Indian writing vs. Spanish symbols
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  1. #1

    Apr 2008

    Indian writing vs. Spanish symbols

    I'm new to this forum and want to thank everyone for the wonderful information they've contributed. I've spent many hours perusing the contents here and look forward to many more.

    While I'm new here, I'm not altogether new to hunting for that "pot of gold" and have spent days and weeks out in the field occupied with that search in our beautiful outdoors.

    The reason for this post is to try and help clarify a basic confusion that I've seen in some of the posts here; the confusion of Spanish codes with Indian rock writing.

    First off, let me state that I've had a very basic understanding of Spanish symbols (I'm learning thanks to you all), knowing the more common signs for some years. They're largely single codes that have a clear meaning and are usually found by themselves on either rock (very rare) or carved into trees (subsequently lost due to annual growth) which were fairly common. Again, this is based upon my own research and may be wrong -- someone is welcome to correct me here.

    On the other hand, Indian symbols were varied and usually found clustered together on a large rock surface, whether they were painted (pictographs) or carved into the surface (petroglyphs).

    Due to the research of LeVan Martineau, much of Indian symbols have been decoded and he has single-handedly proven beyond much doubt that the American Indian had a very sophisticated writing system that was based upon their sign language which was universally spoken from coast to coast. This also means that allowing for variations of culture, their writing system could be read by different tribes as well. Due to the United States Government's systematic eradication of their cultural knowledge (the motive of which I think was ignorant but well-intentioned) this knowledge was lost.

    The bottom line...

    Much of their writing can be deciphered now, but much of that deciphering depends upon factors that are largely absent from the various postings on this forum.

    --Orienting the rock writing as to which of the cardinal points it faces.

    --Taking a picture of the rock it is on (see Martineau's "rock incorporation"), as well as detailed (close up) photos of the writing.

    --Making sure that the picture is oriented with the topmost point of the writing upwards.

    A good example of a Indian rock writing that cannot be deciphered as a result of not having supplied any of this essential information can be found here:,136290.0.html

    This is perhaps a Coahiltecan writing (surprisingly as per it's location) that is typical of the lower Pecos valley however it is undecipherable as the essential requirements listed above are missing. The "rubbing" technique is to be commended as it does the least damage to such writing but it is difficult to determine what are the rock's natural features and which are the actual figures that the Indians carved.

    Lastly let me say that it is imperative to never move smaller rocks that are found to contain Indian writing as their natural orientation is essential to discovering what the message contains. Placing that rock in context to the surroundings is a must and anything that would effect that context is to be avoided at all costs.

    I've been impressed with the level of civilized discourse here and I hope to look to you fine folks for help on occasion. Also, there is a high degree of respect for that which has come before us and I look forward to getting to know you all.

  2. #2

    Apr 2008

    Re: Indian writing vs. Spanish symbols

    I just realized that I probably put this topic in the wrong section...sorry! Please feel free to move it if possible and I'll try and figure this place out better before I act next time.



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