An Ancient Easter Egg Hunt?

Petroglyphs? Eh, good for those ancient people to leave their story, but I’ll pass. Wait, there’s over 21,000 in one location and I don’t have to scale a cliff? Alright, I’m in.

The Rivers Petroglyphs in southwestern New Mexico blew me away. I truly was not expecting to be as enamored, or surprised, or fascinated as I was. But you get there, climb a not-so-modest hill, and suddenly there are glyphs hiding in the rocks. Some are bold and face forward, others peek behind another rock or shyly rest at the bottom in a corner, facing “away.”


It took six years to tag the 21,400 glyphs. The project-manager in me is on overload thinking of the logistics.


These circles were always tucked away; not facing “front.” Why?

All those smart people who study these things don’t actually know much more than I do, it seems, about the glyphs. Are they religious or newspapers? Are they territorial or familial? Are they bragging or warning?

They say that bird images are found with corn and clouds, which is symbolic of rain. Ooookaaay. And that 10% of the glyphs have circular designs, but no insight into what that means. I think it’s about family: two circles around a fat dot is mother, father, and child. More circles for more children. But what do I know?


Now, these images of people either are really lizards, or they thought rather highly of themselves (cough, cough).


The glyphs were carved by taking one rock and hitting it with another into these stones. They were breaking the patina that had been weathered into the rock. Sometimes they carved deeper–boredom, significance?

carved fish

And if you aren’t smitten with the mystery of the glyphs, just take a look around and enjoy nature’s beauty even when not bountiful.


Still interested? Click the pic to advance the slideshow.


Watch more videos, including when I get frustrated with contemporary graffiti.


The glyphs are quite spread out, they’re not all smack together.

What’s your theory for why?

2 Responses


So could to see and hear you in that video. I wonder how ancient grafitti from the same tribe would look or if they even had it

Jef – interesting question. Maybe this was graffiti…?

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