Geological Survey shows ancient carvings on limestone boulders in northern Nevada’s high desert near Pyramid Lake. The carvings have been confirmed to be the oldest recorded petroglyphs in North America – at least 10, years old. The findings were published August in the Journal of Archaeological Science. This site was once the shoreline of the now dried up Winnemucca Lake. AP — Ancient rock etchings along a dried-up lake bed in Nevada have been confirmed to be the oldest recorded petroglyphs in North America, dating back at least 10, years. The petroglyphs found on limestone boulders near Pyramid Lake in northern Nevada’s high desert are similar in design to etchings found at a lake in Oregon that are believed to be at least 7, years old. Unlike later drawings that sometimes depict a spear or antelope, the carvings are abstract with tightly clustered geometric designs — some are diamond patterns, others have short parallel lines on top of a longer line. Scientists can’t tell for sure who carved them, but they were found on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s reservation land.


Jacobs The following article is excerpted from a paper I submitted as part of a Biology class environmental preservation writing project. The project focus was on preservation of the American Southwest desert. I choose prehistoric rock art as my topic.

Petroglyphs are commonly found on the black or brown surface (called desert varnish) of rock cliffs. The straight, smooth, red sandstone found in the Navajo and Wingate formations is a .

Image from a story on varnish: I expect that most people simply look at these dark streaks and think they are simply stains like a stain on a cement driveway or that line of rust color running down a wall from a rusty nail above. No big deal right? But what if you were shown a picture of the same rock taken 50 years earlier and the stains looked identical to you?

You might start to wonder just how old those stains are on those rocks. A week ago I posted pictures NH Photography:

Petroglyph National Monument, New Mexico

Calico Early Man Site. The Maturango Museum, Ridgecrest, CA There may have been people in Southern California more than 15, years ago, but the earliest remains with firm dating are about 11, years old which would place them at the end of the Pleistocene epoch. One region where very old archaeological remains are found is the “Great Basin.

Petroglyphs, of course, contain no organic matter, and if the paint used in pictographs is organic, that can be ascertained only by destroying the pictograph. Sometimes, stylistic similarities between an artifact and a petroglyph or pictograph can offer dating.

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Oldest Rock Art in North America Revealed

Caferzade In , archeologist Isaak Jafarzade began the first archeological investigation of the petroglyphs at Gobustan. Between to , teams identified and documented approximately 3, individual rock paintings on rocks. The most ancient petroglyphs have been identified as belonging to the th century B. However, it is assumed that life existed here even earlier and that Gobustan was one of the cradles of civilization.

A new study reported in the Journal of Archaeological Science shows Winnemucca petroglyphs, the oldest known petroglyphs in North America, date to at least 10, years ago and perhaps even as .

But who were the mysterious Paleolithic artists of these rock drawings? Stylistically, the drawings match the Paleolithic era, some 8, to 10, years ago. Lidia Zotkina A new expedition to the Ukok plateau, some 2, metres high in the Altai Mountains close to the modern-day Russian border with Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan, has found evidence that a set of intriguing petroglyphs are far older than previously thought. Stylistically, the drawings match the Paleolithic tradition, some 8, to 10, years ago.

If this is true, they will be the oldest in Siberia by several millennia. The Ukok Plateau is known for its thriving ancient societies highlighted by the elaborate burials of important people – including that of the remarkable tattooed ‘Ukok princess’ , pictured here. But she lived far more recently on the plateau, some 2, years ago. Elsewhere in the Altai Mountains, some areas have no petroglyphs at all, while certain places are like alfresco picture galleries left by our ancestors, dating from around 5, years ago, also less ancient than the oldest suspected Ukok images, which include pictures of horses and probably bison.

A number of problems prevent the straightforward dating of the drawings in this wild and stunning location on the Ukok plateau, yet despite these hurdles French academics who observed the petroglyphs this summer, like their Russian colleagues, believe them to be truly ancient. Siberian specialist Dr Lidia Zotkina said: The site on the Ukok plateau, known as the Kalgutinskoye Mine, located almost on the Russian-Mongolian border.

The Siberian Times ‘When the French archaeologists first arrived on the Ukok plateau and saw the petroglyphs they said: Obviously, the ancient people made a kind of sketch with stone and only after this engraved the petroglyph. Lidia Zotkina ‘This year we worked with geomorphologists from the laboratory EDYTEM Savoi – their main task was to determine when the glaciers left this site – and traceologists.

(PDF) A new method to date petroglyphs

For details of the earliest ivory carving of a human figure, see: Venus of Hohle Fels. Cupules are the earliest known prehistoric art , have been found on every continent except Antarctica, and were produced during all three eras of the Stone Age – Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic – as well as in historical times.

Dating: Dating petroglyphs is always a problem. The images engraved in the rocks along the Cȏa Valley include the horse and the ibex, both of which went extinct toward the end of the last Ice Age.

The seafarer connected the star dots. The god was the sun, and the goddess was Venus, and every eight years they unite. They shared equal attention by the ancient civilizations. Water flowed and five thousand years ago people determined that they could navigate the waters to explore the earth. Celestial guidance was developed with symbolic representation. The seafarers were interested in sailing on the waters and staying on islands, noting the safety the islands provided.

Out of land sight, new lands and islands were discovered by the seafarers, and they needed a way to preserve their findings, that is, locations. Realities needed to be expressed. Pictograms, or glyphs, were etched on stones and represented an object, a single symbol. Combining the symbols led to further expressions of reality.

Rock Art Dating Methods: Problems and Solutions

In January, local hikers came across the petroglyphs, probably carved by natives more than a thousand years ago. Archaeologists think the carvings can provide insight into the lives of the native people of the island nation of the Lesser Antilles before the arrival of European colonialists. Radiocarbon dating will give a more precise time frame for creation of the rock carvings.

Through careful analysis of the chemistry of layers a form of dating has been developed called VLM dating or varnish microlamination dating (more below). This form of dating has been used to date the ages of lava flows, rock falls, alluvial fans etc. in desert regions where rock varnish is commonly found.

Notes Native American tradition combined with scientific decoding methods indicate that “rock art” is really a sophisticated form of writing. The life-long research into Native American petroglyphs by LaVan Martineau, an orphan adopted into the Paiute tribe of southeastern Nevada and southwestern Utah, has resulted in detailed interpretations of the rock writings. His work, culminating in an interpretation of the famous Hopi Prophecy Rock, demonstrates a much greater information content in these picture-based drawings than was previously recognized.

Martineau’s research implies the existence of early ideograph-based writing systems that could convey detailed meanings without including phonetic sound-based components. Martineau’s Qualifications LaVan Martineau was uniquely prepared to take the first bold steps not only toward showing that the so-called Native American “rock art” was really rock writing, but also actually beginning to decipher their messages.

Let us take a brief look at his unusual background, which did not include university degrees in the subject which he pioneered, nor any related fields. LaVan had been good friends with many of the tribe since his early childhood when their village was located within the city limits. After he became an orphan with no relatives close by, a local Paiute man invited him in a matter-of-fact way, “Come, be my son.

Over the course of a lifetime, LaVan became thoroughly immersed in the culture and language of his adoptive people and eventually developed a sophisticated system for deciphering Native American petroglyphs.

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