Petroglyphs of Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

Below is a little gallery of some of the more interesting petroglyphs of Ometepe Island in Nicaragua. Starting in 1997, the Ometepe Petroglyph Project enlisted volunteers to find, draw, photograph and map the many petroglyphs on the northern slopes of the Maderas volcano, the smaller of the two volcanoes that make up Ometepe Island and the source of the basalt for the petroglyphs you see below.

These 4 pictures come from 2 separate sites on the island.

ometepe petroglyph R13
R13, a complicated petroglyph defaced by scratching. The spiral is a common motif in the petroglyphs of Ometepe Island

This is a complex representation of symbols from a rock embedded into forest soils. The drawing below makes it clearer.

ometepe island petroglyph drawing
Drawing of the petroglyph above.

The next image is simple and small, engraved into a very dark basalt typical of the volcanic slope.

ometepe island petroglyph
A squared spiral or labyrinth petroglyph

The next petroglyph shows a small scene, which you are free to interpret.

ometepe island petroglyph
An interesting tableau, better seen in the drawing below.
ometepe petroglyph drawing
Here is the whole scene.

And finally, this one is the one people look for. We found it unmolested.

ometepe island petroglyph
This petroglyph created quite a stir when we discovered it.

These images are typical of the rock engravings we’ve brought to light on Ometepe island over the years. You can walk the trails and see many of them, depending upon the vegetation. Please don’t scratch or chalk them. It matters.


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