Weekly Photo Challenge: Relics of the Dead

“Any relic of the dead is precious, if they were valued living.” ~ Emily Bronte


Everyday, I walk our beaches and everyday, I find relics washed ashore. Most of the time, the finds are over hundreds of years old…aged Pre-Columbian pottery shards that tell the stories of the ancient ones who lived on Ometepe Island long ago.

Burial urns called zapatoes from Ometepe Island

Burial urns called zapatoes from Ometepe Island

Relics ahead. Keep reading.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Petroglyph Patterns

The Weekly Photo Challenge is From Lines to Patterns. I can think of no better way to represent lines and patterns than the petroglyphs on Ometepe Island.

When we first moved to Ometepe Island, I thought petroglyph was another name for gasoline.
petroglyphsArcheologists refer to Ometepe as the Island of circles and spirals due to the ancient rock carvings, petroglyphs, carved on the basalt boulders.
petroglyphThe oldest petroglyphs date back to around 1000 B.C. The most common motif is the spiral. Some motifs are highly stylized and intricately carved.
petroglyph fincaOther carvings represent the God of Virility or a very macho man with a great sense of humor.
DSCN1341All of the petroglyphs are found on the Maderas side of the island. Once we found a pig pen surrounded by petroglyphs highlighted in chalk. Now, that’s a creative way to use some petroglyphs.
DSCN1348Following the Fuego y Agua Survivor racers up Maderas Volcano, we spotted an angel-like petroglyph or maybe an alien in a spacesuit?
IMG_1948Returning from our walk to photograph petroglyphs, we discovered the beginnings of a dugout canoe. Just carve out the lines and patterns, and soon you will have a fishing boat.
DSCN1206I hope you enjoyed the petroglyph tour on the Island of Circles and Spirals.
For more information on petroglyphs check out these links.
Culturelink Fieldwork Project
Ometepe Petroglyph Project
Dreaming of the Prehistoric Rock Art on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua



A Treasure Hunt: When Life Gives Lemons

“But that is not treasure for us which another man has lost; rather it is for us to seek what no other man has found or can find.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

We were without electricity and water for two days. When life gives lemons, what else can one do, but….go on a treasure hunt. The lake is receding. It’s the dry season and many Pre-Columbian pottery shards wash ashore daily. If the shards wash ashore from the lake, what treasures are to be found embedded in the soft clay and volcanic sand beneath the water? We were determined to find out. Plus, it was a grand way to take a bath. After two days without showers, we were both feeling a little raunchy.

Scooting on our butts in the shallow, murky water was an exercise in patience and touch. This must be what it is like to be blind. We began to differentiate between the volcanic rocks and smooth pottery shards nestled in the clay. Soon Ron shouts, “It’s a turtle! It’s something big and whole. I think I’ve hit the jackpot.”

A few minutes later, after carefully digging around the clay with nimble fingers, he dislodges a whole pot. It was an incredible sightless find. What made it even more remarkable is that there were only a few chips missing from the rim. How did it survive the onslaught of waves and other misfortunes in the shallow water? Many years ago, my young friend and I were walking along the shore and she spotted what she thought was a turtle. To our surprise, it was a Pre-Columbian pottery burial urn, perfectly intact, upside down on the shore. Amazing!!!

I have many unanswered questions. Why are the pottery pieces in the lake? Was the lake much lower at one time and this was where the ancient ones made their pottery? Or, when the Spanish conquistadors came to Ometepe Island, did the ancient ones bury their treasures from the invaders? I have lots of research to do.

Meanwhile, I continue to collect the variety of tools, shards, and other incredible pieces that wash ashore. I’m thinking of donating the whole pieces to our local museum. I recognize the need for protection, preservation, and education of these precious artifacts. They do not belong to me. After all, the fun is in the treasure hunting and seeking what no man has found or can find.