Thursday, January 26, 2012
PETROGLYPHS AND BUTTERFIELD
In 2009 we hiked to Fort Bowie, near Chiriacahua National Monument and caught a glimpse of the Butterfield Trail. I knew it was a stagecoach line to deliver the mail out west. We hadn't even read the BLM information on the Painted Rock Petroglyphs when we say hello to a stranger who just happens to be an expert on the Butterfield Trail and this whole area in general. He just published a book, The Butterfield Trail And Overland Mail Company In Arizona. Jerry Ahnert's book was identified by the government as the definitive historical work on the subject.
The Butterfield Trail ran from Missouri to the Pacific, 3,000 miles, a transcontinental highway, that passes near the petroglyphs. In fact, Butterfield was a New Yorker with stage lines in the East. He hired two guys, named Wells and Fargo. They all drove stages at one time, according to Jerry.
Petroglyphs have ancient origins and these are typical of two Indian Tribes, the Hohokam and Patayan who peopled this area as long ago as 4,000 years. Various indicators date them as late as the 1600s. If I were to interpret this drawing, it appears to me to be a pregnant woman with a round fat middle. The experts call the fat drawings like this one lizard men?
An upside down figure of a man or animal is said to be dead.
A glyph from 1912 giving directions, it appears. The Old Immigrant Trail, The Morman Trail and other major expeditions traveled the same or similar routes through the West and passed near this obvious outcropping in a terrain that is distinctively flat.
A donkey or horse with a rider dates the drawing after the Spanish brought horses to North America.
A fish above a river.
Lizards, snakes, scorpions, are common themes.
To me, this resembles a child sitting down, the way children do. The experts I'm sure disagree.
The spirals are typical of Hohokam drawings.
Impossible to tell if the drawing is a dog or a coyote. It had significance to the artist.
To me the main figure here resembles an elephant? Could it be an older glyph of a mammoth?
The figure near the bottom is possibly a bearded goat?
It was fun. I took way to many pictures. More tomorrow. But, the following picture is of a sign placed by the Mormon boy scouts approximately 50 years ago. They ventured forth to mark the Morman Trail. On that spot you can stand and envision Kit Carson, Big Foot Wallace and Pomp, Sacajawea's son who grew up to be a scout.
I'll publish an album of the "ancient graffiti" within a few days. I have some culling to do.