Picture Rocks: American Indian Rock Art in the Northeast Woodlands

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UPNE, 2002 - Social Science - 280 pages
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Located along rivers, at the edges of lakes, on mountain boulders, in rock shelters, on rock ledges where the continent meets the ocean, and tucked into parks and public places, American Indian rock art offers tantilizing glimpses of the signs and symbols of a Native American culture.
Picture Rocks documents all known permanent petroglyph and pictograph sites from the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the six New England states, New York, and New Jersey. Some sites are subject to disputes over their origins—Indian or Portuguese? Some are ancient, and others, such as the work of the Mi’kmaq, were executed in the past 200 years. Many of these sites are little known; others, like those at Bellows Falls, Vermont, are sources of great local pride and appear on city walking tours.
Interspersing his own interpretations with comments from scholars and Native American storytellers, Edward J. Lenik provides a definitive look at an extraordinary art form. Two hundred illustrations include historic sketches by early Euro-American colonists, nineteenth-century photographs, and recent photographs and drawings of the current conditions of many sites.

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Prehistoric Rock Art in, Iran
Rock Arts and Rock Museums
Prehistoric Rock Art around Khomein (Markazi Prov.); Photographs by Mohammad Nasirifard
Rock arts or petroglyphs are the oldest historical traces left behind from the ancient men. In other words, these rock arts vividly represent the very basis of the creation of secret writing systems, how to convey messages, the origin of language, history, myths and human cultures. The number of these arts amounts to twenty one thousand in the region of khomein, some of them dated at about 4000 years ago1. Man has not been able to discover such historical phenomena with such an antiquity up to now.
What is a rock art or a petroglyph?
Simply stated, this art refers to any paintings on carvings or rocks .If those writings or painting on rocks are painted ,they will be described as pictographs ,and if these picture or writings are engraved or carved into the stones, they are known as petrographs or petroglyphs(in positive carvings a picture is chipped out of rock and in negative carvings, a picture is carved in rocks).Most often, pictographs are seen in the old caves, which are all of a short life due to natural forces and their existence for a long time is because of the fact that they have been preserved against such forces. But petroglyphs are also seen both in the caves and in the open-air places.
A large number of petroglyphs in the open-air have been destroyed and will be destroyed by heat, cold, wind, rain and freezing unfortunately, on the other hands, some are also destroyed by careless people or in road-building projects. To reckon the age of Iran's pertroglyps is different from the view points of experts. Some of them believe they are 40000 years old. [1] These reckonings have been conducted comparatively and not made on the basis of" micro erosion analysis".
The percentage of Iran's petroglyphs, using random sampling .
1 The symbolic ibex with big curved horn 88%
2 The paintings of bow man dressed,undressed,on the horse, on foot while hunting 3%
3 Paintings symbolizing power loops, writings and mysterious letters or shapes 2%
4 Paintings of horse-back riders in different positions 2%
5 Paintings of hump-backed camels. 2%
6 Paintings of leopards, wolfs, foxes, rats, etc. 1%
7 Paintings of deer and rams 1%
8 Geometrical paintings. 0.5%
9 Plant painting. 0.5%
The paintings on the walls are interesting for biologists,historians, sociologists, anthropologists, archeologists and mythologists; they are remarkable to those studying cultures and languages , historical arts and decorations. The reason why 90% of paintings on the stones are ibexes, indicates the beliefs of the ancient Iranians, their, religion, their culture and their folklore in thousands of years ago. These areas with the paintings stated here in are really Rock Museums and Rock Arts influencing every viewers. By the means, how is it possible for these unlettered men to create such fine arts?
To study pertroglyphs requires a series of modern sciences like anthropology, archeology, history ,symbolism, fine arts, mytheology, chemistry(temperature, moisture, PH)and microerosion analysis, etc. A science can't study them on its own. To understand them, all the sciences and all the authorities in different fields must be involved systematically. To locate these petroglyphs in Iran is the first step to study and introduce these historical and national symbols .Many nations and countries spend a lot of money on their annual tours to watch these petroglyphs and some countries, while issuing their cultures, gain a lot of money from this industry compared to their earnings from the oil wells.
In a very near future, we necessarily introduce these historical values to all of the experts and those interested in conducting a research in to them.
Rock art is an example of universal arts, which is the oldest one among the others in the world. This art is the most outstanding imaginative art, since it is one of the most common methods to convey cultural messages and




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About the author (2002)

EDWARD J. LENIK is a member of the American Rock Art Research Association and the Eastern States Rock Art Research Association and past president of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey and the Eastern States Archaeological Federation. His published work includes Indians in the Ramapos (2000) and Iron Mine Trails (1996).

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