What's Hiding At This Alaska Beach Is Unexpected But Completely Fascinating
This amazing beach is tucked away in Wrangell, a beautiful rain forested coastal village in far Southeast Alaska. The weather is warmer than most of the rest of the state and it’s easy to see why people have inhabited this spot since time immemorial. Hidden along the beach are petroglyphs, left by ancestors to send us a message. Go for yourself to try to read the signs, and enjoy a fantastic day on the beach.
Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park in Wrangell is the place with the most petroglyphs in Southeast Alaska and was designated a State Historic Park in 2000.
The word "petroglyph" comes from the Greek "petra" and "glyphe" for rock and carving. Ancient people carved rock symbols into the rocks by the beach.
The rock of the beach is metamorphic and tends to be dark gray, fine grained, moderately hard and durable, and highly fractured.
No one really knows what the petroglyphs mean, but guesses based on archaeological records and cultural stories, petroglyphs are probably a form of writing and a way to record events.
A convenient, accessible boardwalk leads to a deck overlooking Petroglyph Beach, the Stikine River and Zimovia Straits.
During the construction of the visitor facility, two new petroglyphs were unearthed, buried in the sand. They had been thought lost, but their rediscovery was celebrated.
As they have found that making rubbings on the petroglyphs decreases the life of the carvings, there are replicas of several designs displayed on the deck for visitors.
The rain forest in Wrangell is alive with abundant plant life. The rocks of the beach are home to lots of little animals and flowers to explore.
Petroglyphs could have been drawn to remember victories in war, to document the conquest of a territory, to remember important potlatches, shamanistic rituals, or perhaps simply they are the work of a Tsimshian or Tlingit artist.
Visit the incredible Petroglyph Beach in Wrangell and see the more than 40 petroglyphs dotted along on the beach. It's truly an experience not to be missed.
Have you been to Petroglyph Beach Park? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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