Messages in the Rocks #3 – Crooked River Petroglyph!
Rocks are like little history books – sometimes what they’re made of can tell us a lot, and sometimes they record other kinds of history for us!
Here’s a photo of a very special rock at the Cove Palisades. It’s saying something – can you figure out what it’s telling us? I’ll give you a hint – the messages are in another language!
This rock is whispering about the secrets of the past.
The amazing basalt boulder is called the Crooked River Petroglyph, and used to reside on the western flank of the Crooked River, not far from the northern tip of The Island. The 18-ton rock was nearly covered by water as Lake Billy Chinook filled in 1964, but was rescued and put on display.
The carvings, called petroglyphs (whereas paintings are known as pictographs), are at least 2,000 years old but reflect a style of carving that is nearly 6,000 years old. People often ask what’s pictured on the rock, but the truth is, we don’t know. Some of these carvings were done by participants during profound spiritual ceremonies; other carvings were designed to warn of particular danger, or to represent an entity protecting the area.
We’ll never know what our petroglyph means, and that’s okay. We live too far out of time and context to understand the drawings, but we can still honor this piece of history by respecting it and the people descendent of its makers. The Warm Springs Confederated Tribes, which include the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute, are still here; they have a vibrant culture reflected in this beautiful high desert landscape, both in material and abstract ways. For more information, visit the Museum at Warm Springs, just about 30 minutes north of the park. (Fun fact to share: the outside of the building is designed in symbols important to the tribes – the round front entrance reflects the opening of a drum, and the brick work around the main building is in the style of a traditional Klickitat basket weave!)
Another way we can honor the history of the first people here is by preserving their art: so we ask visitors to never touch rock art of any sort, as it’s damaged by the oils and salts in our skin. Never graffiti or carve on rock art, or make rubbings of carvings. The two things we’d like you to take from the ancient site are photographs to share, and a respect for all indigenous cultures!
What do you see in the stone? Come visit the petroglyph and see if it has something to tell you!
Posted on August 23, 2013, in History and tagged cove palisades state park, crooked river petroglyph, first nations, honoring, inndigenous, museum at warm springs, Oregon State Parks, paiute, petroglyphs, pictographs, respect, rock art, sacred, the cove, tribes, warm springs, wasco. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.