Time Magazine Story: Chumash Oak Arborglyph in San Luis Obispo County

Here is a story in Time Magazine by Santa Barbara Independent senior editor Matt Kettmann. It’s  about a Chumash Indian carving or arborglyph in an old oak tree in the mountains of San Luis Obispo County.

The story features a time lapse photo of a pictograph at night at the Painted Rock site on the Carrizo Plain in San Luis Obispo County rather than a shot of the arborglyph. I recognized the particular pictograph shown in the photo. I included several of my own photos below showing what the area looks like during the day.
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A Tree Carving in California: Ancient Astronomers?

By Matt Kettmann Tuesday, Feb. 09, 2010
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Though local lore held that the so-called “scorpion tree” had been the work of cowboys, paleontologist Rex Saint Onge immediately knew that the tree was carved by Indians when he stumbled upon it in the fall of 2006. Located in a shady grove atop the Santa Lucia Mountains in San Luis Obispo County, the centuries-old gnarled oak had the image of a six-legged, lizard-like being meticulously scrawled into its trunk, the nearly three-foot-tall beast topped with a rectangular crown and two large spheres. . . .
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The multi-colored lichen covered rock face with the pictograph to the lower right of the darkened hole in the center of the frame. The banner image was cropped from this photo.

The red arrow points down to where the pictograph is located on the Painted Rock monolith on the Carrizo Plain.

The trail to the top of the rock and where the pictograph is located. It is well worn from centuries of use.

This shot is taken from just above where the pictograph is painted and shows the Carrizo Plain and the Caliente Range in the background.

Looking the opposite direction from the previous photos. The salty white crust of Soda Lake is in the background on the right. The well worn trail climbs the section of rock shown in this shot.

(Related story mentioned by Nico in the comments to this post: Santa Maria Sun: Native truth: Discovery of an ancient Chumash artifact sheds light on the tribe’s complex history)

Related Posts:

Chumash Pictographs at Condor Cave

Chumash Pictographs and Petroglyphs at Pool Rock

Chumash Shamans, Rock Art and Datura

Chumash Pictographs of the Santa Ynez Mountains

S’ap’aksi: House of the Sun Chumash Indian Cave

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4 Responses to Time Magazine Story: Chumash Oak Arborglyph in San Luis Obispo County

  1. Nico says:

    Interesting read. I’m pretty sure I’ve read about this arborglyph somewhere else as well and possibly even seen a photo of it. If I can find the article or photo, I’ll send you a link to it. In any case, thanks for another great posting!

  2. Nico says:

    This isn’t what I was looking for, but it does have a photo of a “rubbing” from the arborglyph (from the Santa Maria Sun archives): http://archive.santamariasun.com/index.php?p=showarticle&id=3514

    (sorry, don’t know how to make a link…)

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