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No. 20: Mar-Apr 1982

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A RECENTLY DISCOVERED "BOOK" OF PETROGLYPHS

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