The Petroglyphs


etroglyphs are images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, pecking, carving, and abrading. The word comes from the Greek words petros meaning "stone" and glyphein meaning "to carve".  The term was originally coined in French as pétroglyphe.

The petroglyphs at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks (shown at right) were most likely created by the Hohokam people at around 500 A.D. According to local oral tradition, the Hohokam are considered to be the ancestors of the modern Pima and Tohono O'odham peoples of the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona.

Hohokom Rock ArtThe petroglyph designs are zoomorphic, anthropomorphic and geometric. The symbol makers, hunters or shamans, would have been responsible for inscribing the animals designs – deer, antelope, mountain sheep, etc. for the purpose of ensuring a successful hunt.

It is believed that when the Hohokam community required food, a sacred ritual was performed. Pictures would be inscribed into the rocks and prayerful pardon asked of the animals to be hunted. This Renewal Center site is one of the few that have an obvious Hohokam “flavor” as evidenced by the head-dressed dancing figures.

Visitors to RRC are most welcome to view the petroglyphs, although we ask that they inform our front office in advance and do not climb upon the rocks.