revisiting Hornby’s petroglyphs



This year’s mini-vacation to Hornby Island was a sort of pilgrimage for me as we revisited some favourite spots from past visits. It must be over 15 years ago when we first saw the petroglyphs made by early First Nations peoples. Interestingly, those first photos were captured on film. They later appeared in several of my prints and in a book.

Sadly, the petroglyphs have worn down considerably since then for they are next to the sea and we could find only these two this time. The bright morning light meant the carvings appeared very faint in my digital photos so I’ve had to manipulate these images to bring out the contrast, hence the excessive graininess where the rocks were actually quite smooth. I’m so happy to have seen them again.

Related links:
my petroglyph photos in a book
a petroglyph photographed long ago

ADDENDUM November 10th: To answer Joe’s excellent question in the comments below, I’ve gone to the book mentioned in the link above: In Search of Ancient British Columbia, and the chapter on the Gulf Islands. On page 225, titled Petroglyphs, where my photographs are also featured, authors Philip Torrens and Heidi Henderson write:

Because petroglyphs are carved from rock rather than from bone or other organic matter, archaeologists cannot determine their ages using carbon-14 or other radioactive dating techniques. Attempts to determine ages by erosion are challenged by the fact that we have no way of knowing how deeply carved the grooves were in the first place. Given the heavy rain on most of the B.C. coast, it seems improbable that any surviving petroglyphs date back to the beginning of human presence here – at least 12,000 years ago. Estimates of their ages range from a few thousand years to less than a century, depending on the petroglyph and its location.

November 9, 2009 in Books, Canada and BC, Photoworks, Rock Art & Archaeology, Rocks by Marja-Leena