What is a petroglyph?

A petroglyph is a drawing or carving on rock or stone

We didn't make this word up. Honest. It's a stone age cave painting. The dictionary definition is "writing on stone" (two roots: petro means stone, and glyph means writing), and along with "pictographs", they are often described as "rock art." Technically, petroglyphs are made by scratching away at the rock and pictographs are made by painting on the rock. 

We have a national park (well, "we" in the general sense),Petroglyph National Monument, in New Mexico — a fine place to go to learn about these ancient artworks. You can also find them in Hawaii, in the American Southwest, and along the central coast of California. That's where we're from. The word petroglyph is very visual, evokes a sense of creativity without "artistic pretense", and given a little creative license, could nicely describe painting on ceramics.

Perhaps more importantly: a petroglyph was a personal statement, an early form of individual expression, story telling and creativity. It was a magical time in history, where people lived with the Earth, had discovered art and written communication, and lived in small communities. Aside from avoiding hypothermia, surviving childbirth, and not being gored by a mastodon, it was probably a great time on Earth. Anyway, it's the name we chose for our business. Leave your mark on the place where you live.


The word petroglyph comes from the Greek words petros meaning "stone" and glyphein meaning "to carve".

Petroglyphs are found world-wide, and are often associated with a prehistoric time in our history. They are one of the three different techniques used in rock art and are considered the prehistoric precursor to art as we know it today. The meaning of these personalized works is still unclear, but there has been much speculation throughout the centuries.

Some petroglyphs seem to depict real events, while others appear to be abstract. Scholars speculate that they may have been used to communicate information, while other theories ascribe them a religious or ceremonial purpose. There are many common themes found in many different places where petroglyphs exist; implying a similarity and universal purpose to their presence.

The petroglyph phenomenon is thought by many to be the foundation of art and an indication of the development of cognitive and abstract ability in the evolution of humankind.

Anyway, it’s the name we chose for our studios.

We encourage you to leave your mark and personalize your presence.

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