Forum to post about arborglyphs or carvings of names, dates, figures into trees. Posts here should be cross-posted here and in the appropriate location section.

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Post by edfrank » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:35 pm

Arborglyphs and Tree Carvings
Art and History on Culturally Modified Trees

By Steve Nix, Guide

The Arborglyph ... rglyph.htm
Arborglyphs are carvings on trees that record names, dates, images, even poetry and prose. Beech, birch and aspen have traditionally been the trees of choice, preferred by most “artists”. These species’ smooth bark and light color makes a ready-made canvas for carving
Arborglyphs Hispanic Aspen Tree Carvings

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During the later part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century thousands of sheep were raised in the wilderness of Colorado. The sheepherder, away from loved ones for months at a time expressed his loneliness and boredom on the vast canvas available to him, the soft white bark of the aspen tree. Visions of home, hearth and missed loved ones adorn trees all throughout the forest. These carvings are known as arborglyphs, which means literally “tree-writing, ” and date from the late 1800’s to the early 1950’s. Due to the relatively short life span of the aspen (80-120 years), a significant number of carvings are being lost to age, disease, blow-downs and fire.

Aspen Diaries
by Kelly Bastone
Steamboat Magazine
Summer 2005:

Click on image to see its original size
Lady With A Hat. Photo by Ken Proper
One glimpse of the sexy carvings left by a century of sheepherders
Spying valentines like “MH+JT” scratched into aspen bark is too commonplace to be titillating, but one glimpse of the sexy carvings left by a century of sheepherders may leave you breathless — if not a little hot under the collar.
Hinman Park, Buffalo Pass, California Park — places in Routt County where sheep have been grazed since the late 1800s, contain whole galleries of aspen art. Sketches are commonly found on older trees, along the edges of meadows where the herder could sit in the shade, yet be near his flock. Some carvings are religious in nature; others, like an enormous mosquito, offer insight into the day-to-day hassles of herding sheep. But most are of nude women, and are usually accompanied by the artists’ names, dated from long ago.

Talking Trees: Basque Sheepherder Arborglyphs, Abstract
Historians are used to digging in archives, but the idea of having to go into the mountains and get primary information from reading trees, is totally alien. Yet, there are hundreds of aspen groves in the American West that contain precise, localized, and unpublished ethnohistoric sources regarding the sheep industry in the last century. The arborglyphs are an autobiographical monument to the history of the common man, the Basque sheepherders, who actually did most of the sheepherding work.
To view a video of Joxe Mallea, click here (wmv, 8MB) ... mallea.wmv

Spanish Basque and Historical Aspen Tree Carvings
Photography by Del Albright

Chatham Islands
J.M. Barker (Hapupu) National Historic Reserve ... c-reserve/
The reserve was established to protect Moriori rakau momori (tree carvings). It is one of only two national historic reserves in New Zealand. This designation reflects the particular importance of Hapupu both culturally and spiritually for the Moriori of Rekohu (Chatham Islands). The rakau momori here are among the few visible remaining signs of pre-contact Moriori culture. The carvings depict Moriori karapuna (ancestors) and symbols of the natural world, such as patiki (flounder). The reserve was fenced in 1980 to protect the tree carvings from grazing stock. More recently forest either side of the reserve has been fenced and protected by the Barker Brothers covenant.
the Range
In the Spring/Fall 2001 issue of Forest History Today, Joxe Mallea-Olaetxe, professor
of Basque history at the University of Nevada, Reno, introduced readers to
arborglyphs, or tree carvings.1 The article neatly summarizes Mallea’s 2000 book,
Speaking Through the Aspens: Basque Tree Carvings in California and Nevada. ... orrell.pdf

Daniel Boone Beech
According to historic researchers, this tree is the only known remaining tree in Tennessee that contains carvings from Daniel Boone, which date back to 1776. In addition to Daniel's carvings are those of his brother, Edward Boone, and a family friend, Micajah Callaway, known frequent companions of Boone's early exploration and hunting trips. The early pioneer symbols carved on this tree also give credibility to the time period and provide evidence of good trapping on the nearby river, an important point for early settlers. The tree has been aged at over 500 years old, and stands in a soybean field on Old Medina Road in Madison County.
Ancient Tree Carving Points to the Stars ... stars.html
On the trunk of a gnarled, centuries-old oak tree, about 90 miles southwest of Phoenix, Ariz., are odd carvings of six-legged, lizard-like beings. The tree is located at Painted Rock, an archaeological site peppered with hundreds of ancient petroglyphs, images created upon rock surfaces. Known as the "scorpion tree," locals had long believed that cowboys were behind the tree carving (the technical term is "arborglyph"). But paleontologist Rex Saint Onge knew it dated to long before then. His analysis offers a glimpse not only into the cultural history of the Chumash people, the Native American tribe that once inhabited the region; it also provides unique insights into their scientific expertise.
Archeologists Study the World's Oldest Tree Carvings
by Stephen Messenger, Porto Alegre, Brazil on 02.10.11 ... rvings.php
There's something romantic about the image of two young valentines, in an idyllic pastoral scene, etching their initials in the side of a tree to commemorate their affection, but tree carving isn't just for lovers. In a burgeoning field of archeological study, researchers are looking to some of the world's oldest tree carvings, known as arborglyphs, to better understand the peoples and traditions of cultures past -- and most are a lot more interesting than just a heart with an arrow through it.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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