Messages Through Time: Petroglyphs


Petroglyphs VCDo you know what a petroglyph is? Today we had a video conference with the Minnesota History Center. We learned about a historic site in Minnesota called the Jeffers Petroglyphs. After our conference we all wrote down some of the facts we learned. Here are a few of them:

  • Petro means stone and glyph means picture, so petroglyphs are pictures that are made in stone.
  • Native Americans drew symbols on rocks to tell stories about what was important to them.
  • We know what the symbols mean because of the oral tradition which is still passed on today.
  • Native Americans used tools made of stone, wood and animal bones.
  • They had a tool called an atlatl. It helped them throw an arrow 2.5 times farther than they could by hand.
  • Native Americans drew timelines in the shape of a spiral instead of a straight line.
  • They planted three sisters gardens, which had corn, beans and squash.
  • Many petroglyphs had pictures of buffalo, which the Native Americans used for food and to make clothes, houses and tools.

After we learned about petroglyphs we tried making petroglyphs of our own. We used sand paper and crayons to make drawings of things that are important to us. Here’s a slideshow of our model petroglyphs. Can you tell what our favorite symbols are?

There is a hiking trail close to our school called Hieroglyphic Trail, where you can see real petroglyphs.  Have you ever seen a real petroglyph?


  1. Petroglyph’s are really neat. Derrik has been to the Hieroglyphic Trail, we even took our dog Ducati with us. I will have him bring some pictures in of them next week. We have also see Petroglyph’s near the Petrified Forest.

    You all did a great job making your own petroglyph’s!

  2. Dear Mrs. Hamman I liked the video that you put up on the blog.
    From Daniel your student

  3. Dear Mrs. Hamman’s Class,

    Yes, I have hiked the Hieroglyphic Springs Trail many times. I have some pictures of it. I will try to bring some to share with you. When Four Peaks used to have a hiking club called Pathfinders, the 6th grade members hiked there on a Saturday morning. It was a beautiful spring day with standing pools of water in the hallows of the rocks. It is an easy hike that only takes about 45 minutes–one way. It is a fun way to begin a new sport if you have never hiked before!

    I wish I was on the trail now,
    Mrs. Salmon

  4. Dear Mrs. Hamman,
    We also had a video conference. It was long but interesting. It was about art and symbols of the United States of America. I like doing video conferences, do you?

    Your friend,

  5. Dear Mrs. Hammans Class,

    We thought your petroglyphs cool. What was your favourite part of learning about petroglyphs? We want to try to make our own petroglyph.

    Our 3B Quad Blogging buddies

    • We thought it was interesting to think that these drawings have been around for hundreds of years. We wondered what the people who drew them were like. We liked making our own petroglyphs, too—coloring on sandpaper is fun!

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