I'm sure there will be differing opinions as to whether or not these are true petroglyphs, but I found them all along one single road in Palo Alto. They clearly weren't all made to repair road cracks. They looked like urban petroglyphs to me! You can find some of my images here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23526605@N00/sets/72157594241400279/


Views: 56

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for sharing this (and for re-posting to the forum instead of email). I can't say that I've seen "petroglyphs" like these before. Taxpayer dollars well spent supporting the arts?
I wonder if there is an population intersection between road workers and graffiti artists?

Francine Barone said:
Thanks for sharing this (and for re-posting to the forum instead of email). I can't say that I've seen "petroglyphs" like these before. Taxpayer dollars well spent supporting the arts?
One way of looking at the glyphs is as an artifact connected with the passage of time in the workday. In factory or repetitive work, workers often hum or softly sing lullabies as they pass time. Can we make comparisons in our own workday? The drawings look to me as if they came from the same hand/mind. It would be interesting to see if they can be photographed in relation to the way the artist/worker stood while they were created. Thanks for sharing them.
Based on the location, one guess is that a road repair crew may have been using up the extra tar at the end of the day -- on the way down the hill after working on the larger nearby highway. (Or, testing its consistency on the way up?) There are a few roads that go up to the main highway, but it seems this one isn't used as much, which might have made it a good canvas. From the different images, it does not appear that they were all done at the same time. Hard to photograph from angle of creation. I tried to photograph them in such a way that I could capture the entire image. At first I thought they were just hanging off the back of a truck dripping the tar. Some of the designs (like the whale) are too complex for that--they had to have stopped to create them.

Another idea is that if someone had a roof repaired in the area, the creator/s could have spent the afternoon "painting." The art is distributed over a distance, though, so my first hypothesis about a moving truck --or a least a way to make the tar portable is more likely.
This is a fantastic discovery. Thanks for sharing!

sally applin said:
Based on the location, one guess is that a road repair crew may have been using up the extra tar at the end of the day -- on the way down the hill after working on the larger nearby highway. (Or, testing its consistency on the way up?) There are a few roads that go up to the main highway, but it seems this one isn't used as much, which might have made it a good canvas. From the different images, it does not appear that they were all done at the same time. Hard to photograph from angle of creation. I tried to photograph them in such a way that I could capture the entire image. At first I thought they were just hanging off the back of a truck dripping the tar. Some of the designs (like the whale) are too complex for that--they had to have stopped to create them.

Another idea is that if someone had a roof repaired in the area, the creator/s could have spent the afternoon "painting." The art is distributed over a distance, though, so my first hypothesis about a moving truck --or a least a way to make the tar portable is more likely.
Claire Law said:
This is a fantastic discovery. Thanks for sharing!


Thanks Claire!
Hi Sally,

In filing some of my negatives I found that I had photographed similar road repairs on the road to the Mono Lake Cemetery near the town of Lee Vining California. Then this morning I found the same type of repair made at the Vons supermarket. I photographed them. It looks to me that hair-line cracks in the parking lot were repaired with this method. The photograph I made shows fine cracks in the pavement with repairs in some areas. It looks like as cracks develop more and more repairs are made to create fantastic patterns. If they were repaired all at one time you would expect to see an repair like we both photographed. But the most fantastic element of your discovery to me is your creative interpretation and naming of your petroglyphs.
Hi Mark,

Thanks for sharing your experience.

In the case of the ones that I have photographed, it does seem that they were created by a type of play, rather than a function of work. They are simply too condensed--and some form obvious shapes. The tar is also all the same age in each work.

For example in this one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23526605@N00/217016913/in/set-72157594...

There is lots of swirling and not much in the way of cracks underneath the tar. There is a faded bit underneath, but the entire "whale" was created at the same time.

Its hard to believe that some of these shapes developed as a result of mere repetitive crack repair.

They were photographed around 2004-2005. Since its been some time, I might go back there and see what has changed -- maybe it will provide some clues.
Upon reviewing your photographs again, I think you are right about them not being repairs. They are to fluid in the quality of line work. Did you make any photographs of them in relationship to the site? If you return, it may be interesting to create a “mapping” that would emphasize the spatial and temporal relationships of the drawings. Also, since the artifacts were “drawn” would it be more appropriate to classify them as pictographs instead of petroglyphs?
I don't think that pictographs is right either. If "Petroglyph" is carved image into stone, then what we really need is "raised" image on top of asphalt. I just don't know the Greek prefix for those. Do you?
What framework will provide the greatest insight into this found artwork?
Should the artwork be viewed in an archaeological context? And therefore be named or classified in that tradition as a pictograph (high relief)? Since the media is in high relief (alto relievo) it shares traits with Tibetan mandalas and Navaho sand painting, but is this artwork an expression of ritual or cosmology? Was it made to be permanent or impermanent like the mandalas and sand paintings? Was the artist’s intent a flight of fancy or calculated performance? The drawings are beautiful and mysterious artifacts. Is that not enough? Or are we always compelled to seek meaning at all turns of the road?
Mark, What is your intent here? At first I thought you wanted to have a dialog about my photographs. However, now it seems that you would like to use them as a platform for your own internal philosophizing. That has its place and all, but I don't really feel like it belongs here. You were the one who introduced the classification discussion, and when I began that discussion with you, you then turned around and questioned the idea of classification and whether or not to classify them!

RSS

Translate

@OpenAnthCoop

© 2014   Created by Keith Hart.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service