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.
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