Giant Echidna, Arnhem Land, Australia, c. 40,000 BC
This rock painting of Zaglossus hacketti, a sheep-sized Echidna from the Pleistocene era, was found alongside depictions of other extinct megafauna in Australia’s Northern Territory—giant Emus, giant Kangaroos, and Thylacines. Since some of these animals have been extinct since 40,000 BC, these cave paintings must date to a similar era.
I have been exploring ancestral Native American rock art images of shamans, re-interpreting some of the forms using scratchboard techniques. Ritual snake handling was apparently in the job description for these ancient holy men.
For endless solitude and stargazing, plan a visit to Whitney Pocket in Nevada. Whitney Pocket is located at the intersection of the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway and Whitney Pass Road. It contains a cluster of sandstone outcrops with cultural resource sites, including prehistoric habitation and rock art. Makes for amazing day and nighttime views.
Thanks to @cynrk for the note about Arizona’s birthday!
While younger than Oregon (statehood in 1912), equally amazing in very different ways. Our post highlights some of the most interesting things about BLM Arizona public lands - petroglyphs, unique wildlife, cool cactus and other plants, out-of-this world geologic formations and so much more. A lot to love about Arizona on Valentine’s Day.
Decorated stone, orthostat L2, Mound of the Hostages by Ursula Mattenberger
O’Sullivan, M., & na Ngiall, D., 2005, Duma na nGiall (The Mound of the Hostages),Tara. Wicklow, 246.
The Mound of the Hostages (Duma na nGiall), is the oldest visible monument on the Hill of Tara. The mound covers a passage tomb built 5,000 years ago (around 3,000 BC). It was used as a place to bury human remains for more than 1,500 years. The mound lies near the northern edge of a large enclosure called Ráith na Ríg (Fort of the Kings) which was built around 100 BC. The line of Ráith na Ríg was laid out so that the ancient mound would lie within it thus respecting its importance. The Mound of the Hostages got it name in the medieval period because it was the place where the symbolic exchange of hostages took place.
The Tara excavation project began in the early summer of 1952, directed by Seán P. Ó Ríordáin, Professor of Celtic Archaeology at University College, Dublin. In 1956, after two seasons excavation at the mound, Prof Ó Ríordáin became ill. He died in 1957. His successor, Professor Ruaidhrí de Valera completed the excavation of the Mound of the Hostages in 1959. Dr Muiris O’Sullivan completed the task of publishing the excavation Duma na nGiall - The Mound of the Hostages in 2005.