Those Who Came Before~

Leave messages,

that are fascinating,

to try,

and interpret.

Ghostly chalk,

on the walls of time.

Left by people,

speaking to us,

telling their tales,

from 4,000 years ago.

Cheers to you from the ancient messengers~

Note: Petroglyphs are carved into rock and pictographs are painted onto rocks using dyes or resins. These petroglyphs and pictographs near Moab Utah are all around. You come upon them as you hike. They are 1500 to 4,000 years old and depict people, both male and female, who appear to be wearing clothes and feathers, and carry baskets and weapons. Some seem to be hunting. There are children of different ages and there are antelopes, deer, bears, snakes, birds and other animals, as well as rivers, lakes, the sun and much more. Look and see what you can find, after all, art is open to your interpretation.

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259 thoughts on “Those Who Came Before~

  1. What a treasure trove. Many pictographs are only animals. That you have several with people in them makes it fun to figure out the story they’re trying to tell us.

    1. “They are film now, instead of rock and slate”!
      Such a wonderful perception.
      Yes, I took them.
      They are captured now in a modern medium.
      Thank you for seeing this.

  2. Viewing petroglyphs and pictographs is a hobby of mind. I’ve seen many of these, and those. Ike them personally. I love to see that others appreciate them, too!

    1. What a fascinating hobby. I think lots of people are awestruck by them and revere them. It is the people who carve their initials over them that are the problem, or the ones who want to build housing developments over them.

  3. Cindy, it is fascinating to see these petroglyphs from Utah. I see it almost like
    stories about the people’s lives. Daily lives, festivities, work, tools. I always feel
    deeply quiet looking at these messages. How man always tried to communicate
    and leave a mark.
    Sweden has a World Heritage centre with similar petroglyphs that has been filled in with paint. You can walk freely there too. I have a holiday place only 15 minutes from the start.


    1. Definitely I see the recordings of daily life, the rivers, the animals by the rivers, the sun repeatedly, and ornamentation, what looks like feathers on heads and earrings, and children part of the daily life. It looks like they are carrying bundles or baskets, maybe gathering and definitely moving. They are people just like us, but so much more involved in the natural world which they are not destroying. I would love to see the petroglyphs in Sweden.

      1. Yes, Cindy, you would the “Fjällristningarna” – petroglyphs, in Sweden.
        They are all made on granite slopes. Those slopes often chosen for their lighter
        colour. All figures, tools etc are filled in with the right sort of red paint so it all looks rather spectacular.
        Tell me if you ever go, I would love to show you around. 😊


  4. Kind of proves humans have a need to communicate, doesn’t it, Cindy? Not only that, but also to leave something tangible to prove they existed. Thank you for bringing these to us!

    1. Oh what a great idea. Another blogger suggested asking children to interpret them which I think is a wonderful idea. Maybe children can read the symbols more clearly than we can because they are less polluted by our training and education.

  5. Great shots, Cindy. Several years ago I was on an eight-day canoe trek in the Temagami Wilderness. Came across some 3-4,000-year-old Ojibwe petroglyphs. Few people know about them and they are accessible only by water. I must post the photos some time.

  6. Before I read where these photos were taken, I thought they looked like the ones I saw near Moab and low and behold they are. They are truly fascinating!

  7. Do you think a kid could probably “read” these better than an adult? – they don’t have taught or preconceived ideas of what the symbols areReally liked the close up (Please let these valuable bits of history be protected and survive long past us – silly people deface so much these days that location are kept secret)

    1. I think children interpreting them is a brilliant idea. I would love to hear what they see. There were actually some amazing pictographs of what looked like bear hunting that I wanted to include but didn’t because Nick, and several other people carved their names next to them. People should start acting like animals. They have so much more dignity.

  8. Oh Cindy, one day when I have more time than I do now, I would LOVE to have a deep and long conversation with you on this subject alone. So many questions in modern days, were already answered in the past … and not only in the past as we know it, but the past that existed before the day came that “those” who made the decision decided to state a specific date of our origination, which was off by an innumerable amount of years, decades, centuries, millennium. So much knowledge lost – knowledge far more important than the knowledge society believes we have today – so much truth, reality and genuine substance lost to, hidden within and trumped by modern man. I adore this subject, I’m so happy that I came across this post on the one and only day that I’ve been on in so long. I’ll be spotty, if on at all, for approximately 6-8 weeks more – medical world loves me, but then I should be able to return. I miss creating oh so much, but more … I miss the connection of the extremely intelligent, fun, creative, beautiful hearts and minds I’ve found myself connected to here.

    Much love – Kimberly

    1. What profound thoughts. I am so pleased synchronicity brought you here to see the communication from the ancient messengers. They are utterly remarkable aren’t they. And I too get a sense when studying them that we have lost so irreparably much from then to now, as we muddle along in our civilized, polluted, angry world. Our blogging community of bright, creative, talented and kind people is a gift for me daily. I am very sorry you are being up close and personal with the “medical world.” This shouldn’t be as bad as it is, but it is bad. You have my empathy and hopes for swift recovery.

      1. Thank you Cindy – I’ve been in recovery for 4 years, 99% of it was to end before the new year and decade, but the “medical world” refused to cooperate and left me with a situation that continued to worsen while fighting me the entire way until I forced their hand. While it’s wonderful that the fight is finally over, it dragged that muck into the new year and a good first quarter or half of it so blah. 😂 What can you do other than find a reason to be grateful … I REFUSE to get caught up in the darker side of life, there’s already too many who are. Aside from that ….

        It’s SO REFRESHING to read or have a conversation with someone who feels so strongly and writes so deeply and with wisdom regarding this particular subject (or others). Yes the world has gotten polluted and angry, but something beautiful and wondrous happened with Australia which is what drew me back to WordPress originally (my fires of love post), and then I found myself unable to just leave without visiting those I follow … the coming together of hearts, of love, of giving, compassion, kindness and concern has been larger and more palatable than anything I’ve seen, heard of or felt in my lifetime. While the situation that caused it is tragic (I’m leaving that part of the conversation out or this will be huge – I’m a bit empathic with animals and trees so tragic isn’t large enough a word for it) … what it reaped, what it caused, was something so very, very beautiful. I tend to not watch the news – dubbing myself intentionally news ignorant. So much so that people have to actually reach out to me to tell me if a storm is heading my way or something bad is happening in the world that I would want to know about (i.e. Australia). I haven’t read a paper, watched the news or connected to anyone or anything online who discusses such things in many decades, and prior to that never had much interest in it. What I am intentionally aware of are the beautiful and miraculous, wondrous things that happen countless times a day on our world that never seems to make it to mainstream media, yet still exists. It’s those things that I spend a great deal of time either connecting with or seeking out. Once you begin to live your life that way (I’ve found – though being human in this society during this day and age, there’s only so much of what’s going on in our world I can escape), that you begin to see far more love and “truth” in our world than would be seen otherwise. There’s more people filled with love and joy than there is anger – the pendulum has tilted and hearts are waking up while minds are remembering … it’s just not at the forefront of the media in any sense, but it’s oh so strong and growing ever so much.

        YES the communication of the ancient messengers has been of great interest for me all of my life – I concur, they are utterly remarkable. I revere and envy the indigenous people across our world … they have far more memory and knowledge less lost than “modern” humans do.

        Well love, it’s time for me to make the donuts and I can go on and on about this subject infinitely. 🙂 Thank you for your dear wishes and empathy, I receive them openly and feel your love. Thank you Cindy.

        Big love being sent to you. 🥰💖 Kimberly

        1. Awww…What deep and profound thoughts you have. I love how you turn your focus away from the ‘affairs of men’ and into the beauty and spirit of the natural world. I stopped reading news and mass media for a year and the difference was significant, so I can only imagine what decades would accomplish. It is true that what you focus on influences your reality. I have been evacuated during the fires in California when 1200 homes burned in a small community but the extent was not as extensive or intensive as what OZ has been experiencing. I have read and seen so many people helping each other, pulling together, saving animals, ignoring differences and focusing on common humanity. This sounds beautiful, especially to me in anger filled America. I will be in OZ soon. My second trip. I am so happy to hear of your rain. I saw koalas drinking rainwater out of puddles. Hope triumphs. Love to you my friend <3

          1. 💖 I’m so sorry that you had to go through that ordeal (the fires in CA). I haven’t been through fires, but I have been through many a hurricane, 2 over category 3 – far different an experience, both quite stressful, yet I feel as though none of combined was near the magnitude of OZ. Australia, I believe, due to so much of it’s nature and the plethora of diverse and extremely unique wildlife was a big wake up and warning call to our kind. My heart, as well as my energy, as been full to see that so many did wake up, more than so many – it never stops. I follow 4-5 donation pages … I’m doing so at this point, a few times each day, simply to see when the last donations were, as well as the comments on the pages, and every time I do Cindy it shows donations just being made moments before I checked, they just keep coming in, they haven’t ceased and my heart swells with so much love. There’s one particular donation page where the people hosting it update in the comments every day or 2 – and not just an update, but they include pictures of the “recovery” efforts, often say what they’re using the money for, and are always speaking from a place of sheer love, gratitude, hope and joy. That alone fills me with daily love, hope and joy for our world. I find it (reading their update and seeing the donations coming in every moment of each day) akin to the feeling of deep prayer being answered – it’s something I’ve never seen in my lifetime before — the innumerable amounts of love, giving, caring, compassion, from every corner of our world, no separation, all for benefit of Australia no matter who you are or where you are is something so beautiful. Each time I check it’s like the most beautiful perfume I’ve ever smelled.

            I’m THRILLED that you stopped watching and listening to news. ((((hugs))))). I’m sure it was a significant change in your world, even a year is a big change, a day would be a big change. True, having not connected to it at all (intentionally new ignorant – which at times leaves me having absolutely no idea of weather conditions coming my way lol), is definitely a lifestyle apart from many others. I’ve found over the many years, more than half my life, almost all of my life, that people I speak with find it odd, or “ignorant” that I have zero idea of what’s happening with our government, or anything else for that matter – don’t know names, don’t know events, etc. With the exclusion of the knowledge of which I choose to have none, I’ve found that especially as I’ve grown older – far more in the past few years (I’ll be 55 this year), that along with that change or difference in my life – so has a change of most of the people around me. Eventually I didn’t want to be a part of, or better said, my energy didn’t feel peace or ease, connecting to people who are so engrossed in politics or other things that I find either insignificant or if not insignificant, caused me to feel, see or hear negativity about our world, our lives. I’m very picky, preferring isolation if need be – and I’ve done that as well, to be surrounded by only the moment, and only people which lift me up, teach me, guide me, or me them about the positive and beautiful things happening in our world – because the positive and beautiful that happen each and every day far outweigh the others – you can find them if you seek the information out, which is kept out of the news, media and more. That’s not to say I judge – I judge no one and love MANY who don’t share an exchange of “lifting” with me … and I respect and regard them as well, I just keep blocks up and keep it to a minimum. What I do do (do do? lol) is seek out the “good news” and the love filled stories that happen every minute of every day on every inch of our world, and each time I seek, I find, it’s out there, not hidden, and not at all difficult to find – just not in your face as mainstream news and media is – or mainstream people are – it’s just a matter of looking and POOF there it is or there they are.

            HOW EXCITING that you’re planning to go to Australia soon. Oh that’s wonderful! My first thought, also my continued thought is “I need to get there.” Unfortunately, I have got about 2 months give or take of medical madness to contend with, and during that time and soon after some life readjustment to do (it’s all okay) before I can see where I land, regroup and make decisions that big, but I too would love to go, though there is a bit of sorrow that I can’t be there at this specific moment, because being a part of the recovery of nature and wildlife is truly where my heart lives. They say everything happens as it should and when it should. I’m not sure who “they” are, but I tend to believe that … so I remind myself often and bring myself from angst to acceptance and peace – living the moment … a big lesson for us all, even those who believe they are, who may not actually be practicing it in mind, emotion and energy/spirit … 4 words that sound easy to do, a concept that sounds easy to do, even feels easy to do for those believing they’re doing it, but a practice that actually takes a lot of work, a lot of learning, a lot of constant awareness throughout each moment of your day and practice that never ends – it’s a practice and way of life that you never finish, you always have to be mindful of it, though it does become a bit more second nature and easier as time goes by, but you still have to be mindful of it and watch your thoughts, words, actions, way of life and listen to yourself at all times – really far more a practice and difficult than many believe – but it is my focus and as the removal of news for a year has changed your life significantly, that has changed mine – but again, the choice is literally a choice one makes many times throughout the day, you don’t just choose to and do it and you’re there and it’s done, you always have to be mindful of it and aware.

            Well dear Cindy it’s time for me to do a few things this morning. It’s been so lovely connecting to you these past few days, I’ve enjoyed it immensely should be continued novella responses not ensure you know hehe. Wishing you a peaceful day, filled with ease of heart and reasons to smile. <3 Kimberly

            OH, before I go, this is the one donation page where you can see the updates from the page owners every day or 2 with RECOVERY (not damage/fear based) updates as well as pictures and while of course sorrow is felt as well, how could it not due to what's happened and happening, but where focus is being put on love and recovery rather than the other, which we have enough of. Left side of page, scroll down past the first and original donation picture and update, and that's where you'll find the continuously updated comments and updates from Oz. 💗 As of right now, I just checked, there's 14 updates from them and their last update was from today – so I'm actually going to go read it before I shut down my laptop. You can find it here:


            1. “I’m very picky, preferring isolation if need be – and I’ve done that as well, to be surrounded by only the moment, and only people which lift me up, teach me, guide me, or me them about the positive and beautiful things happening in our world.”
              You are exactly like me in this regard. Learning to take care of yourself is a gift which you have clearly learned. Be well my friend ♡´・ᴗ・`♡

  9. Always enjoy petroglyphs— and finding them Cindy. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt. Fun. I’ll be featuring them in at least a couple of posts from our fall journey to the South West. –Curt

          1. Be sure to go to Three Rivers Petroglif Recreation Area in New Mexico if you haven’t been there, Cyndi. And take a day exploring, including the cliffs off to the left, i.e go beyond where the tourists normally go! 🙂 Some of the most impressive petroglyphs Peggy and I have ever seen! –Curt

              1. We agree on all of the above, Cindy. Unfortunately, snow detoured our trip up to Mesa Verde on the last trip. There is also a huge site in Albuquerque we’ve visited a couple of times.

  10. I love messages from the past. I wonder what people will say of our messages 100 years from now. Love the photos – mystery and embedded narratives that are in our DNA.

    1. And we seem respond to it on a cellular level. It cuts to your core when you come upon these messages unexpectedly. It feels for a second like they left the message for you.

  11. We have sought out and enjoyed many such places. Researches offer many reasons and explanations for them, but I have often wondered if they weren’t just First American graffiti. 🙂

  12. I love seeing them here. I’m really surprised with the way the world is today that some numb skull hasn’t tagged graffiti all over them already. Maybe they are messages to us. Don’t you wish you knew?

    1. Several numbskulls did write graffiti on some beautiful pictographs of bear hunting. They carved their names along with these amazing group hunting scenes. I didn’t include those photos because it was too depressing. They didn’t obscure the figures just wrote their names all around. Nick was one of the names. Nick, if you are there, you are a numbskull.

  13. The urge to create and communicate is so ingrained in us. I saw some pictographs in the Gila Wilderness that I still remember vividly. It’s a message from the past.

  14. It really is astounding how they still exist. I love how it shows our innate desire to tell stories, to communicate and to express our creativity. As always, thanks for the beautiful and interesting photos, Cindy!

    1. I wrote this, about 30 seconds before I read your comment, “Yes, the incredible human need for creativity which provides meaning to life and communication which provides connection with others. It is quite moving.”
      You and I are on the same wavelength Halim, quite synchronistic.

      1. That’s remarkable! Nice people think alike! Haha! Thanks for letting me know, Cindy, it’s lovely and has put another smile on my face 🙂

  15. Fascinating, intriguing images Cindy that have, by all accounts, encouraged subjective opinion and imaginative speculation to flourish as to their origin, what they depict, and their meaning, and I can readily understand why they inspire the mind to spiral.

    For my money, I think of them as being the creative product of a human need to express (a desire for) a sense of permanence and legacy by leaving an indelible footprint on the Earth as record of their being, It is after-all a very harsh terrain, and fragile environment in which to survive and mortality rates must have been high amongst early tribes who chose the desert as their home.

    As always, thanks for sharing! 😀


    1. Yes, the incredible human need for creativity which provides meaning to life and communication which provides connection with others. It is quite moving. I am glad you have received their message loud and clear Dewin and I am not surprised.

  16. Beautiful. ManyMany decades ago I passed Newspaper Rock manymany times on my way to camp and hike at Squaw Flats, now the Needles District campground. Wonderful hiking.

  17. The ancient carvings on the wall like these always intriguing to me. I think we can learn a lot from them. I think these ancient tribe has quite advance in term of head gears. Some of them look quite elaborate too. They are different kinds simple to more complex. They suggest that they have different social status. Interesting.

    1. Yes, I have the same sense that we have much to learn from them. I didn’t think of the headpieces reflecting status but it seems logical. They are fascinating to contemplate aren’t they. They seemed to have a sophisticated culture intertwined with the natural world. It is too bad we have lost that.

  18. We were actually able to see some petroglyphs when we were in Maui! They were on private land. The family used to maintain guardrails… but due to vandalism stopped maintaining the area – we had a old guild book that lead us to them, probably not in newer versions anymore. That was about 15 years ago. I though I had taken some photos… but they would be prints and I have yet to find them… possibly on a roll of real undeveloped film. (Sigh).

    1. Wonderful that you saw these! I think I saw those years ago too, on the big island. You sound like me with your photos. They are too hard to keep track of, let alone remember.

  19. I’m familiar with many of these images but always appreciate viewing them again/from different lenses/viewpoints, etc. I marvel because they loook so much like the designs/symbols/people/animals on a petroglyph I drew that was in a garden in Quito. When one draws the ancient designs, they are imprinted…

    If I could go back and start again, one of the studies would be the ancient petroglyphs/hieroglyphs, and even the designs in ancient pottery…

    All of your posts/photos are lovely!

    1. I agree with you and find the whole subject fascinating too. The thing I think quite interesting would be common themes running through early art in different epochs and geological areas. Are there themes common to every culture? I suspect nature, animals, birds, reptiles, sun, rivers and lakes would be common. But it would be interesting to go deeper. What birds? What animals? Are lakes depicted in similar ways? Is the sun? How about people? Spiritual expression? What are the things that are common to all our ancestors?

  20. These petroglyphs are new to me, thanks for sharing. I’m familiar with rock carvings in Norway 🇳🇴, UNESCO World Heritage today and find the earlier art of communicating deeply fascinating. Lovely photos, Cindy!

  21. Fascinating to wonder and imagine not just what they were saying but what kind of people they were, where and how they lived. And grieve that they no longer exist.

  22. Quite remarkable, and a very precious insight into man’s distant past. I have’t read the preceding 363 or so comments, Cindy… so I’ll ask, what protection do these have? I hope it’s more than a “please do no deface” notice.

    1. They really don’t have any protection and some had people’s names scratched around the perimeter (I am talking about you Nick), but most are pristine and left alone. There are a lot of these in the American Southwest. Some are in national parks, many like these are not. Some have heavy sheets of plexiglass screwed into the rock face protecting them, but most are scattered around and you find them as you hike. It is the same with metates (grinding stones), and petrified trees. They are just there where they were made, hoping that people will be wise enough to protect and value them. Sadly, sometimes people don’t.

  23. Pingback: Those Who Came Before ~ Cindy Knoke | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  24. As always, dear Cindy, I had to scroll and scroll to get my comment in! I’ve missed your fascinating picture-posts. I’ve been away from WordPress for ages. Glad to be back and you are the first one I’m checking out. Belated happy New Year. Big hugs, Sonali xx

      1. Minus thousands of years of shared knowledge, and the freedom and/or defiance to do just that, that “is” us, I think. Together we’ve traveled that far to now. Amazing! So glad you shared this, Cindy! 😊

  25. Cindy this is marvelous. The petroglyphs in New Mexico were the main part of my inspiration for one of my unfinished novels. (I bit off more than I could chew with the scope of the overall concept… Still hope to go back to that one.) Thanks so much for sharing these mysterious treasures. Hugs on the wing.

  26. I’m surprised the petroglyphs are accessible. When the Army created the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS), in SE Colorado, in the 1980s, they had to close the section of petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks in the Purgatoire River Canyon for preservation reasons. They found too much graffiti and erosion from human interaction. It says something about when the land was privately owned. Naturally, that section was closed to training, as are sections of where the old Santa Fe Trail traversed across the land.

    Access to the petroglyphs and the dino tracks are restricted to scientific investigation while the Santa Fe Trail sections are restricted for archaeological investigation.

    1. I did not include the pictographs I found with people’s names scratched all around the perimeter because it was too depressing. Pictographs are the most fragile and these were wonderful scenes of hunting. I have seen glyphs and graphs covered by sheets of bolted plexiglass. Sometimes, locations are not revealed in hopes that people won’t find them. I was in someone’s house once and they had stolen a stalagmite from a national park cave and proudly displayed it. It just strikes me as utter ignorance.

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  28. Isn’t it fascinating to see messages from so long ago, beautifully preserved? Your photos really get the mind swirling, wondering what their day to day lives were like. Hubby and I have often pondered on life long ago…. I’ll have to show these to him 🙂

      1. Ah, but I know your secret as I am sure many others do as well. I’ve no doubt that you are an excellent listener and we are both aware that those whose sole focus is their own pleasure will never hear. Gros bisous et calins mon amie. ❤

  29. We saw these same petroglyphs when we were driving through Utah. Almost missed them, but some other tourists pointed them out for us. Thanks for the good photos — I can actually see them better now!

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    1. I am happy you are interested Margaret. Thank you. It can become a wonderful addiction, always being on the lookout for rock art, metates, and such. They really are hiding in plain sight all over the American southwest დ

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