Nazca spider

Nazca spider on polished granite slab

In the Nazca desert of southern Peru, there are many geoglyphs that were created about 1,500 years ago. The geoglyphs were created by moving aside the darker-colored rocks on the surface to reveal the lighter-colored soil below. Many of the geoglyphs are straight lines, but some of the geoglyphs are in the shapes of living things (biomorphs), including animals (zoomorphs) and plants (phytomorphs).

There didn’t seem to be much chance of me actually getting to Peru to see the geoglyphs so I decided to make one for myself. The Nazca spider is about 150 feet long and my spider is about 2 feet long and my spider is portable.

Mosquito!

Mosquito

With the warmer weather, some winged insects have been showing up. What better way to celebrate the coming of spring than a painted petroglyph of Minnesota’s favorite insect, the mosquito? This blood-filled version is on a polished granite slab about 2 feet wide with rough edges.

Creature Path tee marker

Readers of Garage Logic: A Companion Guide to Life in the Radio Town (2010) by Joe Soucheray and illustrations by Greg Holcomb may remember several references to the Creature, sort of the Garage Logic version of Bigfoot. Also, the Creature is depicted in some illustrations including the Creature crossing sign on the cover of the book.

Creature Path is the local golf course where the Creature is sometimes seen. The Creature damaged the tee markers at the tenth hole, so we can assume that those tee markers were made of wood and not stone.

This tee marker features the Creature on the upper left and the golf course name on the lower right of a polished slab of garnet gneiss that was rescued from a dumpster. The slab is about 34 inches wide by 25 inches high by 1.25 inches thick.

Creature Path tee marker

New rocks at the Cloquet public library

Modern hand petroglyphs at the Cloquet public library

Modern turtle petroglyph at the Cloquet public library showing hole

Modern turtle petroglyph at the Cloquet Public Library

Visitors to the Cloquet public library may have noticed two new rocks near the main door. Runoff from the roof was eroding holes in the ground on either side of the door so I offered to put some art on rocks that could be used to slow the water down as it came off the roof.

The rock on the south side of the door has three hand petroglyphs. During the process of moving the rock and adding the hands, great care was taken to preserve the moss that had been growing on the rock when it was located in Pine Valley park. The greywacke has a number of natural cavities that the runoff hits when the rainfall intensity is just right.

The rock on the north side of the door has a turtle petroglyph. The turtle design was inspired by Hawaiian turtle petroglyphs and modified to fit the rock. The rock had a 3-inch diameter hole drilled through it sometime before it was placed along a trail near the St. Louis River. The turtle was roughly centered around the hole on what would have been the bottom of the rock when it was drilled. The runoff hits the hole when the runoff intensity is just right.

On November 1, 2011, the library held an artist’s reception for the rock art and some other art that had recently been created for the library.

The hand in rock art

Green hand on gneiss

Blue hand on gneiss

Red, green, and yellow hands on gneiss

The human hand may be the most common theme in ancient rock art. It is found in rock art created over tens of thousands of years all over the world. Painted versions of the hand were created by (1) putting the pigment on the hand and pressing the hand on the rock or (2) placing the hand on the rock and blowing the pigment around the hand.

The photos show modern rock art on a piece of gneiss from a quarry near Onamia, MN. Five hands in five colors and five sizes were put on the rock. The hands from largest to smallest are green, blue, red, pink, and yellow.

Snapping turtle news – 2011

Snapping turtle laying eggs before she was run over by a vehicle

The local snapping turtle made her appearance on July 19, much to my surprise. During 2009 and 2010, she deposited her eggs on June 16 and 14, respectively. She was so late this year that I thought she might not have made it through the winter. Unfortunately, as she was headed back to the stream, someone was good enough to run over her on the shoulder of the road. It was raining hard at times and visibility wasn’t great so maybe it was an accident.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the eggs. If the baby turtles take about 90 days to hatch again, they may encounter some cool weather and be too late to survive. If they hatch about 30 days earlier, the baby turtles may be too small to survive.

Moose (incised) – North Hegman Lake pictograph

North Hegman Lake moose (incised) - BWCAW

The incised version of the moose is based on a red pictograph in the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) near Ely, Minnesota. The design is based on the image on page 148 in Magic on the Rocks: Canoe Country Pictographs (2000) by Michael Furtman. The moose is part of the panel shown on page 147 of that book. This is one of the most-visited pictograph panels in the BWCAW, but it is featured in two logos also. The North Hegman Lake moose can be seen in the logo for the Minnesota Office of the State Archaeologist and the USDA Forest Service Passport in Time program (volunteer archaeology and historic preservation). Also, the moose is used in advertising for Ebel’s Voyageur Houseboats.

The rough texture of the moose was inspired by the texture of some petroglyphs and provides an interesting contrast to the smoothness of the polished slab. The moose is painted in a shade of red similar to that of the pictograph.

Moose (relief) – North Hegman Lake pictograph

North Hegman Lake moose

North Hegman Lake moose (relief) - BWCAW

The relief version of the moose is based on a red pictograph in the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) near Ely, Minnesota. The design is based on the image on page 148 in Magic on the Rocks: Canoe Country Pictographs (2000) by Michael Furtman. The moose is part of the panel shown on page 147 of that book. This moose is part of one of the most-visited pictograph panels in the BWCAW, but it is featured in two logos also. The North Hegman Lake moose can be seen in the logo for the Minnesota Office of the State Archaeologist and the USDA Forest Service Passport in Time program (volunteer archaeology and historic preservation). Also, the moose is used in advertising by Ebel’s Voyageur Houseboats.

A photo of this rock was shown a few minutes into the June 2, 2011, episode of Great Gardening (WDSE).

Two figures in a canoe – Agnes Lake pictograph

Two figures in a canoe - Agnes Lake

Two figures in a canoe - Agnes Lake, Ontario

This rock was donated to the Hartley Nature Center benefit auction in April 2010. The petroglyph-style design on this rock is based on a red paint pictograph in Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park. The pictograph was depicted on page 96 of Magic on the Rocks: Canoe Country Pictographs (2000) by Michael Furtman. The rock is about 4 feet wide by 3 feet high by about 1.5 inches thick.