Writing comes in many forms. I have written in the past about the 13th century student’s notes found in Novgorod scribbled on birch-bark or the Roman writing tablet found in England. An unusual kind of a newspaper is reported by the Vintage News. The “Rock That Tells a Story” is a slab of stone which is covered in Native American petroglyphs and depicts lives of centuries ago in Utah and Arizona.
The news, spanning some 2,000 years, include snakes and broad-shouldered animal-headed men, crammed in with shapes that resemble wagon wheels, bighorn sheep, lizards, and turtles. Men on horseback are also shown late in the art’s history–starting about 650 years ago. More than 650 images have been identified, with herds of deer, bison, hunters, and oversize human footprints striding carefully through it all.
The art was made by using a sharp object to peck away the desert varnish, a hard, dark film of oxidation that forms on rock in the arid Southwest. The lighter cream-colored rock beneath glows brightly still, making for a dramatic picture.
Archaeologists say the artwork was carved by Native Americans in both prehistoric and early historic periods including peoples from the Archaic, Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, Anglo, and Pueblo cultures. The first engravings were probably done about 2,000 years ago.
The Navajo are still in the area, and they have their own name for the site. They call it “Tse’ Hone”–the rock that tells a story.
Locals have a different, yet similar name for it: Newspaper Rock. The Rock was designated a state historic monument in 1961. In 1976, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Indian Creek State Park. Luckily for visitors, the site is not far from the well-traveled access road to the popular Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. It’s also just over 50 miles from Moab, Utah.
Some of the rock art samples are believed to indicate calendar events, family and clan symbols, territory markers, and even spiritual symbolism. However, many of the clans and cultures which produced it are gone. The story of what happened to them is lost to the desert winds–and on a Rock that archaeologists are still struggling to decipher.
For more photos of Tse’ Hone, visit the original post on the Vintage News.