The Mysteries of Saint Lucia's
Petroglyph Explorers Roger Stanley owns a window-cleaning company for skyscrapers in Toronto Canada but since 1997 he and his partner Penny have indulged their for passion for adventure and ancient history by travelling to Peru, Brazil and Guyana, seeking out ancient, rock carvings and engravings, artifacts and artwork going back as far as 10,000 years ago.
Roger has always been interested in documenting and studying the forms and designs carved deep into boulders which are often located in remote river beds or on the rainforest floor. He and Penny have also explored Grenada before coming to Saint Lucia in December as part of a long term plan to travel throughout the West Indies, discovering symbols and comparing artifacts like pottery, tools and jewelry which may have been used by indigenous and invading Amerindians around 5,ooo years ago. As the unseasonal rains fell on Christmas Eve, Roger and a local friend were unearthing another petroglyph-embellished boulder on a Soufriere beach, which had to be unearthed again after the storm passed.
Petroglyphs have been found all over the world, from Australia and India to South America, Europe and the Middle East, on rocks and boulders, in caves and on cliffs, often in remote locations, sometimes discovered under the nose of local residents who never thought twice until an archaeologist or anthropologist enlightened them. Suggested to be the ancient symbols of language or prehistoric visual artworks, many of Saint Lucia's petroglyph designs and those in other countries ressemble human form, but some symbols look more like hieroglyphs or an indigenous alphabet: Roger has many theories but admits his journey is at the very beginning, and there are more questions than answers.
For example why are there shards of pottery at Saint Lucia's Balembouche Estate which are very much like artifacts Roger observed in Grenada? Why are there so many rock petroglyphs in the Soufriere area, at Malgretoute and Stonefield Estate - and are there many undiscovered in the rest of the island?
And even more interesting, why do some of the symbols look like aliens from another planet?
Roger raises an amused eyebrow and asks have I not seen the NatGeo documentary called Ancient Aliens?
Petroglyphs are a little-investigated phenomenon in the Caribbean, although there are local devotees like ex-pat Maurice Widdowson who makes the carved rocks of Romney Manor a tour stop en route to Caribelle Batik in Saint Kitts, and the Brown family at Stonefield who have built the ancient artifacts into their historic plantation resort.
If Roger and Penny have their way, the story of petroglyphs will be uncovered and told: "We have taken great pleasure in seeking out ancient artwork, going back as far as 10,000 years ago. By travelling through the West Indies, we are compiling information about the ancient peoples of the Caribbean countries, what they have left for us to try to understand. It's a fascinating journey and we'll be going onward to Guadeloupe to see what the French islands have hidden away, but Penny and I plan to come back and unearth more of Saint Lucia's petroglyphs soon."