Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Zipper Petroglyph - Parowan Gap

Driving up to Parowan Gap, the petroglyph that catches your eye first is the Zipper Glyph. Sitting high up on the rock face, this petroglyph initially appears to be a mess of ancient graffiti. In actual fact it is a calendar used by the ancient Fremont Indians to track the movement of the sun from the vernal equinox through to the winter solstice.

The Fremont determined they should plant 41 days after the vernal equinox to ensure the frost wouldn't kill their maize (there are 41 dots in the box at the upper right). After watching the animal's mating patterns, they learned that if they conceived eight weeks after the summer solstice, there babies would be born in the spring and have the best chance of survival. This is marked by the male sign of fertility at the bottom of the circular part of the petroglyph ~ don't ask me how they accomplised this!

I have only described a tidbit of the meaning of this petroglyph. If you'd like scientific information about this and other petroglyphs, I recommend THE PAROWAN GAP by V. Garth Norman, which can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com/.

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