Making Pictures in Stone: American Indian Rock Art of the Northeast

By Edward J. Lenik

The Indians of northeastern North the United States are identified to us basically via studies and outlines written by way of eu explorers, clergy, and settlers, and during archaeological proof. an extra worthy resource of knowledge is the translation of rock artwork photos and their courting to local peoples for recording functional issues or info, as expressions in their legends and religious traditions, or as uncomplicated doodling or graffiti. the pictures during this booklet attach us on to the Indian peoples of the Northeast, mostly Algonkian tribes inhabiting japanese Pennsylvania, Maryland and the decrease Potomac River Valley, long island, New Jersey, the six New England States, and Atlantic Canada. Lenik presents an entire variety of rock artwork appearances within the examine sector, together with a few dendroglyphs, pictographs, and a range of transportable rock items. by means of delivering an entire research and synthesis of the knowledge, together with the categories and distribution of the glyphs, and interpretations in their intending to the local peoples, Lenik finds a wealth of recent details at the tradition and lifeways of the Indians of the Northeast.


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Within the early Nineteen Seventies, Paul Cresthull of the Archaeological Society of Maryland, Inc. , compiled a catalog of fifty three glyphs from the location according to his overview of 3 released stories, a number of photos, and direct commentary of a few recovered specimens kept in Baltimore (Cresthull 1973, 1974). This overall is low, as he didn't comprise the various cupules current on the web site and his reference assets have been restricted. at the foundation of his research of head shapes and facial expression, Cresthull made up our minds that there have been 15 human head effigy forms on the web site, with such a lot having a number of types inside of each one style. it's been urged that the so-called serpent’s head kind of petroglyph may perhaps characterize snakes, the good snake, or the good serpent of Algonquian mythology (Cadzow 1934:41; Marye 1938:111). Marye (1938:111–112) speculated that the deep gap within the river referred to as Job’s gap will be the house of the legendary monster and that the concentric circles may well characterize a “nest of serpents. ” The that means of snakes in Algonquian cosmology shows they could characterize the powers of evil and darkness and likewise the power of existence and regeneration (Vastokas and Vastokas 1973:95). those creatures of the underworld are part snake and part fish. they're often depicted with horns and lengthy jaws with the teeth. Illustrations of this monster are quite a few in ethnohistoric and ethnographic literature. The so-called serpent’s heads from Bald Friar don't fit those descriptions and this interpretation is rejected. I favor a cultural-ecological interpretation for the Bald Friar Petroglyphs. sixty eight / bankruptcy four I recommend that the so-called human or serpent heads in reality symbolize fish, particularly shad. Fish glyphs have been the most typical layout point on the website, with so much of them carved on Indian Rock (formerly known as Bald Friar Rock and Miles Island). Fish have been the first cause the Indians have been interested in this site—to procure this ample nutrients source. in the course of their annual migration up the Susquehanna River to spawn, shad could have congregated via the loads within the shallow water of the river among the falls at the north and the rapids to the south. The Indians, having a look down into the water, might have saw the habit of the shad and their features. I recommend the Indians portrayed the shad at the within reach rocks as they observed them, basically from a most sensible view. The 19th- and early twentieth-century in situ photos and drawings of the petroglyphs point out that the fish glyphs have been carved at the facets of rocks and boulders. They have been carved in a vertical or slanting place, that's, heads to the ground and tails on the best, which implies the job of swimming upriver. small cup marks in each one glyph characterize eyes, and one lower than indicates a mouth. The shad has a notch in its top jaw into which the decrease jaw matches. this is often what the Indians saw from above and carved at the rocks. a few of the fish glyphs have or extra laterally projecting traces, which could symbolize pectoral fins.

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