Anasazi Petroglyph Map

My brother, in addition to being a remarkably fine photographer of the old rite, has become rather adept at the new rite of digital photography. Give him a picture and Photoshop and the results can be breathtaking.

Anasazi Petroglyph MapOr instructive. Take, for instance, the photo at left, taken of the petroglyph “map” I found on our recent trek into Anasazi lands. You can see the basic form of it here — two meeting squiggles, which I daresay look like joining canyons — but it’s tough to make out.

Anasazi Petroglyph Map EnhancedLance was able to take this picture and do some enhancing on it, creating the second image at left. What is undoubtedly the petroglyph is marked in yellow; what may or may not be man-made is in blue. What I recall from first-hand viewing was that most of this “blue” stuff is natural, with the possible exception of the horizontal line. I also recall thinking that the yellow splotch looked a bit like a fellow waving, but that may be due to my having recently been staring at the petroglyph below Moon Phase Ruin that was undoubtedly doing that.

So has anyone out there seen anything quite like this before? This is the only Anasazi “map” I’ve ever seen — if indeed it is a map — and I’d love to hear of other examples or even alternative explanations.


  1. Michael,
    a couple thoughts that may aid you in your research;
    wouldn’t surprise me at all if this is a map, similar glyphs are quite common at Basketmaker sites on Cedar Mesa. My photo collection includes one that had been redrawn several times–with some photograph tricks I was able to pull out 5 or 6 layers.
    And, some folks in Arizona have identified a series of “water glyphs.” I’ve lost the URL but a quick search on that term should bring up their web site.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts, Eric. I do know about the waterglyph project, which is interesting. I’d love to see any pictures of the “similar glyphs” you’re referring to — especially if you remember pretty well where they are. This one shows at least one re-drawing, but it would be fascinating to see more.

  3. Michael Clauss

    Native Americans certainly made maps. They wrote them down in pictographs and as petroglyphs.
    Goolge images shows many photos of petroglyph maps.
    Just search “geocontourglyph”. A geocontourglyph is a petroglyph that represents a landform.

  4. I don’t know that one can lump “Native Americans” into one massive category in such matters, but I sure think you’re right about map-making being more common among these cultures than is often assumed. Thanks!

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