Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Vantage Petroglyphs

Here's a slideshow of the Vantage Petroglyphs, a collection of ancient Native American rock carvings currently located at the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park visitors center, near Vantage, WA. These carvings were once located dramatic location on a columnar basalt outcrop next to the Columbia River, but that site was flooded when the ___ dam went in. The petroglyphs were rescued, Abu Simbel style, and moved to their current location. Rock art near rivers was a fairly widespread practice; an Oregon Lakes & Rivers article "Paddling for Petroglyphs" details a number of examples that can only be visited by boat. Those less accessible examples likely haven't received the same level of casual vandalism that you can see here, but affords little protection against determined thieves, like the ones in recent cases in California and Nevada, and those are merely a couple of high profile cases where the thefts were publicized and the thieves were caught.

In putting this post together, I was surprised by how few authoritative sources of information I've been able to find online. There are, of course, a lot of academic works about the art and crafts of Northwestern tribes, but much of it seems to be either not online, or behind an expensive paywall. And then on the other hand there's no shortage of free but useless web pages out there, some of a New Agey crystals-n-dolphins bent, and others catering to the sort of crusty old Tea Party dudes who feel a need to hoard arrowheads for some reason, and resent the dang gol-durned gummint for telling them not to.

Anyway, here are a couple of items that were a.) available online at the time I posted this, and b.) seemed authoritative and reliable, at least going on my incomplete knowledge of the subject. At least neither proposes that those who carved the Vantage Petroglyphs must have had help from ancient aliens or wandering Vikings or any such thing.

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