How They Were Made
Petroglyphs were pecked on the exposed surfaces of boulders covered with desert varnish. This is a thin coat of iron or manganese, bacteria, and other organic deposits which slowly builds up on the rock surface.
This pecking was done with a direct blow from a hand-sized, hard, rounded rock called a hammerstone. If this hammerstone were used along with a chisel, there was greater control with a better effect. To have a well-drawn figure, a lightly pecked outline would be drawn first.
The interpretation is usually not possible. Determining the age is also difficult.
Anthropomorphs and karachinas represent human form. The former may have complete bodies, but no facial features. The latter are heads or masks with facial features.
Zoomorphs include large and small animals, reptiles, and birds.
Hands and tracks include bear paws, bird tracks, cloven hooves, human feet, and hand prints.
Geometrics consist of textile and pottery designs, spirals, circles, and other geometric shapes.
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(This page was updated in November 2012.)