Prehistoric Rock Carvings at Petroglyph Provincial Park in Nanaimo

History Parks & Gardens

Some time in the past the native peoples skillfully carved wolves, sea creatures and symbolic designs into the sandstone surfaces of the rock.  Using stone tools, these beautiful etchings represent an art form seen in other locations but rarely in such concentrations. The sandstone display of the original creations is along a walkway on a hill that overlooks the Nanaimo Harbour.

Prehistoric Rock Carvings

A petroglyph is a line drawing or carving on rock, especially one made by prehistoric people. These prehistoric rock carvings are the main attraction at the small park. Some 1,000 years ago the First Nations people of the area created the carvings without the aid of modern carving tools.

Locations of the Rock Art Carvings

The rock art carvings were carefully chosen where the forces of nature were the strongest such as caves and waterfalls. The locations were typically near water.  Looking through the tall trees you can see the Nanaimo harbour.

Petroglyph Park Interpretive Area

The park has an interpretive area with information panels to describe the petrographs.  The rock carvings were created by a people who had no written language to commemorate their special  events or rituals.

Create Your Own Souvenir

In the main interpretative area you can make a rubbing of the castings from the concrete replicas. By rubbing charcoal or crayon over paper or cloth you can create a reverse imprint and voila you have your own souvenir.  You will need to bring your own supplies as there is no store on site.

Petroglyph Park Sandstone Gallery

Overlooking Nanaimo Harbour on a hill is the sandstone gallery of petrographs. Amid the tall trees and brush you can view these carvings.  You will conjure up images of times past when the carvings were done a thousand years ago.

Getting to Petroglyph Provincial Park

Petroglyph Provincial Park is located at the south end of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  It is 4 km (2.5 miles) south on Highway 1 – the Trans-Canada Highway – just watch for the exit.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Amazing Vancouver Island and a clickable link back to this page.

Publisher of Amazing Vancouver Island. Doug grew up in Kamloops and Vancouver. He is also the President of KIAI Angency, an Internet Marketing and Branding agency in Vancouver. He is an avid photographer and you can see his many pix of Vancouver Island on Flickr.

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