Archive for the ‘Petroglyphs’ Category

>The Valley of Fire

November 12, 2008

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Be sure to read my Western Tribune Column, following this post, which is somewhat critical of Obama supporters at Thompson Manor, a polling place in Bessemer, on election day.
The Valley of Fire
In Nevada we visited the Valley of Fire , a state park where we saw fascinating rock formations and petroglyphs, which are ancient Native American rock carvings used to communicate stories.

The Anasazi lived there around 300 BC until around 1150 AD. Well, actually they passed through during migrations or for ceremonies, because it is desert and not really much of a place to try to make a permanent settlement.

Petroglyphs are not merely drawn onto the rock, they are carved or inscribed, so they required a good bit of effort and skill. Remember, they didn’t have routers or Dremel tools. Here are examples of petroglyphs in the park, carved maybe 2000 years ago!



There are several sites in and near the park with petroglyphs, and experts have decoded or translated the symbols into stories, which (to me) are fascinating.

One such story was The Offense of the Evil Man (and Its Consequences).

It is the story of a flagrant, Native American environmental health episode, and tells of one man with an anti-social mental condition who purposely contaminated the limited water supply with his own wastes, and the resulting sickness and death that spread though the clan, and how they dealt with the Evil Man. It is a tragic story.

The petroglyphs that tell this story are near an area of the desert that was used as a camping spot during their migrations, with limited water resources. The story was carved in to rock years after the event, as a reminder to those who came later of the tragedy that had occurred and the sadness the events brought to the clan.

This story interested me because of its public health significance, and I plan to look into it more deeply, beginning with a book that I bought and maybe ending with another trip.

Hey that sounds like a good idea!

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