Writing on the walls: Geological context and early American spiritual beliefs

Geological Society Special Publication
Edited by: Piccardi L.Masse W.B.


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Native American culture in many parts of California is preserved in fragmentary oral and conventional written histories, but also in sometimes dramatic petroglyphs and pictographs throughout the state. The symbolism of these images has been interpreted to reflect the natural environment, in particular issues related to rain. Although there is little doubt that rain was of paramount concern to native tribes, I suggest that geological context also played an important role in shaping early spiritual beliefs in general, and petroglyph sites in particular. From the standpoint of Native American philosophies and spiritual beliefs, geological unrest is not merely a reflection but in some cases an actual embodiment of the spiritual world. To understand the significance of petroglyph sites, they must be considered in the context of overall Native American beliefs. In this context, sites of repeated geological unrest would invariably have evolved great spiritual significance. Petroglyph locations and ages may thus provide independent age controls on 'prehistoric' earthquakes in California. ?? The Geological Society of London 2007.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Writing on the walls: Geological context and early American spiritual beliefs
Series title Geological Society Special Publication
ISBN 1862392161; 9781862392168
Issue 273
Year Published 2007
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Geological Society Special Publication
First page 107
Last page 115
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