Monday, September 20, 2010

Mystery of Palatki's Amazing Rock Art!

Mystery Rock Art

While in Sedona, Arizona this past April; I visited some of the Native American Sites. Located in the Coconino National Forest, are a multitude of Indian cliff ruins. Along with there pictographic art forms; which span multiple cultures and perhaps thousands of years. A few of these sites are open to the public, but you must schedule the visit with the rangers at the site. They have limited parking, and the site is monitored to protect it!

This photographic presentation will show some images of the site; my personal observations and speculative opinions. This is not a scientific or archaeological study; since I have no background in that field. But what is being presented here, will surprise you as much as it did me!

Dwelling Ruins

The Palatki ruins are built into a U shaped mesa wall. As you enter the site there’s a visitors museum, which explains the archaeological research done at the site. You proceed into the site by two trails which run along the mesa wall. One trail leads up to the ruins which held a few dozen people. These ruins are hidden by the twisted Mesa wall, and huge boulders. Strangers passing the U shaped opening into the mesa would not observe the natives there. Unless they were working in there fields. The other trail leads up to a over hanging rock face, which has a almost cave like shelter. Here in this area are the pictographs made by different succeeding natives. These images have been identified as different cultures by the archeologists that have researched here.

Dwellings Nestled in the Mesa Wall

The native peoples have left images of themselves, and perhaps there history as well. They are also believed to have performed rituals here as well. There is a large hole carved into the wall here. It is believed some sort of offerings were placed in this opening. Unfortunately, before this site was monitored; many “New Age” followers burned candles in this same opening. Thus ruining any possibility of analysis, or dating!

Offering Hole

There are many images of animals and people on these walls. There are also crosses on the wall; but the Ranger cautioned that these are probably Native symbols, which have no association with Christianity. There is an image of a figure, that appears to carry a shield; in the crosses photo.  There are a number of wavy line symbols that the Rangers offer no opinion on; but which look like rain. Most images are white, with some color. There are also some made entirely of a black paint. One of the images in black paint, which is interesting to me. Looks like a image that is partially chiseled out of the rock face. It looks like the open beak of a bird of prey, an eye can also be discerned.

Black Paint Rock Art

Natives, Animals, and Ladder

Crosses and a Figure with Shield?

Bird of Prey

Rain Rock Art

The image which is really startling, is one in the wavy lines. When I first looked up at it, I thought I was looking at a Spanish Conquistador in a helmet. Studying it further I suspect it is an image of an unknown people, which made helmets or hats of some type! Looking over the image, these observations can be made. The person is looking to the right in profile, the wavy lines are his hair. He has heavy eye lids and white eyes.  There are nose and lips, with a chin on a flat face. 

The hat or helmet has two parts. One is an image of a bird, or birdlady. I see wings swept forward over the head of the person; and a small head of a lady! The lady has hair which flows into the wings, which make a cap or crest on his helmet.  The rest of the helmet can be seen in white outline, on the back of his head. There is further colorful imagery that looks to be his clothing on the torso. Just behind him is another partial pictograph, similar to the first. Which appears to have been damaged, or broken of the cliff face.

Bird Crested Helmet On Native

What sort of culture of Native Americans wore helmets, with a birdlady crest on it!? None that I have ever heard of; it is a mystery waiting to be solved!

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