The following article was originally printed in Ancient American  magazine, Volume Four, Issue #27.  This was an early report on what is certainly an  important artifact.  Although well documented since the 1930's, this site has been largely ignored or overlooked.  Since this article was written, more information has developed, and some of my ideas about the artifact have changed.  I therefore plan to post at least two additional articles about this rock.  I don't believe I can overstate its importance.               

 

Scene

 


                                                                              

                                            
 

There is a rock not far from here, not far from where I live.  Locals call it “Indian Rock,” or sometimes “Baby Rock.”

My friend and I found it on a warm, sunny afternoon.  We had both been searching for it for weeks.  Oddly enough, we only discovered our mutual quest when we happened to meet at the County Museum, where we were both looking for references.  We discovered we had each been trying to find the same rock at the same time, for different reasons. 

The afternoon we found it, I climbed an embankment, looked, and said one word – “Yes.”  Then we were both silent a long time.  It was a silence of reverence and wonder.

Before I tell you more about this rock, I find I must tell you something about the place where I live, so that you will understand something of why this rock is so special.

My friend Suzanne and I live in Lake County, California.  This place is different from most other places in the world, and most people here are pleased about that.  We’re located only about 150 miles north of San Francisco, but it sometimes seems like another planet. 

The County is dominated by two main geographical features- a dormant volcano, Mt. Konocti, and Clear Lake, possibly the oldest lake in the western U.S. and the largest in California.  Before the European invasion, Pomo Indians, Mi-Wok and other peoples lived here in peace and prosperity for about ten thousand years.  No one saw any point in going elsewhere. 

The County is surrounded by mountains, which tends to keep outsiders away.  The Spanish missions never got this far.  Neither did the railroad.  Even today, the only roads in or out are narrow and winding.  So we tend to be insular.  There are a lot of old things around, that haven’t yet been changed, destroyed, or even discovered.  After living here five years myself, I’m only now beginning to find the great wealth of archeological treasure that lies around and beneath us. 

I had heard of “Indian rock.”  I had heard there were markings on it.  Vague descriptions made it sound as if it might hold some kind of writing.  Based on these descriptions, I was eager to find it. 

Suzanne was looking for this rock for a different purpose – she was working on her master’s degree in History.  We found references to Indian Rock on file at the museum library.  The only picture we could find was an old photocopy, which showed almost no detail.  The earliest record was in 1936.

The reason this object was called “Baby Rock” was because of what Pomo Indians had told early investigators: That it was used as a “healing stone” and that it could help infertile women become pregnant. 

“Baby Rock” is situated on a private ranch in Lake County; this is as much as I will mention about its location in a public forum.  There are two reasons for my reticence: To protect the ranch owners from trespassers, and more important to protect the rock from vandals and souvenir hunters.  According to local legend, there was another inscribed rock here at one time, but it has since disappeared. 

Suzanne and I had to cross a dry creek bed and climb the opposite bank to reach the stone.  I believe it’s significant that it’s located on the bank of a creek; such places were often regarded as “energy points” by native peoples.  There are several similar rocks nearby, higher on the hillside, but we could find no inscriptions on them. 

So far, I have already told you all that we knew about Indian Rock before actually laying eyes on it.  I had wanted to track it down simply because I had heard vague descriptions that sounded like writing. 

Nothing I had heard or read prepared me for what I saw. 

Of course, I had seen other pictographs in this area, as well as various Indian artifacts.  I had even seen one or two that looked vaguely like Ogham.  But this was different.

I walked slowly around this rock, silently amazed. 

Indian Rock is entirely covered with Ogham writing. 

If there was any doubt in my mind at the time, it was later dispelled as I studied my photographs and compared them with other examples from various reference books.  This is unmistakably and unequivocally Ogham. 

As I looked at the surface of the rock it also became clear that it had astronomical functions.  There is one obvious marker near the top, shaped like a pointer.  In the exact center is a tiny round hole, where a wooden peg could be inserted.  The pointer points southwest, so that the sun rising in the northeast would cause a peg to cast a shadow across the point.  I believe this was most likely a marker for Summer solstice sunrise.

While at the site I took a compass bearing for the pointer, using a lensatic pocket compass.  I read 2400, which would give a back bearing of 600.  That is, a sun at 600 would cause a peg inserted in the center of the figure to cast a shadow at the point. 

This bearing would be perfect, since summer solstice sunrise at this latitude in theory occurs at 59038’.  However, this leaves out two factors – magnetic deviation, and the hillside to the northeast of the rock.  After thinking about the problem, we have concluded that the only way we can prove this is actually a summer solstice marker is either by means of surveying instruments and an ephemeris, or by visiting the rock at dawn next June 21st!  The latter solution would seem easier and more accurate, provided it doesn’t rain.