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Lost Petroglyph
  • Lone-Lizard sees Ancient-History

    “Lane County has an abundance of prehistoric artifacts. This example of pictographs have defied the elements for centuries.  Writings can be see along Highway 395 near Lake Abert.  County contains almost a fourth of the state’s Indian writings.”  
    — Caption of a featured photograph of a petroglyph boulder in the Sunday Oregonian, 1959 [1]

    “Indian Pictographs in Lake County. Such Indian picture writings are usually not very old, because the desert wind and sand tend to obliterate them in about two hundred years as a rule.”  
    — Caption of a photograph of a petroglyph boulder published as the full-page frontispiece of The Oregon Desert, 1964 [2]  (Adapted image above)

    “The boulder was blasted by a maintenance crew about 1967, and the fragments graded into the ditch on the west side of the highway.”
    - Noted by Malcolm and Louise Loring from a 1967 visit, 1982 [3]

    The same petroglyph boulder is imaged and imagined in all three. The Oregonian and Oregon Desert photographs are almost identical.

    Lone-Lizard sees it coming: Ancient-History in not ancient. Lone-Lizard sees it going: Ancient-History is not history as a rule.  Ancient-History sees Lone-Lizard is not a lizard in dreamtime highway fragments.  [4]

    Above, an adapted image of Lorings's line drawing of the boulder’s face prior to 1967. They noted: "On one large lizard petroglyph the rock surface in the body was polished and painted with red pigment." 

    NOTES
    [1] "Pictographs, Petroglyphs Premium Lake County Attractions,” Sunday Oregonian, August 23, 1959, by Paul Laartz, The highlight of this feature story was a photograph of the boulder with petroglyphs on the southeast shore of Lake Abert. The story was part of series in partnership with the Oregon State Motor Assn to promote  tourism during Oregon’s centennial year.  
    Eerily, the 1959 article also includes another photograph captioned: “Lakeview, well known as a center of lumbering, cattle raising, has recently added this uranium reduction mill to its list of contributors to a thriving Lake County economy.”  The Lakeview Uranium Mill operated 1958-1961.  A 2017 fact sheet “provides information about the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978. Title I processing site and disposal site near Lakeview, Oregon. This site is managed by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management.”   https://www.lm.doe.gov/Lakeview/Disposal/Sites.aspx

    [2] The Oregon Desert, 1964, by E R Jackman and Reub A. Long, Caxton Press (Idaho).  Chapter 11, titled  “Indians in the Desert,” offers folksy observation, opinion and hearsay, vague (mis)information, and condescending pronouncements typical of late 19th- and early 20th-century attitudes. This enduringly popular volume has been continuously in-print since 1964; distributed by University of Nebraska Press. The full-page frontispiece photograph is the petroglyph boulder destroyed in 1967.

    [3] Malcolm and Louise Loring in 1967 visited the Lake Abert shore location of petroglyph boulder highlighted in the two photographs. In the description for  Site 140 the Lorings reference the 1959 Oregonian story.  Loring, J. Malcolm, and Louise Loring. Pictographs & Petroglyphs of the Oregon Country, Parts I & II. 1996. This one-volume corrected edition of the original 1982 two-volume publication is available online.

    [4] Dreamtime Highway is not a completely original phrase. I've admired Dreamtime Superhighway (2008), a superb book by Jo McDonald about the rock art of New South Wales, Australia, which "proposes that the rock art in the Sydney region functioned as a prehistoric information superhighway.” Something to ponder as we look to see.

    Lake Abert Southeast shore. (Photo Douglas Beauchamp, 2016)

  • Swallowing II: Requiem for a lost petroglyph boulder

    Dislocated from one another, we are now flooded,
    resting in place.
    We suffocate in the backwater of decadence
    and fractious contempt.
    Purity of the ancient is the language without tongues.
    The river elegantly marks swirls on its surface,
    a spiral that tells of a place
    that remains undisturbed.
       Elizabeth Woody, 1994 [1]

    Near the lower end there are several dangerous rocks in the rapid, and at the foot large masses of rock divide it into different parts the main channel empties into a capacious, deep basin of rectangular shape, called Big Eddy.   
       Captain. Chas. F. Powell, Corps of Engineers, 1882 [2]

    The investigation of the petroglyphs (in spring 1956) was made by Samuel C. Sargent, a Geologist with the Corps of Engineers, on The Dalles Dam project. Mr. Sargent called attention to petroglyphs existing on islands in Fivemile Rapids, which can be easily removed and are in an excellent state of preservation., these petroglyphs are located in areas 6 and 7. I would urge that these  petroglyphs be salvaged, since they represent unique forms for this area.
       David L. Cole, University of Oregon, 1956 [3]

    In attempting to raise the petroglyph from Area 7 (by the Corps of Engineer’s Derrick Barge “Cascade” after the formation of The Dalles Dam Pool), the connection to the lift line parted and the petroglyph ad lift line were lost.  In the near future, an attempt will be made to recover the petroglyph with the help of a diver.
       Joseph F. Garback, Lt Colonel, Corps of Engineers, 1957 [4]

    Area 7 was on a small island at the lower end of Fivemile Rapids. One rock was to be removed from this island. This rock was approximately seven feet high, eight feet wide and eight feet deep, weighing approximately seventeen tons. It was lying loose on a level area.  Jacks were used to lift the rock enough to slip the cables under … the petroglyph was … bound with a cable which was attached to a float.  In the attempt to lift this petroglyph a cable clamp slipped and it fell back into the water. The last report received was that the Corps of Engineers planned to send a diver down after it.
       David L. Cole, University of Oregon, 1958 [5]

     It is unfortunate that the petroglyph from Area #7 was lost in the efforts to raise it from the bottom of the pool.  Naturally, $1,000 to attempt to recover this petroglyph is out of line with the value of the petroglyph, and we feel that this petroglyph will have to be considered as lost.
       Herbert Maier, National Park Service, 1958 [6]

    Nature is a temple where living pillars
    Sometimes let out confused lyrics
    Man passes through, across forests of symbols
    Each one observing him with a familiar gaze

    Like long echoes, from afar confounding
    In a dark and profound unity
    Vast like night and like clarity
    Fragrance, color, and sound all resounding
       Charles Baudelaire, 1857 [7]

    Photos:  The Lost Petroglyph boulder from Area 7 

    NOTES
    [1] From Elizabeth Woody’s poem “Waterways Endeavor to Translate Silence from Currents.” In Luminaries of the Humble.  University of Arizona Press. 1994. Elizabeth Woody is an American Navajo-Warm Springs-Wasco-Yakama artist, author, and educator. In 2016 she was named Poet Laureate of Oregon.
    [2] From the May 30. 1882, report “The Survey of the Columbia River at The Dalles in Oregon,” by Captain. Chas. F. Powell, Corps of Engineers, US Engineers Office, Portland Oregon.  Note: The survey,  as part of an a project for the improvement of navigation, responded to an 1879 mandate by the U.S. Congress.
    [3] From the July 18, 1956, report “Further Recommendation for the Removal of Petroglyphs in The Dalles Dam Reservoir Area.” by David L. Cole, University of Oregon.
    [4] From a July 26, 1957, letter to the NPS from Joseph F. Garback, Lt Colonel. Corps of Engineers, Deputy District Engineer.
    [5] From the September 10, 1958, “A Report on the Removal of Petroglyphs in The Dalles Dam Reservoir Area,”  by David L. Cole, University of Oregon.
    [6] From an October 3, 1958, letter by Herbert Maier, Assistant Regional Director, National Park Service (in response to a September 25, 1958, letter from W. L. Winegar, Colonel, Corps of engineers, District engineer.)
    [7] Charles Baudelaire from the poem Correspondences in Les Fleurs du mal, 1857. Translated by Ariana Reines for Delirium: The Art of the Symbolist Book, an exhibition through May 14, 2017 at the Morgan Library and Museum, New York City. (Poem in Harper’s Magazine April 2017 p.22)

    END Notes
    - Hill and Hill (1974, p.257) include a photo of a 1956 casting of the petroglyph made by James Hansen for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).
    - McClure (1978, p.73-74) notes: “The Round Island Petroglyph site, a small island with a single petroglyph, about 3/4 mi above Big Eddy, a boulder atop.” In 1984 he designates the site 45KL220.
    - Loring and Loring (1982, Part 1) include a drawing:  Site 9. Big Eddy, Klickitat County, WA,  Fig 14 g. (Also p.11 of the 1996 2nd Edition)