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:
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
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
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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