DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Prehistory:  PETROGLYPHS  

 

Petroglyphs, which are made by chipping or scraping designs on stone, are not uncommon, especially in the drier areas of the Southern Cone.  In most cases, they are made by removing a patina of iron and/or manganese oxides to show the rock beneath.  Some clearly have religious or ceremonial symbolism.  Others look very much like what might appear on your walls if your four-year-old gets hold of a magic marker, and may not have been considered consequential.  They have here been differentiated from pictographs, which are painted instead of chipped.  Both are referred to as "Arte Rupestre".

 

We start with three photos from a dense group of petroglyphs from near the Cueva del Cacho, in the Argentine Province of La Rioja. Click to see big picture (640x480 pixels; 131 KB)
These are scraped through a black (manganese oxide) coating to expose the reddish rock, and show a variety of motifs.  Click to see big picture (459x480 pixels; 125 KB)
In this geometric design, both the oxide coating the the lichens are clearly re-establishing themselves. Click to see big picture (529x480 pixels; 119 KB)
Some unusual fish petroglyphs from the coast near Caldera, Chile. Click to see big picture (559x480 pixels; 149 KB)
In this case the surface is actually lighter than the underlying rock. Click to see big picture (640x471 pixels; 156 KB)
Primitive depictions of cameloids adorn a boulder in the valley of Pisco Elqui, of the Chilean Norte Chico. Click to see big picture (314x480 pixels; 89 KB)
Also in the Norte Chico, a well known group a petroglyphs are at Valle del Encanto.  They include this one which is very special, being a relief.  It has the general shape of an Incan ceremonial dagger, but may have other significance. Click to see big picture (640x472 pixels; 144 KB)
A stylized humanoid. Click to see big picture (306x480 pixels; 96 KB)
And there is that four-fingered chap again, in a different setting. Click to see big picture (640x400 pixels; 125 KB)
Finally from Valle del Encanto, one of my favorites, in that it captures a gesture. Click to see big picture (334x480 pixels; 95 KB)
The next six examples are collected from more remote areas, and try to present some of the variety of motifs. Click to see big picture (640x356 pixels; 97 KB)
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The final photos are from the Coligue site in Chile, which is partly interpreted.  These are said to be eagles flying in formation, although the only birds I have seen chaining like this in the region are pelicans. Click to see big picture (595x480 pixels; 127 KB)
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A man and cameloids? Click to see big picture (640x374 pixels; 124 KB)
And finally some designs from the zorro section of the Coligue exhibit. Click to see big picture (640x423 pixels; 131 KB)