As you know, I go along, researching for my books and sometimes I’ll read something and right away, our beloved readers on Petticoats and Pistols come to mind. And then, me being me, I look at what I’ve found and become inexplicably sarcastic.
I’m not sure why I do this. Personally, I blame my father. The man just had something funny to say about everything. I believe I got in the habit of trying to top him. So, in summation, it’s NOT MY FAULT. (I blame THAT reaction on my little brother).
So I found these rock paintings and/or petroglyphs. At first you see them and there is a reverence. They are very ancient, like messages passed down in stone from a people who didn’t write words, but could still tell their stories.
Others lower their voices, speak in hushed, respectful tones. I think, “Wow, graffiti is nuthin’ new. You darned kids, get offa my lawn. Put down that can of spray paint! I’m calling your mother!”
What do you suppose prompted ancient people to carve in stone seemingly useless things? I mean if you’re going to the trouble of getting your chisel out, you’d think you’d use your time wisely. (Aside: Did ancient people have chisels?) Of course that one … thing … looks kind of like a man (left), with horns and a tail. Okay I can only think of one guy like that and it is a very…shall we say…fire and brimstone connection.
So yeah, if they see him, sure I get that they might need a painting. But why carve a herd of goats when one runs by the cave entrance every fifteen minutes? It’ll take hours, just wait at the door and point.
Did they worship the goat? Could the goat defeat He-Who-Has-Horns-And-A-Tail in a battle? Were they marking the cave as their territory during a war? Was it a symbol of relationship? “Marry me darling and as God as my witness, you’ll never be hungry again. I could go shoot a goat to prove it but let me carve one in stone instead.”
These are all questions asked by scientists, better known as He-Who-Has-Too-Much-Spare-Time. They spend decades trying to decipher the painting of the goat.
This one on the left is found in the Grand Canyon. The most confusing part of this is…that looks a lot like an alligator to me. An alligator and carrots?? Carrots? Okay, sure they could’ve had carrots. But alligators in the Grand Canyon? Hello? No swamp to be found anywhere. Or no, wait, not an alligator. A man. A man with a tail, dancing. Doing the Hokey Pokey, I’d say. Put your tail in, put your tail out, put your tail in and shake it all about. Wow, it’s a wedding dance.
That’s lovely. But get a load of the swastikas. I’ve always heard that the swastika is a really ancient symbol that was perverted by the Nazis (they did one heck of a good job with that, didn’t they?) What else is interesting is how much the Not-swastika looks like the alligator man. Really look at it a while. It’s not really a swastika, it’s a double swastika. Two arms, two legs, even a head. I find that fascinating. One arm up, one leg kicking. It’s not a MAN, it’s a cheerleader. This is right before the big game and someone’s written the Paleozoic version of Go Team Go on the wall. (Go Gators Go?) So maybe Swastika’s aren’t even anything important, just team spirit captured for a lifetime.
(seriously people you ought to see what I can do with a Rorschach Inkblog Test, it’s not pretty)
Which leads me to this one. All I see when I look at this are fingerprints on my wall. I’ve got this image of an ancient mother, chasing after her forty kids with a bottle of pre-historic windex and a sponge.
That’s right, it’s not meaningful and important. It’s untidy, just a MESS. What we now research and revere was probably gossiped about back then.
Over the stone picket fence, two old crones whispering, “Did you SEE Ork’s walls? She’s a terrible housekeeper. If she can’t keep things neat they shouldn’t have had so many children. Why just the other day, her son knocked over my favorite swastika picture with his tail.”
Here are some quotes I found about petroglyphs and pictographs:
Scientists can tell how old the pictographs are, but not the petroglyphs. Native Americans used rock painting as a way to record their beliefs and observations of the world. (Mary: Translation…meaningful, reverent, important…no mention of graffiti)
Rock art sites inspire visitors to wonder about the people who made the images and the messages they may have been trying to communicate. (Mary: Or get the windex, whatever)
Painting and Petroglyphs in the Grand Canyon. Seemingly random doodles (Mary: STOP! NO! Resist the urge to further analyze. You’ve got it right!) These glyphs have played a prominent role in attempts to understand forager religious iconography. (Mary: But no, of course they couldn’t resist)
They were possibly intended to supernaturally increase success in the hunt. The mountain sheep drawings bolstered the “hunting magic” hypothesis. (no one’s talking about the horned dude. Nooooooooo it’s alllllllll about the goats. I find that strange)
You may be surprised to find out I’m NOT invited to be a visiting lecturer at a university near me to talk about my petroglyph research. But I’m sure they’ve just lost my phone number. If I had it to do over again, I’d’ve carved it on their wall. The end.
So has anyone ever seen petroglyphs? There’s a much written upon stony wall in a bluff near our home. Most of it is just kids but the rumor is that Louis and Clark wrote on that wall, marking their trail.
Graffiti, for a good cause.