Saturday, December 26, 2020


Cosmic egg with DNA carved on it.

I am pleased to announce the coveted 2020 C.R.A.P. (Certifiable Rock Art Prevarication) AWARD. This award is given out once a year by RockArtBlog to the most egregious example of Certifiable Rock Art Prevarication (CRAP). The winner this year goes to a well-known fringie and Atlantis researcher Peter Daughtry for discovering a cosmic egg with a picture of DNA carved on it. Daughtry is touted by Graham Hancock, author of “Magicians of the Gods,” previously commemorated on RockArtBlog for his discovery of an extinct toxodon carved on a monolith at Tiahuanaco, Bolivia, (Faris 2019) which must surely lend to his credibility.

“Found by British researcher and author of ‘Atlantis and the Silver City’ Peter Daughtrey, the intriguing object composed entirely out of stone was found in Algarve, Portugal and is believed to date back over 7,000 years. Its peculiar characteristics - like the design of what seems to be the double helix of DNA - makes this ‘cosmic’ egg one of the most intriguing objects found to date. Interestingly, the double helix model wasn’t found until 1953. The obvious questions we need to ask - if it is in fact the Double helix of DNA - is how sugh a symbol could exist on a stone egg that some say was carved approximately 7,000 years ago.” (Ancient Code) This remarkable discovery was made near the town of Silves in the Algarve region of Portugal.

Now housed at the Lagos Museum in Algarve, Spain.

“Archaeological finds have shown that the double spiral is an artistic motif routinely found on a variety of ancient artifacts. Sometimes it is represented as two snakes wrapping around each other or a common stalk, like in the case of Herme’s staff, known as a caduceus, meaning herald’s staff. What boggles the mind is the fact that modern science refuses to make the connection between this archaic symbol and the stuff that makes us who we are - DNA.” (ufoholic)

“Daughtry is convinced this is no coincidence or the result of artistic expression falling down on convergent designs. Furthermore, he believes the proximity of Silves to the Straight of Gibraltar and the Pillars of Hercules might warrant a possible connection to Atlantis. In all truthfullness, if there ever was an ancient civilization that possessed the power to peek inside a cell’s nucleus, the Atlanteans would be a safe bet.” (ufoholic)

So what is a cosmic egg anyway? Many religious creation stories from cultures around the world include a creation by hatching from a cosmic egg. “The concept was figuratively re-adapted by modern science in the 1930s and explored by theoreticians during the following two decades. Current cosmological models maintain that 13.8 billion years ago, the entire mass of the universe was compressed into a gravitational singularity, a so-called ‘cosmic egg’ from which it ‘hatched’ - expanded to its current state following the Big Bang.” (Wikipedia)

So now, in order to give full and proper credit to Peter Daughtry’s discovery we need only believe in mystical cosmic eggs, the lost continent of Atlantis, and that 7,000 years ago these Atlanteans knew about the structure of DNA.

Who better to discover a cosmic egg with a picture of human DNA on it than a man who writes books about the lost continent of Atlantis? Aren’t we lucky that it turned out to have human DNA on it when it created the universe. Who knows what we would have turned out to be if it had something else pictured on it?

And for this momentous discovery, RockArtBlog awards Peter Daughtry and his ‘cosmic egg with DNA pictured on it’ the 2020 C.R.A.P. Award - congratulations.

NOTE: Some images in this posting were retrieved from the internet with a search for public domain photographs. If any of these images are not intended to be public domain, I apologize, and will happily provide the picture credits if the owner will contact me with them. For further information on these reports you should read the original reports at the sites listed below.


Ancient Code, Does this 7,000-year-old ‘Cosmic Egg ‘depict the earliest illustration of DNA?,

Faris, Peter, 2019, Extinct Animals in Rock Art - the Tiahuanaco Toxodon, February 16, 2019,

Saturday, December 19, 2020






CHRISTMAS 2020    

FROM RockArtBlog   



 Have a very Merry


A Happy New Year's


and all the best in



5,000 year old pictographs of a family, Egyptian Sahara desert. Photo: Marco Morelli, after

Saturday, December 12, 2020


Petroglyph Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Photo Peter Faris, September 1988.

For quite some time the question of whether the production of rock art was sometimes influenced by the use of hallucinogenic plants has been debated. In recent years discoveries in the American Southwest have cast light on this question and provided an answer of “Yes, the production of rock art was sometimes influenced by the use of hallucinogenic plants.”

Distinctive triangle pattern, from Pastino, 2015.

“Over a swath of the Chihuahuan Desert stretching from Carlsbad to Las Cruces, at least 24 rock art panels have been found bearing the same distinctive pictographs: repeated series of triangles. Hallucinogenic plants were found growing beneath the triangle designs, including a particularly potent species of wild tobacco and the potentially deadly psychedelic known as datura.” (Pastino 2015)

Coyote tobacco (Nicotiana attenuata), Internet photo from Wikipedia.

For years Dr. Lawrence Loendorf has noted the presence of coyote tobacco, Nicotiana attenuata, growing at rock art sites. “Nicotiana attenuata is a species of wild tobacco known by the common name coyote tobacco. It is native to western North America from British Columbia to Texas and northern Mexico, where it grows in many types of habitat.” (Wikipedia) This species of tobacco is considerably stronger in some of the alkaloids that can affect the human brain, and Loendorf realized that the ancient artists my have been purposely growing it for use in trancing at the same ceremonial sites that sport the rock art.

Datura growing in Canyon de Chelley, Arizona, Photo Peter Faris, 2001

Closeup of Datura blossom, Wikipedia.

Another plant commonly noticed at rock art sites is Datura. “Although opinions have varied greatly, the home of the entire genus is likely Mexico or Central America.” (Sorenson and Carl Johannessen 2009:189)

Malotki (1999) agrees, stating that: “In addition to Datura, among the hallucinoganic plants available to Pastyle people (Palavayu anthropomorphic style) within the confines of northeastern Arizona, were Indian tobacco (Nicotiana trogonophylla), Four o’clock (Mirabilis multiflora), and the mushroom species psilocybe (Psilocybe coprophilia) and fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) (Hevly, personal communication 1998). Of these, Datura appears to be the most qualified to have served the ancient hunters and gatherers in their exploitation of hallucinogens and conscious-altering agents.” (Malotki 1999:115-6 )

“Researchers believe that the plants may be a kind of living artifact, left there nearly a thousand years ago by shamans who smoked the leaves of the plants in preparation for their painting.” (Pastino 2015)

“I think almost certainly that they’re trancing on this stuff,’ said Dr. Lawrence Loendorf, president of the archaeological firm Sacred Sites Research, of the ancient artisans. ‘I think there’s a real good chance they’re using tobacco in large enough amounts that they’re going into altered states of consciousness, and I think that’s how [the hallucinogenic plants] are getting there. They’re getting to those sites because they were used for special ceremonial purposes.’” (Pastino 2015)

Pinwheel cave, California. internet photo,

So up until now we have had convincing, but only circumstantial evidence of the use of hallucinogens in the creation of some rock art in the American southwest. The question has now been answered with apparent certainty by the discovery of a number of chewed fibrous quids in southern California’s Pinwheel Cave, that, when analyzed, proved to be the remains of datura (chewed, presumably for trancing) in conjunction with a pictograph of what appears to be an unfolding datura blossom.

Red pinwheel pictograph, Pinwheel cave, California. Photo Devlin Gandy.

“The cave gets its name for a large, red, pinwheel-shaped drawing on its ceiling; some archaeologists have hypothesized it represents a genus of the psychoactive flower Datura. The flower contains the alkaloids scopolamine and atropine, which are considered an entheogen - a psychoactive compound used in a spiritual context. The Chumash people of Southern California called the experiences triggered by ingesting Datura “sacred dreams,” according to Jim Adams, a pharmacologist at the University of Southern California who spent 14 years studying sacred Chumash Datura ceremonies.

When David Robinson, an archaeologist at the University of Central Lancashire, and his colleagues began to excavate the site in 2007, they found chewed remnants of plant materials - also known as quids - pushed into cracks in the ceiling of the cave. Initial attempts to extract DNA from the quids came up short. But now, a combination of new chemical analyses and electron miscroscopy has positively identified the plant as Datura, the teams reports today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ‘I was like, ‘Wow, we found the smoking gun of hallucinogens at a rock art site,’’ Robinson says.” (Schultz 2020)

Datura blossom opening, Wikipedia.

So now we have not only a pictograph that seems to represent the spiral arrangement of a partially opened datura blossom, we also have physical remains of datura chewed by humans and then carefully pushed into cracks in the ceiling of the cave - in other words, treated specially, and found in close conjunction with the image. This would seem to be an open-and-shut case.

Signal Hill, Tucson, Arizona, Photo Jack and Esther Faris, 1990.

Squash blossom or Datura, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo Peter Faris,  1988.

On November 1, 2014, I posted a column titled Hopi Clan Registers As A Rock Art Lexicon For The Southwest - Squash Blossoms. In this column I suggested that petroglyphs of flowers found in Petroglyph Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and at Signal Hill, Tucson, Arizona, were perhaps meant to represent squash blossoms. It appears that now I have to add the possibility that these images may represent Datura blossoms. Squash blossoms have ceremonial uses for Puebloan peoples and must have as well for Ancestral Puebloan peoples. Now we have confirmation that Datura has been related to rock art (at least in that one instance) I feel that I must also accept the possibility that these petroglyphs of flowers could represent Datura as well.

NOTE: Some images in this column were retrieved from the internet with a search for public domain photographs. If any of these images are not intended to be public domain, I apologize, and will happily provide the picture credits if the owner will contact me with them. For further information on these reports you should read the original reports at the sites listed below.

REFERENCES:, Nicotiana attenuata,

Faris, Peter, 2014, Hopi Clan Registers As A Rock Art Lexicon For The Southwest - Squash Blossoms, November 1, 2014,

Malotki, Ekkehart, 1999, The Use of Hallucinogenic Plants by the Archaic-Basketmaker Creators of the Rock Art of the Palavayu, Northeast Arizona: The Case for Datura, in American Indian Rock Art, Volume 25, Steven M. Freers, editor, American Rock Art Research Association, 1999, pp. 101-120.

Pastino, Blake, 2015, Hallucinogenic Plants May Be Key to Decoding Ancient Southwestern Paintings, Expert Says, December 31, 2015,

Schultz, David, 2020, Californian Cave Artists May Have Used Hallucinogens, Find Reveals, 23 November 2020,

Sorenson, John L., and Carl L. Johannessen, 2009, World Trade and Biological Exchanges Before 1492, iUniverse Inc., New York.

Saturday, December 5, 2020


Wellsville site petroglyphs at Dam No. 8, Ohio River. Internet photo, Public Domain.

An early attempt to record Native American petroglyphs located at what is now called the Wellsville Site on the Ohio River was made by one Benjamin Henfrey. In 1798 he made a number of drawings of these petroglyphs and sent them to then Vice-president Thomas Jefferson. It should be noted that the Wellsville Site is in the same general region as the Smith’s Ferry Site that may have been observed by George Washington in 1770 leading us to wonder if George had seen these as well.


Drawing by Benjamin Henfrey, 1798, Founders Online, National Archives.

Benjamin Henfrey was an English born Geologist and entrepreneur who had emigrated to the United States before 1791. He apparently tried to make a living as a private assayer in Philadelphia. He was also involved in promoting a series of unsuccessful mining ventures. He also apparently traveled in the new US territories prospecting for potential mineral development.

Drawn by Harold Barth, 1908. From Swauger, 1974.

“ Although few details of Henfrey’s travels are known, he was at Fort Wayne in June 1798. He had obtained the release of a captive held by the Potawatomi Indians, which probably means that he had been in the westernmost parts of the Northwest Territory.”  (Founders Online 2016)

                Benjamin Henfrey, 1798.

  Harold Barth, 1908. From Swauger, 1974.

The drawings and text are from a letter to Thomas Jefferson dated 31 December 1798, by Benjamin Henfrey.

I have attempted to preserve the original spelling and punctuation. “These Curious Hieroglyphs, are Picked in lines on a very hard Black Granite rock the surface even and horizontal, the marks of a Tool was very visible in the lines. There was upwards of a hundred more but I had not time to take them Consisting of different Beasts & Fishes. I also observed many that was evidently meant to represent the feet of Animals, and was Very natural -

I thought that some was meant to describe Certain roads having that resemblance -

The rock on which these Hieroglyphics are picked out exhibits a plain surface equal to a square of about 20 Feet - the river here was deep, I put down a pole about 12 Feet and could feel the rock continue to the bottom

The man (John Hooton) who informed me of this rock says that it is the best place for Fish near his settlement and my Opinion lies that the Indians may have amused themselves in making those figures when fishing there and that they were Cut or Picked out at many different times, I have inquired respecting this Idea of many Savages but I never met with one who could give me any information on the subject - B. Henfrey” (Founders Online 2016)

“John Hooten (Hooton) died in March 1798 when his canoe capsized in the Ohio River about 50 miles below Pittsburgh..”  (Founders Online 2016)

“Rock on which these figures are cut: the petroglyphs drawn by Henfrey were along the Ohio River in what became Columbiana County, Ohio. Archaeologists identify the location as the Dam No. 8 site. It has also been called the Wellsville site. Most of what is known of the pictures of animals, people, mythological creatures, and geometric designs incised in the sandstone there comes from information collected in 1908 and 1909, before the construction of a dam destroyed some of the images and put the others beneath water and mud. Some published illustrations of the pictures, taken from rubbings made before the site was flooded, are mirror images of the petroglyphs as Henfrey saw them and drew them.”  (Founders Online 2016)

Benjamin Henfrey, 1798.

Harold Barth, 1908. From Swauger, 1974.

In 1802 Henfrey received a patent on a method of providing gas light to cities and buildings from coal. In the end nothing came from Henfrey’s many schemes and he reportedly died in poverty in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

                      Benjamin Henfrey, 1798.

Harold Barth, 1908. From Swauger, 1974.

As in so many early records of rock art the actual images often have little in common with the supposed record, many of the drawings seemingly have been “improved” in the copying and bear little resemblance to the originals, but then some are surprisingly accurate.

The site and its rock art were later drawn in 1908 by a local, Harold Barth, and many of Barth's drawings were used by James Swauger in his 1974 book Rock Art of the Upper Ohio Valley (see references).

NOTE: In transcribing Benjamin Henfrey's letter a number of his spellings were changed to modern usages.

Some images in this posting were retrieved from the internet with a search for public domain photographs. If any of these images are not intended to be public domain, I apologize, and will happily provide the picture credits if the owner will contact me with them. For further information on these reports you should read the original reports at the sites listed below.


“Benjamin Henfrey’s Drawings of Petroglyphs, 31 December 1798, [document added in digital edition],” Founders Online, National Archives, [This document from The Papers of Thomas Jefferson is original to the digital edition. It was added on 30 June 2016.]


Swauger, James, Rock Art Of The Upper Ohio Valley, January 1, 1974, Akadem. Druck-u, Verlagsanst Publisher.