©Bert Gildart: Let’s entitle this posting “Earth Mother,” for one of the most significant images depicts a woman giving birth to the animals which came to inhabit the earth.
Earth Mother panel is set in the Sedona area and is managed by the Forest Service. The setting is referred to as the Palatki Red Cliffs Heritage Site and it contains not only several panels of pictographs and petroglyphs, but the ruins of a dwelling and a site referred to as the Agave Roasting Pit.
Unfortunately the tour has become so popular that there were not enough interpreters (required) to lead us to the roasting site. Nevertheless, the panels are impressive, for not only is there an image of Earth Mother, but some of images document great antiquity — dating back over 10,000 years! What’s more several of the panels hold some of the best preserved examples of Indian art in North America.
ANIMALS ARE CREATED
Interpretation of the panel that was of particular interest to us began with our guide pointing with a small beam of light to the Earth Mother. “She’s giving birth to an animal,” said our guide, “while other types of animals are standing around.” (Earth Mother is in the upper right hand corner of the image just above.)
L to R: The rock art shown here are all pictographs and they represent just a few of the hundreds contained on the several panels at Palatki. Image on right is a close up of Earth Mother giving birth to the earth’s animals.
The interpreter continues, asking if we can recognize any of the species. She says that when she looks closely she sees deer or antelope, wolves, coyotes, and birds of various types.
From the Mother Earth panel, we moved on to a wall with a few petroglyphs, created by pecking as opposed to those created from actual pigments.
VIPS PROVIDE SIMULATING TALKS
According to the interpreter some of the rock art is truly ancient, “perhaps 10,000 years old.” She continued, saying pictographs can be aged using radio carbon dating techniques. In the year 2000, a black charcoal pigment yielded an age of 1080 from the Earth Panel.
From yet another room known as the Grotto, aging techniques dated a few of the pictographs to the Paleo Period, which goes back 11,000 years.
Truly, images from these panels are of great archaeological significance — and the public is fortunate that these remnants from some of North America’s earliest inhabitants were rescued from vandals. Sadly, many such examples of Native American culture were destroyed.
AIRSTREAM TRAVELS FOUR YEARS AGO:
*Four years ago we were in JEROME — just as we were two nights ago.