Petroglyphs 1. The soldiers probably stayed there for 2 or 3 months, because that's how long it took them to write their names in the rock.
Petroglyphs (Rock Writings) are rock symbols or markings which have been pecked or incised into the stone.
Pictographs are generally refered to as painted figures or "panels" on rock surfaces.
Thirty five years ago, I sat in wonderment as my associates and I looked up at a basaltic, lava ledge, covered with strange markings. The carved symbols appeared to be very ancient, because on several unprotected protrusions and some large exposed boulders, the lines and figures were almost weathered away.
At the time, there was almost no evidence of vandalism, except for one cave that has intrigued me since the first time I saw it. Three soldiers had camped at the cavesite in February and March of 1868. They left their date of encampment, names, and military rank, carved deeply into the hard, desert varnished stone. One soldier even left his date of birth carved near the floor of the cave. This one was partially exposed by shifting sand and I uncovered it in 1997. He was 23 years old when he sat in the sand and probably pondered the other 'rock writings' as we have. (I am still withholding the soldiers names as I search to notify their next of kin.)
My partner, Bud, had heard about petroglyphs before and said no one knew what they meant. His studies had found that scientists and others believed the carvings to be hunting magic or "doodling" or just art work.
As I sat in the sand, looking at the depth of some of the cuts in the stone, I decided to try it for myself. (As I am an artist and sign painter, it seemed like the thing to do at the time.) Please note: I went to a distant spot that would not deface, vandalize, or otherwise do harm to this beautiful, sacred and protected historical site! Anyway, after my hike and attempt at scratching, much less cutting into the stone, I came to some long standing conclusions and beliefs.
2. Being an artist I have found that most of the glyphs are beyond the possibility to be construed as "abstract art".
3. To hard to do to just be doodles.
4. Most of us carry hunting magic with us. Even today when we find a good huntin' spot, we don't tell everybody where it is.
5. Based on the above hypothesis, ciphers in the stone must probably be some form of writing system that was used to record history or important events.
Other than the soldiers' names and dates at the cave site, we had no idea what we were looking at. There were spirals, squares, grids, 'sheep figures', people figures, curved lines, circles, dots, birds....on and on!
So Bud, my brother Brent and I, sat, hiked, camped, and studied everything we could find or read. Five more years passed with not progress. Finally the break through happened!
We discovered the superb work of LaVan Martineau. His research had begun many years earlier, and was published during our quest.
In Korea, while serving in the U.S. Airforce, LeVan learned cryptanalysis. Using cryptology with his other much extended research, LeVan had proven, sufficiently for us to accept that the petroglyphs are a ligitimate writing system.
Giving full credit to the assistance and use of LeVan Martneau's work we have been able to understand some of these incredible panels of history.
Since 1979, we have also extensively studied and applied the research of Dr. Barry Fell to our work, where applicable. Dr. Fell's work brings insite into the origin of some ancient peoples of our continent. His work with petroglyphs and other archaeology has stirred up some 'contoversial' concepts.
During our seminars we also use spiritual meditation and drumming journey among other methods, to enhance our on-site research. We teach proper ways of study without ever touching the stone panels or disturbing the ecology where we walk. We assist those who need help in photographing the sites.
From our studies we can also reflect on how the climate and ecology might have changed. While there is much speculation as to the age of petroglyphs and pictographs, some recent events have been closly dated.
Our theory is that many of the records could pre-date 10,000 years, or else some major climatic events have happened much more recently than believed.
Our petroglyph seminars must be limited to small groups of participants to preserve the enviroment and ecology. We travel to accessible sites where camping will not cause damage. Main meals are also included to minimize preparation areas and impact. Most seminars run weekends, Friday through Sunday evenings.
It is our purpose and intent to teach respect and the extreme value of these sites. We work to preserve the protected antiquities which we feel are the most important written record of our past.
For more information about participating in a Petroglyph Deciphering Seminar please contact Roger Clark by phone.