Tuesday, February 17, 2015

An Ancient Sky Map in the Americas ca. 1000 B.C.: The Rock Paintings and Engravings of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Sierra de San Francisco El Vizcaino Reserve Baja California Sur Mexico are a Planisphere of the Stars in the Sky 3000 Years Ago

What better way to demonstrate the importance of astronomy in ancient Native America than to decipher a UNESCO World Heritage site and to show how it is a complete sky map of the heavens, made in the Americas ca. 1000 B.C., and still there on location, for all to see.

That planisphere (sky map) is formed by the relative geographic sitings of the many rock paintings and engravings of the Sierra de San Franciso El Vizcaino Reserve in Baja California Sur, Mexico, which, as we have discovered, do not exist in isolation, but are all part of an integrated marking system that forms a planisphere of the stars in the sky, also marking the Autumn and Vernal Equinoxes in ca. 1000 B.C., a date which conforms very well to previously made dating by archaeologists of the start of this culture ca. 1100 B.C., as based on considerations other than astronomy.

Our above, independent, completely newly drawn graphic map illustration is scaled down considerably from the .pdf size at UNESCO, and thus can be said to at best show approximate locations. It is based on a much larger online UNESCO map found via these URLs, which should be consulted for more detailed graphic images of the locations of the rock drawings and rock engravings:
To make it easier for readers, we have retained the original UNESCO map keys except for the black color of the square that marks locations having both rock paintings AND engravings, a color which had to be changed to some other color -- we took orange -- since we needed to add our explanatory astronomical black lines and text to the simple locational symbols, so black was out. We have also not retained map place names, but have retained the place name symbols, so that one can note them to look up if necessary on the larger UNESCO map.

Our decipherment map speaks for itself, as deciphered by Andis Kaulins, whose independent decipherment has no affiliation with any organization or any other person.

The stars are clearly marked, starting with Crux, Centaurus, Lupus and Scorpio at the top of the map, and Orion at the bottom. Other star groups included, but not necessarily exactly as we see them today, are those we modernly call the constellations of Libra, Corona Borealis, Bo├Âtes, Virgo, Leo, Serpens Caput, Ophiuchus, Hercules, Sagittarius, Aquila, Sagitta, Cygnus, Lyra, Cepheus, Draco, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Cancer, Gemini, Auriga, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, the Great Square (Pegasus), Perseus and Taurus.

The Autumn Equinox is marked near Libra and the Vernal Equinox is marked near Aries, which dates this planisphere to ca. 1000 B.C.

This orientation of stars from the top to the bottom of the map is the same basic orientation, albeit perhaps from a different date, that we have already found on the Judaculla Rock, about which we have written previously, but the complete decipherment of which we still have yet to present. Judaculla Rock has a "pendant" stone of great importance somewhere in Native America. We have found it. See if you can.

What will be interesting now for the UNESCO World Heritage site Sierra de San Francisco El Vizcaino Reserve Baja California Sur, Mexico, is to hope for complete archaeological publication of these rock paintings and carvings, so that the world will be to see how individual stars and groups of stars are represented in the rock paintings and engravings. Indeed, much about these rock paintings and engravings will in the future become much clearer than currently, given this new knowledge of the stars and star groups that they represent.

The UNESCO World Heritage documents write as follows and can be accessed via http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/714/documents/. We have corrected obvious text errors which at UNESCO surely originated from scanning -- but we can not guarantee that we caught them all, especially as regards proper names:
"The Sierra de San Francisco region contains the most important concentration of prehispanic rock art in the Baja California peninsula. It is of exceptional quality at both the national and the international scale, for its high quality, its extent, the variety and originality of human and animal representations, its remarkable colours, and its excellent state of preservation....

The prehistoric rock art of the Sierra de San Francisco region was first reported by the Jesuit Francisco Javier Clavijero in a publication in Rome in 1789. Further studies were carried out by the Dutch scholar ten Kate in 1874 and the French scholar Diguet (1889-1905). In the present century investigations have been carried out by Georges Enguerrand, Barbro Dahlgren, Stanley Gardner, Harry Crosby, and Javier Romero.

Some 400 sites have so far been registered by the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH), the most important of them within the Reserve, near San Francisco and Mulege, over 250 in all. The most highly developed prehispanic group in the region was that of the Guachimis, whose territory extended from San and La Purisima in the south of the Reserve to the extreme northern end of the Baja California peninsula. Little is known about this group, apart from the fact that they came from further north.


The paintings are found on both the walls and roofs of rock shelters in the sides of ravines that are difficult of access. Those in the San Francisco area are divided into four main groups - Guadalupe, Santa Teresa, San Gregorio, and Cerritos. The most important sites are Cueva del Batequi, Cueva de la Natividad, Cerro de Santa Martha, Cueva de la Soledad, Cueva de las Flechas,
and Grutas del Brinco.

The motifs are very varied, and include human beings (men, women, and children) and many animal species, including rabbit, puma, lynx, deer, wild goat/sheep, whale, turtle, tuna, sardine, octopus, eagle, and pelican; there are also abstract elements of various forms. The frequent depiction of weapons, in association with both human and animal figures, testifies to hunting and warfare. The range of colours covers the entire spectrum, as do the representational techniques used (flat colour, silhouette, shading, etc). This rock art has been the subject of detailed analysis in recent years, resulting in important insights being gained into the social and religious organization of the prehistoric peoples of the area as well as their dietary habits. Obsidian dating of associated objects from excavated deposits shows them to vary in age from 1100 BC to AD 1300, and close analogies have been observed between this corpus of rock art and that from the south-west of the modern United States of America.

Management and Protection, Legal status

In 1988 the Federal Government of Mexico declared El Vizcaino, in the central section of the long Baja California peninsula, to be a Biosphere Reserve and thus protected by Federal law. The Sierra de San Francisco area, covering 183,956 ha [we add here that ha = hectares, so that 183,956 ha = ca. 454,565.176 acres], lies within this Reserve and the individual registered rock-art sites are further protected by the Federal Law on Artistic, Historical, and Archaeological Monuments and Areas 1972.

Within this area 60% of the land is State-owned, 20% belongs to the commune, and the remainder is in private ownership.


Overall management of the Reserve is the responsibility of its Administration, which comes under the Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL). Conservation of the rock-art sites is assured by INAH through its Regional Centre for Baja California, in collaboration with the Central Directorates for Archaeology, Restoration, and Prehispanic and Historie Monuments."
THIS POSTING IS Posting Number 16 of
The Great Mound, Petroglyph and Painted Rock Art Journey of Native America

An Ancient Sky Map in the Americas ca. 1000 B.C.: The Rock Paintings and Engravings of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Sierra de San Francisco El Vizcaino Reserve Baja California Sur Mexico are a Planisphere of the Stars in the Sky 3000 Years Ago

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Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1:
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2:
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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