Unexpected Bonus

When we decided to visit the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, we had no idea that we would also get to see the remnants of an ancient Pueblo village and, more importantly, some more cool petroglyphs. It’s a long drive from one end of the park to the other, but right in the middle are the remnants of an ancient pueblo.  While it wasn’t nearly as intriguing as some of the sites I’ve seen in other areas in recent years, it is a reminder of what life must have been like for the people who lived here.

Looking at the present surroundings, it’s hard to imagine how someone could have survived here, but nearby petroglyphs suggest that it must have been successful enough to allow time to create art.  The different styles here also seem to suggest that the village was occupied over a long period of time, while the antelope suggest there must have been game available.

For me, though, the most interesting petroglyph was this one, which appears to show an Ibis (with the downward curving bill) eating a frog.  If there were Ibis nearby, that, in turn, suggests that at some point there must have been wetlands nearby.

Several miles away from the pueblo there are even more significant petroglyphs.  This large rock covered in petroglyphs sits below a very steep cliff and requires that you use a large telephoto lens, binoculars, or the provided scopes to see them. The people we talked to as we drove up said that couldn’t find them at all.  The fact that it’s nearly impossible to read the petroglyphs on the left side of the rock because of the direction of the sun helps to explain why they can be so hard to see.

Someone obviously had a lot on their mind, and a lot of time to say what it was judging from this rock.  It’s too bad we still can’t completely understand what they were trying to say, and probably never will.