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No. 20: Mar-Apr 1982

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Unfortunately, we cannot reproduce this huge assemblage of marvelously intricate petroglyphs here; but be assured that they are not haphazard doodlings of unaccomplished primitives. We quote from the author's abstract:

"A recently discovered sheltered rock scar with red pictographs, in Jalisco, west Mexico, is a major addition to the rather meager data on pictographs in Mesoamerica. It appears to contain a complex set of data pertaining to the cosmology of the relatively unknown Indians who inhabited the Jalisco coast during the last Pre-Hispanic period. Analysis of the scar has incorporated both the artistic symbolism of the nearby Huichol Indians, and concepts developed through archaeoastronomy. This analysis suggests that the ceiling pictographs record the use of sky transits of the sun, Venus, or the constellation Orion as wet season/dry season calendric markers. Wall pictographs show the sun on the mountainous horizon, below which is the earth filled with symbols of plants and animals, among these stand shamans calling down the life-giving rain from the god(s) of the sky. I also explore the possibility that one of the ceiling pictographs is a record of the appearance of the Crab supernova in the sky in A.D. 1054."

(Mountjoy, Joseph B.; "An Interpretation of the Pictographs at La Pena Pintada, Jalisco, Mexico," American Antiquity, 47:110, 1982.)

Reference. Petroglyphs and other forms of ancient writing are covered in our Handbook: Ancient Man. Ordering data at: here.

From Science Frontiers #20, MAR-APR 1982. 1982-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987