York Town Square

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Petroglyphs, American Indian carvings, almost forgotten treasure

Paul Nevin traces a thunderbird carving with a wet sponge to make it show up better in the midday sunlight. He told the York Daily Record/Sunday News that the best time to see the Native American-carved prehistoric rock art is in the fall and in the early morning or evening, when the sun is lower in the sky.
We’ll let Bil Bowden’s photographs wet your interest in the petroglyphs carved centuries ago in rocks in the Susquehanna River.
And read Jennifer Vogelsong’s story about the efforts by Paul Nevin, a Hellam Township man to tell others about the carvings and their connection to Native American cultures.
Here are some bullet points about the carvings, unsung York County-area landmarks (for additional such little-known landmarks, search this blog for “unsung.”):

Nevin wets a serpent petroglyph on Little Indian Rock in the Susquehanna River south of Safe Harbor Dam. To see video of Nevin in action, visit www.ydr.com/video and search for ‘petroglyph.’
The petroglyphs
Where to find them: On several rocks just below Safe Harbor Dam
Who made them: Algonquin-speaking Indians who lived in the area before the Susquehannocks.
What they mean: Those who study them still aren’t sure, but they say their size, number, location and position indicate they were carved to convey a message and are more than just prehistoric graffiti.
How old they are: 800 to 1,000 years
How to protect them: Do not walk on the markings or add markings of your own.
To get involved
Friends of the Safe Harbor Petroglyphs is a group whose mission is to preserve, protect and raise awareness about the Native American rock art in the Susquehanna River below Safe Harbor Dam.
The organization would like to install small identifying plaques on the rocks, continue research and develop interpretive materials about the petroglyphs.
For details, visit http://members.aol.com/Susquekal/SusquehannaRiverRockArt.htm
This petroglyph, of a man with big hands and big feet, is said to represent a leader, one who walks a lot and has a good grasp of situations.