Saturday, August 18, 2018


Petroglyph panel, on the Trail to
Manby Hot Springs, Rio Grande
Gorge, outside of Taos, New Mexico.
Photograph Jerry Hansen.

Arrow pointing out possible
meteor symbol.

I have, on a number of past occasions, speculated on the subject of meteor portrayals in rock art. On May 6, 2009, I posted "When The Stars Fell." On January 18, 2013, I posted "Meteorites." On February 16, 2013, I posted "Meteorites In Rock Art - Continued?" And, on January 17, 2015, I posted "Meteorites In Rock Art - A Possible Portrayal." In these, I made the assumption that something as impressive as a major meteor storm or meteor fall would have been recorded in rock art. Indeed, there are such records in other mediums such as winter counts, so why not in rock art. Now, I have received photos from Jerry Hansen in New Mexico, in the Rio Grande River Gorge southwest of Arroyo Hondo that he suggests as a possible meteor portrayal.

Hansen's interpretation of the
Rio Grande Panel.
Photograph Jerry Hansen.

Tiwa/Tewa Constellations and
Stars. Dorcas, 1997. 

I have not visited this site myself so I know nothing about it directly, but if the location is correct we may be able to deduce some things about it. First, from the location I am assuming that these petroglyphs were probably made by the northern Tiwa or the Tewa speaking Pueblos of the North Rio Grande area. Second, if that symbol does indeed represent a meteorite, the other petroglyphs on the panel likely represent a sky chart showing the constellations of the Tewa or Tiwa people that the meteorite appeared in. Miller (1997) lists many different names for these constellations (and asterisms). Pretty much each group uses a different name for many of them. One that most of the people agree on, however, is Turkey Track, and that appears in the left side of the panel. The other figures on the panel may or may not represent Tiwa/Tewa constellations, but if some correlations could be made here then the possibility that the image in question represents a meteorite would be fairly strong.

So, where do we go from here? Perhaps some anthropology student searching for a thesis project would like to take over and dig into this.


Miller, Dorcas S.
1997 Stars of the First People: Native American Star Myths and Constellations, Pruett Publishing, Boulder, Colorado.

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