The word Hieroglyph in Greek means “sacred carving”. Ogham an early form of Irish writing was also called “The Tree Alphabet”. Chinese Kanji characters are derived from pictographs. The Rosetta Stone, found in 1799, gave scientist the keys to translate Egyptian hieroglyphs – it took fourteen years to decipher them. Petroglyphs (petro = rock; glyph = carving) are man-made images which were pecked, scratched, incised or abraided into stone.
Petroglyphs date back thousands of years and are found all over the world. They were used by early man to record events, visions and story telling. They were produced using crude tools such as sticks, rocks or bone.
Such pictures convey ideas or meaning to the mind without the use of words, sounds or other language form. This primitive method of communication is known as pictography (picture-writing) and it formed the basis of the Chinese and Japanese characters used today. Indians found North of the Rio Grande had no written language. They managed to keep alive traditions and tell stories by passing them down by word of mouth.
Picture writing was helpful in aiding memory and communicating ideas from one generation to the next.
My example is of the Native American Indians along the Columbia River in Washington State. The rock the pictographs are on was excavated from its original location at the river’s edge just before Well’s Dam was constructed in 1967. Hundreds of similar rock paintings lie deep under water behind the Columbia River Dams.
Pictographs or rock paintings were created by Native Americans over many years, or even centuries. Although difficult to say with certainty, anthropologists believe that pictographs chronicle the history of countless generations and provide a record of what was important in their lives. References to natural resources are central – the earth provided food, shelter, and fulfilled spiritual needs. Unfortunately those stories in stone also tell of disease and death – indicated by an upside down figure. When Euro-Americans arrived, diseases quickly followed ravaging the native populations. The animals depicted in pictographs may represent prey, or they might identify particular tribes. Native Americans groups recognize one another by clan names – the turtle people, the crayfish people, the big fir people – when Euro-Americans arrived, native groups were often given new names like Methow, Chelan, and Moses.
Some pictographs were created with paints made exclusively from natural materials. Minerals, plant extracts, blood, urine and fat were used to produce a rainbow of colors. Here in the Columbia Plateau, pictographs are predominantly red. Erosion, pollution, development and vandalism have taken a toll on this rock art.
Your challenge if you choose to accept it is to find ancient native pictographs on stone in the area you live or travel in. In doing so keep the following rules: Please do NOT mark the pictographs with chalk, markers, spray paint etc. They should not even be touched with your hands, as doing any of this will speed up the destruction of these historical works of art.
IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO READ ALL LOGS BEFORE YOU LOG IN TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT DUPLICATING A SITE. THANK YOU.
The following guidelines MUST be followed:
1. Picture of pictograph and gpsr. (Picture must be clear and large enough to recognize objects)
2. Coordinates, country, state, nearest town and name of site need to be included with description of site and people who created the pictograph. The exception to this rule is if you find a pictograph on private land or that is not open to the public or not well known you may exclude the coordinates and location. I still would like the state and/or country.
3. One log per site
4. One log per team
5. HAVE FUN!