Ranger Kathryn's Arches

October 16, 2012

Four anthropomorphs and Siamese twins

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 6:35 am
Tags: , , , ,

Classic Fremont petroglyphs: trapezoidal figures with necklaces, ear bobs and headdresses. These also have shields and a spear.

From our vantage point in a high alcove across the canyon, the large trapezoidal figure seemed to watch us. We watched back — first through binoculars, and then a scramble down and up to approach it. Only then were his three companions discovered, all appearing to hold shields. This is the absolute beauty of rock art: the continual unfolding of images. Meanings, though, usually lay hidden across centuries.

Staring at petroglyphs is warmly satisfying. As one’s eyes adjust and scan toward the periphery, more bits come into view. Questions arise like bubbling springs: Was that large spear for hunting, or for defense? Hmm: you don’t carry shields for hunting. Who was threatening them? Why did some artist add ear-bobs to the lowest guy, much later? Is the little man in the right center holding a sparkling timer? What were their necklaces made of? What about those headdresses? Why is only one weapon on display?

Current-century questions also arise. What kind of person would use priceless rock art for target practice? As much as the bullet holes detract from the aesthetic, they can’t mar the inherent beauty of these powerful figures.

Conjoined twins pecked into rock?

Meanwhile, in another part of the county, girlfriend Tara found this petroglyph that looks for all the world like men who are Siamese twins. Never in all my thousands of glyphs have I seen anything like this one, and it piques my curiosity. Many cultures would put the babies out to die if they were born connected, or in some way different from normal. My midwife mind wonders whether a woman eight centuries ago could even successfully birth conjoined twins, when they are always born by Cesarean nowadays. Perhaps this image was something a shaman ‘saw’ in a trance, instead.

 

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