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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Holbrook in Navajo County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

A Canvas for Ideas

 
 
A Canvas for Ideas Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
1. A Canvas for Ideas Marker
Inscription. The dark coating on the boulder below you is desert varnish – a concentration of mineral, clay, and organic material that accumulates over time. Prehistoric artists created rock art by exposing the lighter material underneath. But what do these symbols mean? Unlike contemporary writing, petroglyphs are not letters or sounds. Instead they represent the ideas of the artist. Like all of us, the creators of these petroglyphs were trying to communicate with the world around them.

Present day indigenous oral traditions help us understand what petroglyphs might mean. Members of the Zuni tribe believe that this rock art depicts clan ties of the artist – perhaps a mother from the Crane Clan and father from the Frog Clan. An alternative Hopi interpretation recalls stories of a giant bird that came to villages to eat bad children.

What do you think large bird pytroglyph represent? Visitors often say “a stork and a baby,” which is a European oral tradition with a different cultural history. Yet the image is similar to a native bird at Petrified Forest. The white-faced ibis is a water bird that eats frogs and other small animals. If you look closely, you can see what might represent water drops below the frog. Instead of a literal interpretation, this petroglyph likely represents aquatic resources and
A Canvas for Ideas Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
2. A Canvas for Ideas Marker
fertility. Around the world, people in arid regions show reverence and give thanks for water through symbols such as fish, tadpoles, and dragonflies. What do you think that these symbols might represent?
 
Erected by Petrified National Forest Services.
 
Location. 34° 58.473′ N, 109° 47.629′ W. Marker is in Holbrook, Arizona, in Navajo County. Marker can be reached from Petrified Forest Road, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Holbrook AZ 86025, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Whispers from the Past (a few steps from this marker); Summer Solstice Marker (within shouting distance of this marker); Meaning of Place (within shouting distance of this marker); Life in the Village (within shouting distance of this marker); Village on the Rio Puerco (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Santa Fe Railroad (about 700 feet away); Newspaper Rock (approx. 0.9 miles away); Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs Archeological District (approx. 0.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Holbrook.
 
Categories. Native AmericansNotable Places
 
A Canvas for Ideas Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
3. A Canvas for Ideas Marker
Petroglyphs image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
4. Petroglyphs
Petroglyphs image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
5. Petroglyphs
Petroglyphs image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
6. Petroglyphs
Petroglyphs image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
7. Petroglyphs
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. This page has been viewed 276 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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