Petroglyphs and Pictographs, What’s The Difference?

I’ve had a few people ask me what the difference is between a Petroglyph and a Pictograph, so I’ll explain that here (with pictures, yay!).

Petroglyphs are carved into stone (picture left) while pictographs are painted onto it (picture right). Easy, right?

But wait, there’s more!

Glyphs are far more common than graphs. One obvious reason being the permanence of being etched into stone, rather than painted on. Because they are painted on, graphs are often found in shallow caves or alcoves, where they’re afforded some protection from the elements.

Petroglyphs are sometimes found with color too, but only given the same protection. The most common colors for pictographs in Arizona are black, white, and red.

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