As Saskatchewan is the “Land of Living Skies,” so too St. Victor is “The Place of the Living Stone,” a reference to the carvings etched into stone there. These petroglyphs, though hundreds of years old, are still evolving and thus very much alive in the minds of archaeologists.
Located in a provincial park near St. Victor, SK, about 35 km south of Assiniboia, the site offers a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. Among the 340 sandstone carvings are etchings of bison, grizzly bear tracks, hand prints, and human faces.
St. Victor Petroglyphs: The Place of the Living Stone contains fascinating facts and details in its 215 pages, with 156 illustrations, mostly black and white photos and sketches, plus 34 in colour. Appendices and references run another 38 pages.
In spite of this wealth of information, the authors contend that more research is required even to determine the age of the petroglyphs. Best estimates date their origin from 250 to 1,800 years ago. The authors also surmise that many more archaeological remains are yet to be discovered.
The authors argue that this site needs to be treated with respect as a cultural icon, and that it needs to be properly protected. Through neglect, erosion, and vandalism, the formations are constantly eroding.
Many of the petroglyphs are well-hidden, and visitors may miss them if they don’t look carefully enough, or if lighting conditions aren’t favourable. The authors provide tips on the best way, and the best times, to view the carvings.
The authors are in awe of this site, especially when the light strikes at a sharp angle. The rock then becomes, as they put it, “suddenly animated and seemingly enlivened from within, with the markings made by the ancient carvers coming to life before one’s eyes.” These petroglyphs truly are living organisms.
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