Indications that a Northern New Mexico petroglyph was inspired by traumatic nightmare.

Artists in aboriginal and modern societies often use dreams as inspiration for their created images. It is a reasonable assumption that some prehistoric images were also inspired by dreams. A variety of anthropological approaches indicate this assumption to be a logical probability. Another way to approach this possibility is to apply modern understandings of dream science to petroglyph images with phenomenology similar to dream-based art. Focusing on Mesa Pietra, a petroglyph site in Northern New Mexico, the argument is made for at least one petroglyph being inspired by dream—specifically, a nightmare image produced after the experience of trauma. Reaching agreement that this image is at least potentially inspired by dream opens the possibility that other images might also have been inspired by dreams and nightmares. Considering such a possibility could assist both viewers and experts in expanding their understanding and interactive dynamic with the rock art of prehistory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)