The Mysterious Petroglyphs of Nicaragua

Mysterious Petroglyphs
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The Ometepe island is located in Lake Nicaragua in Nicaragua. The island got its name from the indigenous Nahuatl language. Ome means ‘two’ and tepetl means ‘peaks’ or ‘hills’. Basically the name of the island translates into ‘the place of two hills’.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to the legend the first settlers of Ometepe arrived here because of a prophecy which instructed them to search for an ‘‘island paradise that consisted of two peaks’. The ‘island paradise’ had already been inhabited by other tribes as we can see from the various petroglyphs spread all over Ometepe.

Researches from the Ometepe Archaeological Project (OAP) have put the motifs of the petroglyphs into four categories – Geometric, Anthropomorphic, Zoomorphic figures and Miscellaneous motifs.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The most common geometric motif is the spiral. It appears on all engraved stones. Anthropomorphic figures include simple heads, stick figures, and fully outlined bodies. Some figures even look three dimensional and can be regarded as sculptures. The most common anthropomorphic motif is the witch or bruja which has a human head and a fish-like body.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Zoomorphic figures are not that common. They include images of monkeys, frogs, birds, mammals, crocodiles, snakes, and turtles. Flowers, sun-like symbols, calendars and cruciform figures are put in the miscellaneous category.

A snake. Source: Megan/Flickr
A snake. Source: Megan/Flickr

To this day the petroglyphs remain surrounded by mystery. No one knows what their purpose was. They could have been used in rituals or just as works of art. Or something completely different. We may never find out.

Here you can find more about the beautiful island of Ometepe and its mysterious petroglyphs.