An­cient Pet­ro­glyphs

The Mys­ter­ies of Saint Lu­cia's

Tropical Traveller Magazine - - ISLANDHISTORY -

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."

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