Ancient Rock Art

The indigenous people of America have left rock art, both petroglyphs and pictographs, some of it two thousand years old or more, across the whole country. Our modern imagination is stimulated and confounded by these images, whose meaning and purpose can only be guessed at. Contemporary archeologists and anthropologists have constructed stylistic categories for the art, attaching time periods to each style. These categories can be helpful for our study, but we should remember that we know nothing definite about the meaning of the art. Elders of contemporary American Indian Nations, who consider the ancient artists as their ancestors, have added their knowledge and understanding to interpreting the rock art.

Rock art is found near ancient stone ruins, yet much is scattered throughout the countryside, often in difficult to access locations, at least difficult to us moderns. Settlements may have originally been situated near the rock art sites. We just don’t know.

Many images are abstract while others are realistic, portraying recognizable creatures. Some are pure fantasy, at least to our modern sensibility.

A variety of images are presented—a sufficient diversity for the viewer to realize the amazing skill and creative imagination involved in crafting the art.

Petroglyphs

Pictographs

Land of the Ancients