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A series of petroglyphs have been discovered on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, revealed to tourists by outgoing tides.
The discovery was made by two tourists from Ft. Worth, Texas, Lonnie Watson and Mark Louviere who brought the find to the attention of the authorities. U.S Army archaeological spokesman Alton Exzabe said of the discovery:
“What’s interesting is the Army in Hawaii manages several thousand archaeological sites, but this is the first one with petroglyphs directly on the shoreline, “
Petroglyphs are a rock carving made directly into a rock face, usually through the use of a hammer and chisel. They are found globally and are usually associated with prehistoric societies, often depicting primitive stories or descriptions of histories.
The petroglyphs stretch some 16 meters along the shore and are up to a meter high. They all depict men of various sizes with detailed hands and fingers. They are unusual in that they are discovered on the shoreline, where they will eventually erode and fade away. Most similar petroglyphs tend to have been created in locations where the people of the time knew they would last a long time. Indeed some petroglyphs date from over 14,000 years ago, and some cave paintings from over 40,000 years ago.
The carvings are thought to date from around the time the Island was first discovered by the Western world around 320 years ago, and may well depict some of the first Westerners to land on the island.
Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, alongside archaeologists from the United States, are now making plans to try to preserve the site, which if left in its current location on the shores of the island will eventually wear away or be damaged by the public.
Tourists are being encouraged to look at the carvings but are now not allowed to touch them as the various agencies involved come up with a plan to exhibit but protect the petroglyphs, which are of cultural significance to Hawaii.
Images of the petroglyphs can be found here: