GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 63-13
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


FELDMAN, Howard R., Division of Paleontology (Invertebrates), American Museum of Natural History, 79th Street at Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5192,

A unique circular petroglyph from the Shawangunk Ridge in the lower Hudson Valley, New York was found carved into the resistant metaconglomerate/quartzitic rock not far from Mohonk Mountain House. The Shawangunk Formation crops out near Rosendale, New York and extends in a general southwestward direction accessible along Route 17 near Wurtsboro, again at the Delaware Water Gap and then can be traced in into Pennsylvania and Virginia. The ridge and surrounding area (e.g. Wallkill Valley) is lacking in chert, a vital raw material used in the carving of petroglyphs (Feldman, et al., 2016). However, there are numerous other examples of petroglyphs in the Hudson Valley. It is possible that the petroglyph in the Shawangunk Formation represents a territorial limit of post-glacial tribes of the Lithic or Archaic stages, possibly the Lenape. Similar petroglyphs are found at the V-V Heritage Site—Camp Verde One in Arizona, not far from Sedona. One panel may have been modelled after a calendar. A circle with cross, like the Shawangunk petroglyph, carved by southeastern Indigenous people, has been interpreted to represent the sun or a Siouan “four directions” symbol. A broken cross within a circle represents the four seasons. The Shawangunk petroglyph is similar in outline to the sun and may have also been related to a calendar carved by post-glacial inhabitants of the lower Hudson Valley.