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Contrary to conventional wisdom and the subterfuge of several noted anthropologists of yesteryear, ancient Native Americans lived, worked, played and fought within an organized community, beginning with the individual and ending with the 'People' (or what Eurasians define as a 'nation'). This organization is documented in 'Rock Writings' as the Native Americans prefer to call petroglyphs. The following are organizational symbols used by the ancient Native Americans, as clearly as we can currently understand them:











                                      F                               G


A. Dot - Individual: This symbol is context dependent and can be easily

     confused with the symbol for a liquid or a small group of two or

     three individuals.


B. Square - Small Group/Local Band/Family Unit: The size and

     importance of the group being represented is dependent upon the

     size of the figure in relationship to the other figures within the

     overall composition. Estimated to be between three and ten 



C. Circle - Medium Group/Local Village/City: Circles are the most

     common representation of a group made up primarily of

     individuals. It appears to the smallest symbol of political

     organization. The circles can large or small, depending upon the

     size of the group represented. The circle is the largest unit of

     measurement for a group consisting of individuals. * In some cases,

     the circle may indicate a hill or mountain, but this seems to be

     language or dialect dependent. Estimated to be between ten and one

     hundred souls.


D. Squares within a circle/square or Fishnet - Larger/Sectional

     Group/County: This symbol appears to be the smallest

     representation of political organization or alliance made up of

     independently identifiable organizational groups of individuals.

     Estimated to between one hundred and one thousand souls.


E. Black Figure - Bad/Evil/Enemy: Circles, squares, triangles or

    rectangles with the full interior of the figure removed represent

    opposing forces, such as bad, evil, or enemy.


F. Rectangle - Largest/Regional Group/State: At some point, too many

    dots, circles and squares become cumbersome and unrecognizable.

    Therefore, the ancient Shaman devised the rectangle to represent

    large numbers of large groups. The rectangle is estimated to be one

    thousand or more souls.


G. Multiple Rectangles - The People/Nation/Army: There is no

     specific representation for any group larger than a rectangle.

     Therefore, several rectangles grouped together were used to

     indicate the total population of a specific group of people.  The

     organization of the petroglyph symbols and multiple symbols with

     the same meaning suggests that 'The People' used the most

     common denominatir available, language, to identify themselves

     and allies as a political group/organization.


A caveat to the use of a Dot is that it is context dependent. When many dots are grouped together it may mean many individuals or liquid, as in blood or water.

The purpose of this site is to inspire awareness, preservation and research of all rock art/writings. As the site grows and develops, it is hoped that YOU will help in these efforts by submitting questions, comments and suggestions: Our primary means of communication is the 'Contact' button above.






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