Oldest Petroglyphs in North America

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I found this article in the local newspaper then this more detailed one on the Internet, I was thrilled that the Native Americans of 10,500 years ago, or earlier, graciously anticipated my next novel, Panther Watches, and created their oldest stone art in Nevada, adding a hint of fact to my totally fictional legends.

Petroglyphs near Lake Winnemucca have been carbon dated to be between 14,000 to 10,500 yrs old.

Petroglyphs near Lake Winnemucca have been carbon dated to be between 14,000 to 10,500 yrs old.


Shogan was inspired by one sentence in a historical record stating that an Englishman lived in Japan in the 1600’s, so too, the underlying legend in Panther Watches, comes from a short statement by Sarah Winnemucca in Life Among the Piutes. On page 1, she says, when tribesmen described strange people traveling nearby their village, her grandfather jumped to his feet and said, “My white brothers, my long-looked for white brothers have come at last.” The grandfather’s lengthy explanation of the tribal legend is on the second page of her book. I’m surprised Scott Wolter hasn’t picked up on this. That first contact between the whites and the Paiutes seems to have been the high point in their association. Things went downhill for the Paiutes from there.
Stone art is called a petroglyph when it is created by removing stone to create a pattern or image. Pictograph, on the other hand, is the application of color to the stone to create the art work.
Technically, the art near Lake Winnemucca, is the oldest datable stone art in North America. It can be dated because the carvings were under water except for two periods of time, the most recent one being between 11,000 and 10,500 years ago. This is known because the waters of Lake Winnemucca laid a layer of carbonate over the lower part of the stone art, and this layer has been carbon dated to that time period. While other techniques are used, I suspect that that most ancient rock art is not so easily and accurately dated.
There is some speculation that the rock carvings are from the people of the Spirit Cave Man, a prehistoric man whose remains were also found in Northern Nevada.

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