the ranch: petroglyphs

Enjoyed a wonderful and scenic MLK weekend at the ranch in northern New Mexico. Sprout #2, the Son-in-Law, and the 2 Grands invited us to tag along on their adventure and we quickly nodded YES.

Since my camera is jam-packed with images from this trip, I’m going to write a short series. I’ll write three blogs about the ranch. Hopefully, I’ll have them all posted by the end of the week. Stay tuned, chicken-wingers!!

First topic: petroglyphs, or rock art. I’d heard about the drawings but never had the chance to see them. Seeing the petroglyphs was my first request for a ranch outing.

Four adults, two babies, and 3 faux-ranch dogs piled in the 4-wheeler for the half-hour drive to the site.

gator
My top-notch archeological crew. Explore we must!
jeepview
We set to the northeast. The baby protested the ride as too bumpy. We held her tight, but explained this was her initiation into hardy ranch life.
entrancetoglyphs
This is the entrance to the petroglyphs. This is in a very remote area….away from any main road. It is highly unlikely one would stumble upon this site. The first petroglyph is seen on the thin rock on the right. The glyphs are written on the surface of the thin rock facing towards the large rock.
zigzags
These zig-zag designs are the first indication of what mysteries await inside.
audincave
Sprout #2 in the ‘roomy’ portion of the cave. I’m not exaggerating when I say one must crawl on his belly to make it through this area. This makes photographing the petroglyphs difficult. The space is very tight….and snake-y. Note the cave dog.
petroglyph1
The best overall view of the rock surface with the petroglyphs. What do you see?
petroglyph2
Another view. These shots are taken with a flash, since there’s not much daylight in the cave.
petroglyph3
I’m guessing this is a bighorn sheep. Note some of the carved area is lighter in color and some of the carved area is almost black. The images are more black the more centrally located in the cave.
petroglyph4
Not sure about this image. Thought it might be a rabbit, but it could be a couple of smaller images.
petroglyph
This image of a deer intrigues me. One can see every small carving pock and bump. The snake-like tendril meanders around the deer and the face of the rock. Can you spot the smaller images to the right of the deer? One (looks like a fish) above right, and a smaller animal-thing lower right. Isn’t that amazing?
sophincave
These images look as though they would continue on the rock’s surface as it enters the soil. Would we find more if we did some digging? I think it’s a possibility. The cave-bichon is intently waiting for the ‘dig’ command.
human
This image is outside the cave. Is this drawing a representation of a human form? That’s my guess. There are no figures (that we could see) inside the cave that look like this.

These glyphs lit a fire in my imagination. Spent 3 hours on the internet last evening trying to discern if these are of some Plains Indian tribe origin….or if they are earlier than that. These images did not seem to match images I researched of the Pueblo Indians. The fact that these glyphs are dark seems to be a little unusual. Most photos I saw were of dark rocks with lighter petroglyphs. Why is that? Are these images so old the surface has darkened because of some chemical reaction? Have they been underwater? Are there more underground? Could they be….prehistoric? Were they carved in this small cave-space or has the rock moved with time? Or…..is all of this recent activity? My research indicates these things are incredibly difficult to date. My obsessive-compulsive self has surfaced and I’ve dreamed for two nights of these drawings. I wish I knew more about things like this.

Are you betting I’m gonna find someone who does?

If you know anyone who might shed some light on the origins of this rock art, please feel free to forward this post. I’ll talk to anyone.

I must end this post with a photo of our budding natural-scientist. She occupied herself on a blanket on the ground while we explored the cave.

hannahwithhat
Seems she’s studying the native New Mexico grasses.

Look for other ranch-posts this week, if you are interested. I’ve got some fun things to show you.

Dream-catcher love to all.

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