Ancient Indian petroglyphs (symbols carved or pecked on rocks) and pictographs (rock paintings) are claimed by some to be forms of writing for which meanings are known. But are such claims supported by archaeology or by Native Americans? Allen Dart illustrates how petroglyph and pictograph styles changed through time and over different parts of the southwest both before and after non-Indian peoples entered the region. He discusses how the same rock art symbol may be interpreted differently from popular, scientific, and modern Native American perspectives.

Archaeologist Allen Dart has worked in New Mexico and Arizona since 1975. A UNM graduate, he worked for the Museum of New Mexico and the Bureau of Indian Affairs before receiving his master’s degree in Arizona. Al is the executive director of Tucson’s Old Pueblo Archaeology Center, a nonprofit he founded in 1993. He has received awards and honors from the National Park Service and other organizations for his efforts to bring archaeology and history to the public.