Capitol Reef NP

Tuesday October 7, 2014

We attended a Ranger talk about petroglyphs and the Fremont Culture. We learned that petroglyphs are etched into stone while pictograms are painted on. Anyway, the petroglyphs in the park were put there by the Fremont people, thought to be an offshoot of the Anasazi or Ancient Puebloans. But nobody really knows for sure.

No one really knows what the petroglyphs mean. The Ranger told us of an experiment where images of several petroglyphs were given to members of three tribes descended from the Ancient Puebloans – Ute, Navajo and Hopi – and asked them to interpret the images. All three came up with different interpretations.

So your guess is as good as any.

To me these guys look like aliens. And who’s to say they aren’t.

Petroglyphs of aliens?

Petroglyphs of aliens?

I’m not sure what the pictogram in the left center is, but I think it’s a bighorn sheep giving birth.

Petroglyph of bighorn sheep?

Petroglyph of bighorn sheep?

I was pretty sure Holly’s younger than I am, but after seeing this “autograph” dated April 9, 1911, I’m not so sure. H. Cook, Holly Cook? Coincidence? Maybe I should have another peek at her birth certificate.

Is this my Holly's autograph?

Is this my Holly’s autograph?

All kidding aside, while gazing at these petroglyphs I felt a spiritual connection to this long lost civilization. Even though I have no idea why they carved them or what they mean, does it really matter? It meant something to them to leave these images. And it meant something to me to be able to marvel at them.

We also found petroglyphs on our hike through the Capitol Gorge.

Capitol Gorge petroglyphs

Capitol Gorge petroglyphs

The Fremont people must have been prolific carvers of petroglyphs. And the ones we saw may have only been a fraction of the ones that may be out there.

Some day we may be able to translate these images the way we’ve been able to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics. Wouldn’t that be something?


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