Many would say yes that the petroglyph, one form of rock art is graffiti. However, others claim that these different forms of rock art, especially the petroglyph, are in fact ancient written communications, but that we have yet to solved the code for understanding their communication.
(m1c-20160316) Three rivers petroglyph site. Mountain goat with three arrows.
Still others claim the petroglyph is part of the religion of the ancients, as some of the figures are representations of their gods. For instance, Kokopelli, depicted as a humpbacked flute player, often with four feathers or antenna-like protrusions on his head, is a fertility deity, a trickster god and also one which represents the spirit of music. He is often seen carrying unborn children on his back.
Yet, included in the realm of petroglyph and pictograph are numerous other images, many having no apparent connection to religion.
Different Forms of Rock Art
There are many forms of ancient rock art, which include the well know petroglyph and pictograph. However, rock art also includes cave paintings, geoglyphs and rock relief all of which are the subject of this gallery
In archaeology, rock art is human-made markings placed on natural stone. Rock art is a global phenomenon that is found in many culturally diverse regions of the world and throughout all of human history.
The defining characteristic of rock art is that it is placed on natural rock surfaces, and thus is distinct from artworks placed on constructed walls and those that are free-standing sculpture. As such, rock art is a form of landscape art, and includes designs on boulder, cliff faces, cave walls, cave ceilings, and on ground surface rock.
Such artwork is divided into several categories including: (1) petroglyph, those carved into the rock surface, (2) pictograph, those painted onto the surface, (3) parietal art, which are cave painting, (4) geoglyphs, those formed in ground rock (positively or negatively) and (5) rock relief, those carved from solid rock.
Both cave painting and pictograph are painted onto rock walls, the primary difference is the location. Cave walls provide much protection form the elements where the pictograph are open to the elements and often fade over time.