Petroglyphs are images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, or abrading, as a form of rock art. Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images. Petroglyphs are found worldwide, and are often associated with prehistoric peoples. The word comes from the Greek prefix petro-, from πέτραpetra meaning "stone", and γλύφωglýphō meaning "to carve", and was originally coined in French as pétroglyphe.
A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its chemical composition and the way in which it is formed. Rocks are usually grouped into three main groups: igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks and sedimentary rocks. Rocks form the Earth's outer solid layer, the crust.
Abrasion is a process of erosion which occurs when material being transported wears away at a surface over time. It is the process of friction caused by scuffing, scratching, wearing down, marring, and rubbing away of materials. The intensity of abrasion depends on the hardness, concentration, velocity and mass of the moving particles. Abrasion generally occurs four ways. Glaciation slowly grinds rocks picked up by ice against rock surfaces. Solid objects transported in river channels make abrasive surface contact with the bed and walls. Objects transported in waves breaking on coastlines cause abrasion. And, finally, abrasion can be caused by wind transporting sand or small stones against surface rocks.
In archaeology, rock art is human-made markings placed on natural stone; it is largely synonymous with parietal art. A global phenomenon, rock art is found in many culturally diverse regions of the world. It has been produced in many contexts throughout human history, although the majority of rock art that has been ethnographically recorded has been produced as a part of ritual. Such artworks are often divided into three forms: petroglyphs, which are carved into the rock surface, pictographs, which are painted onto the surface, and earth figures, formed on the ground. The oldest known rock art dates from the Upper Palaeolithic period, having been found in Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. Archaeologists studying these artworks believe that they likely had magico-religious significance.
The term petroglyph should not be confused with petrograph, which is an image drawn or painted on a rock face. Both types of image belong to the wider and more general category of rock art or parietal art. Petroforms, or patterns and shapes made by many large rocks and boulders over the ground, are also quite different. Inuksuit are also unique, and found only in the Arctic (except for reproductions and imitations built in more southerly latitudes).
Parietal art is the archaeological term for artwork done on cave walls or large blocks of stone. One of the most famous examples of parietal art is the Grotte Chauvet in France. Also called "cave art", it refers to cave paintings, drawings, etchings, carvings, and pecked artwork on the interior of rock shelters and caves. The purpose of these remains of the Paleolithic and other periods of prehistoric art is not known. However, some theories suggest that these paintings were not solely for decoration as many of them were located in parts of caves that were not easily accessed.
Another form of petroglyph, normally found in literate cultures, a rock relief or rock-cut relief is a relief sculpture carved on "living rock" such as a cliff, rather than a detached piece of stone. While these relief carvings are a category of rock art, sometimes found in conjunction with rock-cut architecture,they tend to be omitted in most works on rock art, which concentrate on engravings and paintings by prehistoric or nonliterate cultures. Some of these reliefs exploit the rock's natural properties to define an image. Rock reliefs have been made in many cultures, especially in the ancient Near East. Rock reliefs are generally fairly large, as they need to be to make an impact in the open air. Most have figures that are larger than life-size.
A rock relief or rock-cut relief is a relief sculpture carved on solid or "living rock" such as a cliff, rather than a detached piece of stone. They are a category of rock art, and sometimes found as part of, or in conjunction with, rock-cut architecture. However, they tend to be omitted in most works on rock art, which concentrate on engravings and paintings by prehistoric peoples. A few such works exploit the natural contours of the rock and use them to define an image, but they do not amount to man-made reliefs. Rock reliefs have been made in many cultures throughout human history, and were especially important in the art of the ancient Near East. Rock reliefs are generally fairly large, as they need to be in order to have an impact in the open air. Most of those discussed here have figures that are over life-size, and in many the figures are multiples of life-size.
Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The term relief is from the Latin verb relevo, to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background plane. What is actually performed when a relief is cut in from a flat surface of stone or wood is a lowering of the field, leaving the unsculpted parts seemingly raised. The technique involves considerable chiselling away of the background, which is a time-consuming exercise. On the other hand, a relief saves forming the rear of a subject, and is less fragile and more securely fixed than a sculpture in the round, especially one of a standing figure where the ankles are a potential weak point, especially in stone. In other materials such as metal, clay, plaster stucco, ceramics or papier-mâché the form can be just added to or raised up from the background, and monumental bronze reliefs are made by casting.
Rock-cut architecture is the creation of structures, buildings, and sculptures by excavating solid rock where it naturally occurs. Rock-cut architecture is designed and made by man from the start to finish. In India and China, the terms 'cave' and 'cavern' are often applied to this form of man-made architecture. However, caves and caverns, that began in natural form, are not considered to be 'rock-cut architecture' even if extensively modified. Although rock-cut structures differ from traditionally built structures in many ways, many rock-cut structures are made to replicate the facade or interior of traditional architectural forms. Interiors were usually carved out by starting at the roof of the planned space and then working downward. This technique prevents stones falling on workers below. The three main uses of rock-cut architecture were temples, tombs and cave dwellings.
Stylistically, a culture's rock relief carvings relate to other types of sculpture from period concerned. Except for Hittite and Persian examples, they are generally discussed as part of the culture's sculptural practice.The vertical relief is most common, but reliefs on essentially horizontal surfaces are also found. The term relief typically excludes relief carvings inside natural or human-made caves, that are common in India. Natural rock formations made into statues or other sculpture in the round, most famously at the Great Sphinx of Giza, are also usually excluded. Reliefs on large boulders left in their natural location, like the Hittite İmamkullu relief, are likely to be included, but smaller boulders described as stele or carved orthostats.
The Great Sphinx of Giza, commonly referred to as the Sphinx of Giza or just the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining sphinx, a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. Facing directly from West to East, it stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt. The face of the Sphinx is generally believed to represent the Pharaoh Khafre.
The Hittite İmamkullu relief is a rock relief near the town of İmamkullu in Tomarza district in Kayseri Province, Turkey. In Turkish it is known as Yazılı Kaya and Şimşekkaya. Rock reliefs are a prominent aspect of Hittite art.
A stele, or occasionally stela, when derived from Latin, is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected in the ancient world as a monument. Grave stelae were often used for funerary or commemorative purposes. Stelae as slabs of stone would also be used as ancient Greek and Roman government notices or as boundary markers to mark borders or property lines.
Some petroglyphs might be as old as 40,000 years, and petroglyph sites in Australia are estimated to date back 27,000 years. Many petroglyphs are dated to approximately the Neolithic and late Upper Paleolithic boundary, about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, if not earlier, such as Kamyana Mohyla. Around 7,000 to 9,000 years ago, other precursors of writing systems, such as pictographs and ideograms, began to appear. Petroglyphs were still common though, and some cultures continued using them much longer, even until contact with Western culture was made in the 19th and 20th centuries. Petroglyphs have been found in all parts of the globe except Antarctica, with highest concentrations in parts of Africa, Scandinavia, Siberia, southwestern North America, and Australia.
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Very broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, according to some theories coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity Humans and before the advent of agriculture.
Kamyana Mohyla is an archaeological site in the Molochna River valley, about a mile from the village of Terpinnya, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine. Petroglyphs of Kamyana Mohyla are dated from Upper Paleolithic to Medieval, with Stone Age depictions subjected to most archaeological interest.
A writing system is any conventional method of visually representing verbal communication. While both writing and speech are useful in conveying messages, writing differs in also being a reliable form of information storage and transfer. The processes of encoding and decoding writing systems involve shared understanding between writers and readers of the meaning behind the sets of characters that make up a script. Writing is usually recorded onto a durable medium, such as paper or electronic storage, although non-durable methods may also be used, such as writing on a computer display, on a blackboard, in sand, or by skywriting.
Many hypotheses explain the purpose of petroglyphs, depending on their location, age, and subject matter. Some many be astronomical markers, maps, and other forms of symbolic communication, including a form of proto-writing. Petroglyph maps may show trails, symbols communicating time and distances traveled, as well as the local terrain in the form of rivers, landforms, and other geographic features. A petroglyph that represents a landform or the surrounding terrain is known as a geocontourglyph. They might also have been a by-product of other rituals: sites in India, for example, have been identified as musical instruments or "rock gongs".
Proto-writing consists of visible marks communicating limited information. Such systems emerged from earlier traditions of symbol systems in the early Neolithic, as early as the 7th millennium BCE. They used ideographic or early mnemonic symbols or both to represent a limited number of concepts, in contrast to true writing systems, which record the language of the writer.
A rock gong is a lithophone. Found in Africa, Asia, and Europe, the gong is a slab of rock that is hit like a drum. Other regional names for the rock gong include kungering, kwerent dutse, gwangalan, kungereng, kongworian, and kuge. These names are all onomatopœic, except for "kuge" which is the Hausa word for a double iron bell and "dawal" which is the Ge`ez word for a church's stone gong.
Some petroglyph images probably have deep cultural and religious significance for the societies that created them; in many cases this significance remains for their descendants. Many petroglyphs are thought to represent some kind of not-yet-fully understood symbolic or ritual language. Later glyphs from the Nordic Bronze Age in Scandinavia seem to refer to some form of territorial boundary between tribes, in addition to possible religious meanings. Petroglyph styles has local or regional "dialects" from similar or neighboring peoples. Siberian inscriptions loosely resemble an early form of runes, although no direct relationship has been established. They are not yet well understood.
Petrogylphs from different continents show similarities. While people would be inspired by their direct surroundings, it is harder to explain the common styles. This could be mere coincidence, an indication that certain groups of people migrated widely from some initial common area, or indication of a common origin. In 1853, George Tate presented a paper to the Berwick Naturalists' Club, at which a John Collingwood Bruce agreed that the carvings had "... a common origin, and indicate a symbolic meaning, representing some popular thought."In his cataloguing of Scottish rock art, Ronald Morris summarized 104 different theories on their interpretation.
More controversial explanations of similarities are grounded in Jungian psychology and the views of Mircea Eliade. According to these theories it is possible that the similarity of petroglyphs (and other atavistic or archetypal symbols) from different cultures and continents is a result of the genetically inherited structure of the human brain.
Other theories suggest that petroglyphs were carved by spiritual leaders, such as shamans, in an altered state of consciousness,perhaps induced by the use of natural hallucinogens. Many of the geometric patterns (known as form constants) which recur in petroglyphs and cave paintings have been shown by David Lewis-Williams to be hardwired into the human brain. They frequently occur in visual disturbances and hallucinations brought on by drugs, migraine, and other stimuli.
Recent analysis of surveyed and GPS-logged petroglyphs around the world has identified commonalities indicating pre-historic (7,000–3,000 BCE) intense auroras, or natural light display in the sky, observable across the continents.
The Rock Art Research Institute (RARI) of the University of the Witwatersrand studies present-day links between religion and rock art among the San people of the Kalahari Desert.Though the San people's artworks are predominantly paintings, the beliefs behind them can perhaps be used as a basis for understanding other types of rock art, including petroglyphs. To quote from the RARI website:
Using knowledge of San beliefs, researchers have shown that the art played a fundamental part in the religious lives of its San painters. The art captured things from the San's world behind the rock-face: the other world inhabited by spirit creatures, to which dancers could travel in animal form, and where people of ecstasy could draw power and bring it back for healing, rain-making and capturing the game.
Eight sites in Hong Kong:
Recently petroglyphs were found at Kollur village in Tamil Nadu. A large dolmen with four petroglyphs that portray men with trident and a wheel with spokes has been found at Kollur near Triukoilur 35 km from Villupuram. The discovery was made by K.T. Gandhirajan. This is the second instance when a dolmen with petrographs has been found in Tamil Nadu, India. In October 2018, petroglyphs were discovered in the Ratnagiri and Rajapur areas in the Konkan region of western Maharashtra. Those rock carvings which might date back to 10,000 BC, depict animals like hippopotamuses and rhinoceroses which aren't found in that region of India.
During recent years a large number of rock carvings has been identified in different parts of Iran. The vast majority depict the ibex.Rock drawings were found in December 2016 near Golpayegan, Iran, which may be the oldest drawings discovered, with one cluster possibly 40,000 years old. Accurate estimations were unavailable due to US sanctions.
Petroglyphs are the most ancient works of art left by humankind that provide an opening to the past eras of life and help us to discover different aspects of prehistoric lives. Tools to create petroglyphs can be classified by the age and the historical era; they could be flint, thighbone of hunted quarries, or metallic tools. The oldest pictographs in Iran are seen in Yafteh cave in Lorestan that date back 40,000 and the oldest petroglyph discovered belongs to Timareh dating back to 40,800 years ago.
Iran provides demonstrations of script formation from pictogram, ideogram, linear (2300 BC) or proto Elamite, geometric old Elamite script, Pahlevi script, Arabic script (906 years ago), Kufi script, and Farsi script back to at least 250 years ago. More than 50000 petroglyphs have been discovered, extended over all Iran's states.
File:Sweden-Brastad-Petroglyph Skomakaren-Aug 2003.jpg|Carving "The Shoemaker", Brastad, Sweden File:Petroglifo bentayga.jpg|Petroglyph in Roque Bentayga, Gran Canaria (Canary Islands). File:DalgarvenMillCup&Ring.jpg|Petroglyph at Dalgarven Mill, Ayrshire, Scotland. File:Petroglifos do Castrinho de Conxo.jpg|Bronze Age petroglyphs depicting weapons, Castriño de Conxo, Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. File:Labirinto do Outeiro do Cribo.JPG|Labyrinth, Meis, Galicia. File:Laxe das Rodas 01.jpg|Cup-and-ring mark, Louro, Muros, Galicia. File:Touron petr.JPG|Deer and cup-and-ring motifs, Tourón, Ponte Caldelas, Galicia. File:Petroglyphs in Zalavruga, Belomorsk, Karelia, Russia 03.jpg|Petroglyphs in Zalavruga, Belomorsk, Karelia, Russia </gallery>
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Petroglyphs in Galicia .|
The oldest reliably dated rock art in the Americas is known as the "Horny Little Man." It is petroglyph depicting a stick figure with an oversized phallus and carved in Lapa do Santo, a cave in central-eastern Brazil and dates from 12,000 to 9,000 years ago.
Cave paintings are a type of parietal art, found on the wall or ceilings of caves. The term usually implies prehistoric origin, but cave paintings can also be of recent production: In the Gabarnmung cave of northern Australia, the oldest paintings certainly predate 28,000 years ago, while the most recent ones were made less than a century ago.
In the history of art, prehistoric art is all art produced in preliterate, prehistorical cultures beginning somewhere in very late geological history, and generally continuing until that culture either develops writing or other methods of record-keeping, or makes significant contact with another culture that has, and that makes some record of major historical events. At this point ancient art begins, for the older literate cultures. The end-date for what is covered by the term thus varies greatly between different parts of the world.
Ometepe is an island formed by two volcanoes rising out of Lake Nicaragua in the Republic of Nicaragua. Its name derives from the Nahuatl words ome (two) and tepetl (mountain), meaning "two mountains". It is the largest island in Lake Nicaragua.
Gobustan State Reserve located west of the settlement of Gobustan, about 40 miles southwest of the centre of Baku was established in 1966 when the region was declared as a national historical landmark of Azerbaijan in an attempt to preserve the ancient carvings, mud volcanoes and gas-stones in the region.
Edakkal Caves are two natural caves at a remote location at Edakkal, 25 km (15.5 mi) from Kalpetta in the Wayanad district of Kerala in India's Western Ghats. They lie 1,200 m (3,900 ft) above sea level on Ambukutty Mala, near an ancient trade route connecting the high mountains of Mysore to the ports of the Malabar coast. Inside the caves are pictorial writings believed to date to at least 6,000 BCE, from the Neolithic man, indicating the presence of a prehistoric civilization or settlement in this region. The Stone Age carvings of Edakkal are rare and are the only known examples from South India.
Badanj Cave is located in Borojevići village near the town of Stolac, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This rather small cave has come to public attention after the 1976 discovery of its cave engravings, that date to between 12,000 and 16,000 BCE.
Sydney rock engravings, or Sydney rock art, are a form of Australian Aboriginal rock art in the sandstone around Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, that consist of carefully drawn images of people, animals, or symbols. Many thousands of such engravings are known to exist in the Sydney region, although the locations of most are not publicised to prevent damage by vandalism, and to retain their sanctity, as they are still regarded as sacred sites by Indigenous Australians. There are two art environments in Sydney Basin, rock shelters and engraving sites.
The Ughtasar Petroglyphs are rock-carvings found on Mount Ughtasar "Camel Mountain", near the town of Sisian in Armenia's southern province of Syunik.
The stone carvings of Val Camonica are located in the Province of Brescia, Italy, and constitute the largest collections of prehistoric petroglyphs in the world. The collection was recognized by Unesco in 1979 and was Italy's first recognized World Heritage Site. Unesco has formally recognized more than 140,000 figures and symbols, but new discoveries have increased the number of catalogued incisions to between 200,000 and 300,000. The petroglyphs are spread on all surfaces of the valley, but concentrated in the areas of Darfo Boario Terme, Capo di Ponte, Nadro, Cimbergo and Paspardo.
The Vallée des Merveilles, also known in Italian as the Valle delle Meraviglie, is a part of the Mercantour National Park in southern France. It holds the largest quantity of open-air Bronze Age petroglyphs in Europe, after Val Camonica in Italy, and is given special note for the area's inclusion for the European Diploma of Protected Areas.
Thovarimala Ezhuthupara is a remotely located rock shelter in the Wayanad district of Kerala in India. Pre-historic stone age petroglyphs dating from around 1000 BC and after had been discovered here at a height of 500 m on Thovarimala. One can see the stone age rock engravings on the walls of these natural caves from top of Thovarimala. The rare historic treasure at Thovarimala throwing light into human habitation in the Wayanad area since ancient times, is yet to receive the protection of agencies like Archaeology Department, which preserves the Edakkal Caves just five kilometers away. The carvings, found on the upper side of the cave, depict few geometrical figures, an arrow, and one carving closely resembles a female genital organ. Recently more writings were located in this cave. The name Ezhuthupara means "writings on the stone."
The Painted Rock Petroglyph Site is a collection of hundreds of ancient petroglyphs near the town of Theba, Arizona, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The site is operated and maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and includes an improved campground as well as an informative walking trail showcasing the petroglyphs.
Painted Rock or Painted Rocks may refer to:
Aboriginal sites of New South Wales consist of a large number of places in the Australian state of New South Wales where it is still possible to see visible signs of the activities and culture of the Australian Aboriginals who previously occupied these areas.
The Serranía de Chiribiquete or Chiribiquete Mountains are a group of isolated table mountains in the Amazon Region of Colombia. The mountains are part of the western edge of the Guiana Shield. The area is protected as a national park. This area is habitat for the Chiribiquete emerald, an endemic hummingbird. The waterfall Caño Paujil originates from the Serranía de Chiribiquete.
The Cedar Breaks Archeological District, in Cimarron County, Oklahoma near Felt, is a 160-acre (65 ha) archeological site that was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It includes three contributing sites denoted Ci-193, Ci-194 and Ci-195; it includes rock art and at least one camp site area. It was listed on the National Register for its potential to yield information in the future.
The Picture Rock Pass Petroglyphs Site is in northern Lake County, Oregon, United States. The site is located near the summit of Picture Rock Pass on land administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The designs were scraped into a basalt boulder by ancient Native Americans, probably between 7,500 and 12,000 years ago. No one knows the meaning of the petroglyph designs. Because of its unique archaeological and cultural significance, the Picture Rock Pass Petroglyph Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Rock art in Iran includes archaeological petroglyphs, or carving in rock; pictographs, or painting on rock; and rock reliefs. Large numbers of prehistoric rock art, more than 50,000, have been discovered in Iran.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Petroglyphs .|