Heritage, Volume 5, Number 3, Autumn 1987 Page: 19
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points, arms raised in supplication.
With them, mountain sheep and water
signs, snakes and circles and handprints,
standing out in sharply outlined
buff against the iron-red color of the
There were springs below the rimrock
once upon a time, and the water
symbols cluster thickly around each
The symbols tell of a hunting
people, but their deeper meaning is
hidden to this day. Some of them can be
read-there are directional markers,
we know, one sign leading you to
another, are ancient maps from another
world and time. A sign shaped like a
dumbbell, knobs at either end of a
connecting line, tell of a conference
having taken place at that spot. And the
symbols that tell of sun and rain, of
snakes and owls, messengers from the
spirit world, carry their own story. But
the search for larger meanings goes on
Trouble is, we don't have an iconography
on hand, a key giving us the
identities of the various gods and
people pictured on the ageless rock.
Some of the keys will be found in
folk tales and legends, but there's one
main trouble with this-the people who
could have told us those tales and
legends have long been gone from the
land. And so we keep on searching.
Site One, the art gallery by the dam,
served as stopping place for men for
several thousand years. The ancient
trail, as old as time, winds past the east
face of the mesa. It turns west at the
northern end, goes half a mile or so,
then hooks sharply to the north, where a
gap in the mesa-land gives access to the
highland out beyond. And there are
more pecked symbols-petroglyphsalmost
every step of the way.
Boulders tumbled down from the
rimrock stand all along this sandy trail,
each one with a story we have yet to
learn to read.
Beyond is the "Shaman's Cave," a
cleft in the rocks with pecked symbols
so old they've taken on the original
surface color of the mother rock and can
best be seen only in side light.
A. T. Jackson wandered past Site
One on a lightning visit in the 30s, wrote
a publication that was a landmark for
the time, Picture Writing of the Texas
Indians, University of Texas Publication,
Our Site One was his Hudspeth
County Site 11, but his field team
t^~~~~ ~ ~ALEX APOSTOLIDES
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 3, Autumn 1987, periodical, Autumn 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45439/m1/19/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.