Thunderbird Petroglyph

Thunderbird petroglyph

     Rock art, such as the Thunderbird petroplyph, can be found all over the desert Southwest. In archaeology, rock art is human-made markings placed on natural stone. Such artworks are often divided into three forms: petroglyphs, which are carved into the rock surface; pictographs, which are painted onto the surface; and earth figures or intaglios, engraved into the ground.

     In the legends of native North Americans, the Thunderbird is a powerful spirit in the form of a large bird. In many stories, the Thunderbird is thought of as a great Eagle or even a Condor. Thunderbird was used as an allegory for certain forces of nature in the natural order such as wind, thunder, lightning, etc. As the legend goes, lightning flashes from its beak and eyes, and the beating of its wings creates the thunder. The Thunderbird petroglyph symbol has been found across Canada and the United States, and within nearly all Native North American people’s legends and stories. 

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