Monday, December 15, 2008

Understanding the Indigenous Person petroglyph as they exist in the Eel River and Mattole drainage.

Indian Rock Photo By Robin Shelly.

I've been to this rock many times.

With the exception of the top photo, all of the following photos are taken from a California State Parks website. I have not personally been to any of these sites, but according to the states website these are all in the Eel river drainage. According to the State Parks these petroglyphs were carved during the period of 2,500 to 500 years ago. I have personally see many Indian petroglyphs. The zig-zag line is at most of the sites that I've seen, and circles inside of circles. Small, sometimes deep cupules, about two inches in diameter are common. Cupules are all over California, there is a rock in San Diego with identical cupules to what we have right here in the Eel River Canyon. I've seen crows foot patterns about a foot long. I've heard conflicting reports of what they all mean. My cousin Jim Newland had the best theory that I've heard. He said that it was probably the kids, or the young people screwing around and trying to outdo each other. If you look a today's society and try to decide which among us would do these sorts of things, it bears some consideration. Maybe we may give too much meaning to things that we don't understand, or maybe we should try to understand harder.

Some say that the rocks were carved to attract rain. but I can't believe that the north coast would ever be so dry that it would concern the Indian people. Some say that they were maps. If they were maps, why don't they look like maps. I couldn't follow them, and I was born here. What really makes me wonder are the cupules. There should be some explanation for them, because they are so common. Maybe it was a religious ceremony. If you sinned, it would be like saying three Hail Marys, only you had to carve a cupule to atone for your sins.

At anyrate I've not heard anything difinitive about the Rock carving. But I do enjoy hearing the theories. I think that just like most things, if you speculate enough the truth comes out. Maybe it was something as simple as art. Stranger things have been done as art.

Elaborate rock pecking

Pecked patterns, and possible fertility lines

This "lost site" was identified by historic photographs and descriptions as the same one noted in 1913 during surveys for the railroad.

Deeply incised lines are superimposed over other elements at the site. These may be related to Wailaki female fertility rituals as described for the Pomo.

The same cupules that we have in Californie are found on a cave wall in India. They are of the same size and seemingly random order as the California Indian people made. Only these were made up to a half a million years ago.


EkoVox said...

My father found a couple of sites in his years of traversing the backcountry of the South Fork of the Trinity region. Except for showing a Forest Service archelologist, he decided to take the location of the finds to his grave. That was kind of the way my dad was.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Eko, I'm a lot like that myself. I share with those I trust. A lot of these sites are well known and hard to hide, most all of the known sites have been vandalized.

Some of the rocks that had Indian writing on then were carved on by the pony soldiers. Back in the 1800's it was vandalism. Now it's history.

It's like my cousin said the old Indian folks probably got all upset that "Those Damn kids were scratching up the rocks again".

Ernie Branscomb said...

I did want to do another post about Manzanita, and include the story about the time that my dad had my Grandmother bake him a Manzanita berry pie. Apparently Gramma told him that if he would pick them, and clean them, she would make him a pie. I remember the story from when I was a kid, but I’m the only one that remembers it. I guess it’s because I always wanted to try one. I asked my mother and she doesn’t remember the story. I think she must be hanging out at some of your gigs.

Anyway she said that she doesn’t imagine that it was much good. She is good with decisions like that. I probably won’t be able to talk her into making me a pie!

I don’t know, but I’ve been told, that Manzanita berries are nutritious, but should only be eaten with other food, because they are very pulpy and will plug you up. No Fun!

Kym said...

One year the Salmon Creek school went to a rock North East of Miranda. It was on private land and I foolishly allowed the directions and the people's names to disappear. I would love to take the kids there again. The day was magic and the rock so full of history (white people's names were cared there from the early 1800's, too) that I felt I was in a cathedral.

SoHumBorn said...

Hey Ernie,
Feel free to comment on my page. We've been introduced. Take my word for it. I like you. I love your blogg, as a native it really touches me and I thank you for helping us hold on to our history. Please take my blogg as an illustration of life here... not my biography.

Carol said...

Fascinating. I had no idea that these special places existed here.

suzy blah blah said...

if you speculate enough the truth comes out.

suzys one very new pagan aged huppy girl but and so
she can read a petroglyph or 2 for yo
trance-late afternoon--shes in that groove
now the poetroy can begin to
queen of rocks she rolls it up
dust to dust saved in a cup
smoke rising with spirit positive
rust and clay 2 u i give

merry equinox

gotta go its almaost 420!!

suzy blah blah said...

oK that was a good 420braek .... now suzys back LOL ,,, Manzanita berrys -- we dry them and morter and pestle them to dust then steep with peppermint for apple minty tasting tea... soooooooooooo good a tonic
i like it almaost as much as coffee LOL.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks for the recipe Suzy. All I can find is frozen manzanita. You think it'll work anyway?

Anonymous said...

Those cupules on the wall in India look like they were made by sea urchins. That is only a guess but have seen hundreds of those cupules on low tide and all had sea urchins in them. I can't tell by the scale what size the ones in India are but most of the ones I've seen are around 3 to 4 inches in diameter.