Before written recordings of history we used bones, rocks and fossils to figure out what the world was like in the past.   Throughout history we have also done beautiful art work, but I feel like people forget where our ancestors first started- pictographs and petroglyphs. The graffiti of the past, as I like to call it; because thousands of years in the future I like to think that the graffiti and so called vandalism we do today will replace and be thought of  as the new pictographs and petroglyphs.

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Photo courtesy of Crysta Links, 2015

There are many pictographs and petroglyphs across Canada with their own traits and details that make it unique to those people that drew them long ago. The ancient paint they would make and use, how they would draw, or with petroglyphs, what they would use to carve. These all are aspects of pictographs and petroglyphs. Of course with all of pictographs and petroglyphs we can find similarilies.  Myths surrounding them that have traveled through these pictographs and petroglyphs for us to talk, theorize and discussed to this day. One of my favorite being Kokopelli. Kokopelli is believed to go all the way back to about 1300 years ago or even earlier. Now Kokopelli is quite the mystery for many reasons and little is known about this pictograph/petroglyph that covers a wide range of Canada and American.

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Photo courtesy of Donald Austin, Sand Carved Designs, 2002

I have learned many theories surrounding Kokopelli and can’t say I know which one is to be most likely- so much is questionable with the theories and myths that people have come up with.  One theory is that he would make the seasons change with his flute playing.  Another theory is that he was a representation of an insect that is common in Utah and New Mexico where this image is quite frequent.   It’s always been the same kind of image, an slightly bent back creature with arms holding a tube shaped object to its face. It’s one of the wonderful part of this character is that I feel like will never know but it’s 2016 and this image is still being talked about!

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Rock faces everywhere are covered in these ancient doodles and drawings. In some places where people had migrated in and out you can see the development, progress and style change as people had gone through and drawn over the hundreds and maybe even thousands of years!  I wonder what people in the future will theorize about our pictographs, peteoglyphs, I mean grafitti.  Look for petroglyphs, pictographs and grafitti in your area.

Author: Anna