Following the ancients in SW New Mexico (1 Viewer)

NewMexicoJim

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People have lived here for many thousands of years and some have left signs of their passing that have lasted through the ages. What were they trying to say? We can only guess. These were found while following the trail of the old Butterfield Stage Route in Grant and Luna Counties. Most of the land out here is BLM land and the roads are as rough as the landscape. I had to stop driving at one point as the road became too rough even for my 4x4. I was pretty far up Fryingpan Canyon and somewhere in here was the last stagecoach stop before attempting the most treacherous part of the entire journey, crossing the pass over the Cooke's Range to Ft. Cummings on the east side where protection, water and rest awaited the weary traveler. I could see tracks on the hill in the distance left by the stage as it crawled up the last leg toward the pass. Everyone had to be alert here as this was a favorite ambush spot for the Chiricahua Apache who resented the invaders taking over scarce water sources. Stage passengers complained so much about the bleached bones of previous travelers that the Colonel in charge of Ft. Cummings had to send a detail to collect the bones for disposal in a mass grave.

These petroglyphs aren't a product of the Apache, they are far more ancient and the people who made these likely never encountered the Apache. We know little of their lives except for the enigmatic carvings the left for us to ponder over.

MVIMG_20201009_153319.jpg

MVIMG_20201009_153811.jpg

MVIMG_20201009_155631.jpg

MVIMG_20201009_155639.jpg

MVIMG_20201009_154101.jpg

MVIMG_20201009_150014.jpg
 
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Coywolf

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Wow, ya I have never seen those types of petroglyphs before. My knowledge of southern Utah/northern AZ petroglyphs makes me want to say that those are 'newer' petroglyphs, perhaps indigenous tribes traveling north from what is now Mexico on a trade route, or perhaps Apache.

The reason I say this is because of the figure that looks to have eyeglasses, and a beard, that coyote/wolf track glyph, and that incredibly detailed owl type glyph...

From what I have studied regarding glyphs, is that sort of detail was not introduced until post 17-1800, usually the ancestreal puebloan/southern AZ and NM tribes of pre 1700 glyphs were much more simple. However, I am nowhere near an expert on the matter. These almost look as if they do have a more south american influence.

Very nice pics. I always love to see people getting out and exploring the remote areas of the southwest!
 

NewMexicoJim

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I could go on all day about ancient rock art. I've been photographing sites for years and studying some of the lore and science behind interpretation and have come to the conclusion that we know next to nothing about the art of the ancient peoples. We do know that it reflects aspects of their daily lives, their spiritual beliefs, perhaps even some type of instruction or direction and clan symbols among other things but not much more.

I have read that these are Mogollon Culture, 200-1400 BCE. That culture spanned an enormous area including most of Arizona, New Mexico, Northern Mexico and West Texas. You made a good point about trade routes and I'm sure this was on a major North-South route connecting people from as far away as Central America to their northern neighbors. Copper from this area has been found in Mexico and even the US East coast. Macaws from the tropics were raised and sold, prized for their colorful feathers. Turquoise was valued and traded too. Consider corn, which started as a tiny grass seed which spread from its origin in Mexico to all parts of the Americas. Innovation, technology, goods have always been traded and I'm sure the art reflects much of that.

From looking at numerous sites, It's clear to me that these sites were used for long periods of time. We know people have been in the Americas for well over ten thousand years and all had artistic sensibilities so why wouldn't we see art that spans the ages at these sites? I've seen panels that had some so old you could barely make them out, covered with lichen and worn down by millennia of weathering and next to them were others obviously made within the last few hundred years.

Here's a panel I was fortunate to see when I worked at Wupatki National Monument. This was a at Crack-in-Rock ruin, an amazing structure perched on a small hill surrounded by 30 foot cliffs and only accessible from a small crack barely wide enough for one person to pass. The surrounding cliffs had an astounding amount of art and the building on top was obviously some type of spiritual center or possibly fortress rather than a dwelling.
Wupatki.JPG

Now compare it to ones above as well as this panel from the same place:
MVIMG_20201009_154331.jpg

Or this:
MVIMG_20201009_151834.jpg

This was 40mi north in the Gila near Lake Roberts. Pictographs that are possibly Apache:
P1000743.JPG
 
Last edited:

Timothy Englert

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Buffalo Ny
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People have lived here for many thousands of years and some have left signs of their passing that have lasted through the ages. What were they trying to say? We can only guess. These were found while following the trail of the old Butterfield Stage Route in Grant and Luna Counties. Most of the land out here is BLM land and the roads are as rough as the landscape. I had to stop driving at one point as the road became too rough even for my 4x4. I was pretty far up Fryingpan Canyon and somewhere in here was the last stagecoach stop before attempting the most treacherous part of the entire journey, crossing the pass over the Cooke's Range to Ft. Cummings on the east side where protection, water and rest awaited the weary traveler. I could see tracks on the hill in the distance left by the stage as it crawled up the last leg toward the pass. Everyone had to be alert here as this was a favorite ambush spot for the Chiricahua Apache who resented the invaders taking over scarce water sources. Stage passengers complained so much about the bleached bones of previous travelers that the Colonel in charge of Ft. Cummings had to send a detail to collect the bones for disposal in a mass grave.

These petroglyphs aren't a product of the Apache, they are far more ancient and the people who made these likely never encountered the Apache. We know little of their lives except for the enigmatic carvings the left for us to ponder over.

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Thanks for sharing. That whole area makes me want to live in Silver City to explore those hills.
 

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