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Petroglyphs as Celestial Markers

Venus 1218 pmImages depicted in Southwestern petroglyphs are open to interpretation due to the absence of a written record explaining the ancient artist's intentions. However, certain petroglyphs found at various sites throughout the region appear similar to one another and so have led many researchers to propose that they depict heavenly bodies (see also photo on left) or a specific astronomical event like a coronal mass ejection or a supernova. Other petroglyphs have been found to track recurring events like solstices and equinoxes; these markers are typically spirals across which rock shadows or daggers of light trace the sun's path across the sky (photo on right). The Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project (MPPP) has something a bit different...

The Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project (MPPP) near Velarde in northern New Mexico aims to preserve and protect an archaeological site that includes over 100,000 petroglyphs. Some depict flute players but unlike other sites, several of Mesa Prieta's flute players are animals. The MPPP discovered that one of the flute-playing animals serves as a marker for the spring and autumn equinoxes. Watch MPPP's time lapse video of the interplay of petroglyph and rock shadow in a way that you may never have seen before. Please enjoy.

/s/ webmaster [Photos by M.Smith, video by MPPP.]


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