About the Petroglyphs…
There are over 500 petroglyphs at nine sites in Machias Bay in Maine. All were made between 380 and 3,000 years ago. According to Mark Hedden, an archaelogist for the Maine State Historical Commission, they are the work of tribal Shamans (medicine men) of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and may represent an evolution of the public performances of the interaction between shaman and spirit. The petroglyphs illustrate the concept of spiritual metamorphosis, according to Hedden. Many of the petroglyphs appear to be anthropomorphic figures that are infused with the image and spirit of animals such as birds, serpents or other powerful spirits that support the hunt and/or other social institutions.
During this period, the Passamaquoddy occupied the Maine coast from the mouth of the Kennebec River easterly into central New Brunswick Province. Six different styles of Petroglyphs have been identified as occurring throughout this period. Seasonal gatherings involving more than one hundred canoes loaded with Indian visitors took place at Machias Bay as late as the 1790s. European settlers reported that the sounds of drumming could be heard through the night.
Source: Lenik, Edward J.
Rocks, American Indian Art in the Northeast Woodlands. Hanover and
London: University Press of New England :2003
The rocks in the photographs
on land that recently transferred to the Passamaquoddy tribe.
Many thanks to Mark Hedden,
recognized authority on the Machias Bay Petroglyphs, for his expert
interpretations of the Petroglyphs, which can be seen in the picture
The photos of the Petroglyphs
the Rocks in their natural surroundings have been exhibited in the
Downeast Heritage Museum in Calais and
at the Gallery of the University of Maine Machias.
It may be
worthwhile to know that the pictures of the individual petroglyphs are
digitally enhanced with high color contrast to show their detail.