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Preliminary Definitions


The following definitions primarily apply to the Black Mountain Complex, but may also apply to other locations. These definitions are provided only as a quick reference guide; the succeeding pages provide greater details and explanations of representative images, including complex and compound symbols.



                      War, Fighting or Violence: The symbol for war, fighting or

                      violence is two arrowheads with points touching.




                     Peace: The symbol for peace is a diamond, formed by the

                      pattern of two arrowheads set base-to-base.




                         Group: The symbol for a group, in general terms, is a

                         circle. A circle without the center pecked out (white)

                                 represents a friendly or good group. The circle with the

                         center pecked out (black) represents the group as dead.




                          Travel: The symbol for traveling or connecting is a line.

                          The line can be short, meaning very short travel, as in

                          one or a few steps. The line can be longer, meaning to

                          travel for some distance. The lines can be straight or

                          wavy. Straight lines represent a good path; wavy lines a

                          wrong path. Lines used to establish a relationship

                          between two figures are connecting lines, which

                          translates to 'traveling' back and forth freely.



                         Population Size: Petroglyph authors used a number of

                         symbols to indicate the size of the group they were

                         documenting. The dot, square, circle and squares within

                         a circle ('fishnet') represent larger groups. However,  for

                         groups made up of several large groups, the Rectangle

                         or segmented oval was used to signify a unity of all the

                         'people', as a single entity.



                          Surrounded: This is not a 'Sun' symbol, it is a group

                          symbol with short travel lines pointing in all directions. It

                          means the group was surrounded by enemy forces and

                          fighting in all directions. A similar symbol, the half-sun,

                          means the group had its back to the wall or cliff, but

                          continued fighting in all other directions. A secondary

                          meaning for the lines is 'Leaving a trail of dead', which

                          would result as the group lost members and deminished

                          in size.


                          Calendar: Some petroglyphs calculate time, days are

                            indicated by vertical lines with another symbol entered

                            between the lines, forming a compound symbol.


                          Chevrons: Chevrons are derived from the points

                            of arrowheads they are used to document the number

                            of skirmishes (attacks) executed by the attackers

                            each day. They become part of a compound symbol

                            when they are used in conjunction with the symbols

                            calculating days.


                             Sheep: Within the Complex, the symbol commonly

                             referred to as a mountain sheep, is not an animal it is

                             a totum or icon and refers to the Proto-Uto-Aztecan

                             warriors or people. In the graphic, (1) the legs represent

                             dead, (2) the large circle represents the whole Proto-

                             Uto-Aztecan nation, (3) is a connecting line that

                             establishes a direct relationship between the large and

                             small groups, (4) the small circle represents those tribal

                             members who escaped and survived the holocaust and                              (5) are the horns of a female sheep, they represent a

                             rebuilding of the tribe by the women. There are two

                             monuments to women on the exterior walls of

                             Inscription Canyon. Only male sheep are represented

                             within the canyon. Male sheep, representing warriors, 

                             are displayed as an uppercase 'M' or a lowercase "m"

                             because their horns curl and viewed from the snout

                             back, the curling appears to form an "M".


                           Concentric Circles: Within the Complex, concentric

                             circles demonstrate the loss of life each day for six

                             days, which is a mystery, because the battle lasted

                             nine days. On day one the group was large, each day

                             the group got smaller. Descending rectangles and

                             spirals serve the same purpose, which suggests a

                             difference in languages or dialects within the larger



More symbols and their meanings may be added later, but for the present, the images presented above provide a reasonable understanding of how some ancient Native Americans documented the events, which they understood to be of 'historical' importance to them and their people.

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