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I attended The Ometepe Petroglyph Project held in Nicaragua from the late January to early March 99.

Isla OmetepeThe project was held on the twin volcanic island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua. Ometepe is the world's largest freshwater island. The purpose of the project was to survey parts of the island, looking for and recording pre-columbian petroglyphs. This was the last season of a five year project.

Several hundred petroglyphs were found, mapped and recording by photography and scale drawing during the six week survey. The figures included various anthropomorphic and zoomorphic representations such as smiling faces, monkeys, lizards and turtles. However, the vast majority were either geometric forms, spirals and circles being very common, or totally abstract collections of curvilinear lines.

Monkeys Petroglyph Human Petroglyph Lizard (?) Petroglyph Geometric Petroglyph

Many large cupules which had clearly been used as mortars were also found, as well as many troughs and "washboard" shapes which caused much discussion. In addition we found a proto-statue, a rock that was clearly an unfinished statue of the type found in other parts of the region.

Monkey PetroglyphCupulesRegrettably, very little archaeological research has been done in Nicaragua, and the European colonists were quite effective in wiping out the indigenous population and, with it, knowledge of their cultural and ethnic history. As a result the origins of the petroglyphs are not known. It is thought that they may have been made by the Chorotega, an indigenous peoples that used to occupy the area, however there is only anecdotal evidence for this. Who made the petroglyphs, when they were made, why, and what most of them represent remains a mystery.

Ometepe Wildlife Gallery

Magpie-Jay Moth Holwer Monkey Holwer Monkey Scorpion Flycatcher

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