It has been assumed by archeologists and historians that the
petroglypth method of writing and communication preceded writing
in general, and that once writing systems were developed that
the use of petroglyphs ceased. In the minds of many, petroglyphs
were used exclusively by prehistoric man (or creatures) who were
limited in their abilities to communicate. Interestingly enough,
this is only a theory, for there are many fascinating facts about
petroglyphs that many historian have failed to grasp. First, petroglyphs
and petroglyphic writing can be found over most of the face of
the earth. Much of this form of writing is found in deserts, but
not exclusively so. Petroglyphs are found on every continent,
and they are surprisingly similar. Also, the use of petroglyphic
communication has continued right up until the 20th century. The
photo below is of a petroglyph made by the Ute tribe in North
America in 1911. It shows the wreck of locomotive Consolidation
No. 10, on the Uintah Railway. Much can be learned about how petroglyphs
can be read by refering to petroglyphs that were written about
Above: Left: The petroglyph, Right a Photo of the event.
In the last few years great efforts have been made to read
petroglyphs and understand how they were used. In essence the
individual parts of the picture are read like one would read 'sign
language' used by the deaf. If you are interested in pursuing
this topic further, a good place to start is The
Rocks Begin to Speak, by LaVan Martineau, KC Publications,
Las Vagas, Nevada, 1973. (The two photos above were taken from
pages 124 and 126 of this book).
- Above: A Nabataean Camel caravan. Note the difference
between the camels at the top and the loaded camel at the bottom.
- Above: A horse rider behind a loaded camel.
- Loaded camels traveling away from a fortification,
with the camel drivers walking.
- Above: Ibexes with long horns