Saturday, April 4, 2015

Winnemucca Lake Petroglyphs - The Oldest Petroglyphs in North America


14,800 YEARS OLD. Well, that's the outside date when they could have been made, even the inside date of 10,500 would still make them the oldest in North America by more than 3,000 years.
These Petroglyphs were carved by Paleo-Indians onto soft Tufa, a type of limestone which forms around alkali lakes such as those found throughout the Nevada desert. They were dated in part by determining which time periods had water levels of an adjacent lake below the elevation of the site exposing the rocks to air. Then, what periods had water levels which would have submerged the rocks, as evidenced by layers of carbonate deposited over the etchings on the rock. There were two windows when the petroglyphs could have been carved, the former being between 14,800 and 13,200 years ago and later between 11,300 and 10,500 years ago.
Its not known what the carvings depict, but it would appear that trees, flowers and leaves are present. The large carving (above) with the recurring pattern of diamonds resembles the scale of a fish to me, perhaps the Lahontan Cutthroats that were present in the adjacent lake which no longer exists today.

Above is probably the most distinct carving, it resembles a flower or possibly the sun? 
The carving above clearly resembles the veins of a leaf.
Various sets of symmetric designs and patterns, but what do they mean?
The recessed niche below would have been an ideal location for shelter and a fire for the Natives which called this region home at that time.
As is the case with most of our fish pictures, these petroglyph pictures are intentionally cropped so as not to divulge the location out of respect for the local Tribe.

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