--2 What Is This? (Updated)
Dec. 10, 2016

What Is This? (Updated)

September 21, 2009, 12:00 am
By Corey Pein
Obviously, I'm not the first to ask the question, but this weekend was my first time visiting Chaco Culture National Historical Park: Doesn't this ostensibly millennium-old scrawl on a canyon wall sure look like a space alien with a ray gun shooting a couple of stick men?

Even curiouser, why is a Christian church outside Farmington flying an Israeli flag? Sorry, I didn't get a picture of that one.

Update Sept. 22: I asked Stephen Lentz of the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies for his take. Here it is:
[F]rom what I can discern, I believe that this is not an Anasazi Chaco petroglyph. It may look old, but if it was created by the Navajo, say in the 40s, based on Flash Gordon movies, it would have had time to weather and take on the patina of an old glyph. Or not. I've seen Navajo glyphs and pictographs that look ancient - like at the Village of the Great Kivas by Zuni, but they were done by Navajo CCC crews. As we said, sometimes prehistoric iconography and ceremonial materials in the Southwest can look pretty space-age (and of course the Maya and Egyptian), with their masked dancers, tchamahia staffs etc. which many New Age people interpret as proof of extra terrestrial presence. I believe that this does not give credit to human resourcefulness – that it's an ethnocentric viewpoint e.g., “how could these little brown people build a pyramid without aid from outer space.” Well, they weren't any stupider then than we are now (ca. 1100 cc brain size), they just didn't have the same technology. But I believe that, with enough manpower (and levers – Archimedes once said, give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and I can move the world) a lot can be, and has been done. But it's good to keep an open mind.


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