Photo Friday: Petroglyph National Monument, NM

I want to share some of my photos from a favorite spot on our trip last month. The Petroglyph National Monument is located just to the west of Albuquerque, NM. The site contains an estimated 23000 images carved by native Pueblo peoples and early Spanish settlers. It was truly amazing to see so many petroglyphs in one area.

Mesa Point Trail climbs up the mesa (click on any image to enlarge)

There are three short trails in Boca Negra Canyon, and we took them all. The Mesa Point Trail was short, but went straight up a mesa – with lots of petroglyphs along the way.

humanoid and animal figures

The monument had great signage.

one of many explanatory signs

While many images were instantly recognizable, some were less obvious.

bird figure

humpbacked flute player (Kokopelli)

Some of the figures were especially hard to interpret. Like the one in the below photo that looked for all the world like a big rodent holding a tennis racket!

tennis, anyone?

birds, headdress, star

masked figure

view down the trail

snake figure

bird, with smiley face?

Macaws are not native to NM, so perhaps they were traded

family with pet?

yucca pods were food source

‘star person’ with headdress

We really enjoyed our visit to see the petroglyphs, and I hope you enjoyed the photos.

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10 Responses to Photo Friday: Petroglyph National Monument, NM

  1. Marcia says:

    What is it about those rocks that makes them such a good surface for those drawings? And how do archaeologists know that the petroglyphs are ancient and not recent graffiti? By the way there’s a great book about the southwest and the native peoples who lived there long ago called” Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession” and also “House of Rain – Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest” both by Craig Childs. In the latter he makes a great case for what happened to the Anasazi. Thought you might be interested.

    • Dave says:

      Some are recent graffiti. They’ve used dating techniques to try and determine the ages of the carvings.

      Thanks for the book ideas. I’ll check them out!

  2. Mike says:

    Really neat, I have always been fascinated with the peoples that lived in these seemingly desolate climates and how they were able to grow and gather their food. I have read that the Pueblo and Hopi people can trace their history back over 7,000 years…pretty amazing.

    • Dave says:

      It is amazing to me to see how people could exist, even thrive, under those challenging conditions there in the desert. But then the Australian Aboriginal peoples have lived for thousands of years in the Outback. I doubt I would last a week.

  3. Robin says:

    What a great park to visit.

  4. kitsapFG says:

    So interesting and some of them really do require some interpretation. Perhaps that is “family with meal” rather than “family with pet”!

  5. Katrina says:

    I went there a few summers ago on an across the country roadtrip. It was very interesting…did you climb all the way to the top of the pile of rocks?

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