four signs which are the same as those found for the identical astronomical position at Lewes, England, leading to a possible speculative connection between the Peterborough petroglyphs and the megalithic people of Ancient Britain.
So the petroglyphs of Peterborough remain an intriguing riddle, a sort of code to which the key is still missing.
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