Nevada Petroglyphs Oldest in N. America

Article excerpt

Pyramid Lake, Nevada (AP) - Ancient rock etchings along a dried-up lake bed in Nevada have been confirmed to be the oldest recorded petroglyphs in North America, dating back at least 10,000 years.

The petroglyphs found on limestone boulders near Pyramid Lake in northern Nevada's high desert are similar in design to etchings found at a lake in Oregon that are believed to be at least 7,600 years old. Unlike later drawings that sometimes depict a spear or antelope, the carvings are abstract with tightly clustered geometric designs - some are diamond patterns, others have short parallel lines on top of a longer line.

Scientists can't tell for sure who carved them, but they were found on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe's reservation land. "We initially thought people 12,000 or 10,000 years ago were primitive, but their artistic expressions and technological expertise associated with these paints a much different picture,'' said Eugene Hattori, the curator of anthropology at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City who co-wrote a paper on the findings earlier this month in the Journal of Archaeological Science. …