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Later glyphs from the Nordic Bronze Age in Scandinavia seem to refer to some form of territorial boundary between tribes, in addition to possible religious meanings.
Petroglyph styles has local or regional "dialects" from similar or neighboring peoples.
Some petroglyph images probably have deep cultural and religious significance for the societies that created them; in many cases this significance remains for their descendants.
Many petroglyphs are thought to represent some kind of not-yet-fully understood symbolic or ritual language.
Siberian inscriptions loosely resemble an early form of runes, although no direct relationship has been established. Petrogylphs from different continents show similarities. While people would be inspired by their direct surroundings, it is harder to explain the common styles.
This could be mere coincidence, an indication that certain groups of people migrated widely from some initial common area, or indication of a common origin.
Petroglyphs have been found in all parts of the globe except Antarctica, with highest concentrations in parts of Africa, Scandinavia, Siberia, southwestern North America, and Australia.
They might also have been a by-product of other rituals: sites in India, for example, have been identified as musical instruments or "rock gongs".In 1853, George Tate presented a paper to the Berwick Naturalists' Club, at which a John Collingwood Bruce agreed that the carvings had "...a common origin, and indicate a symbolic meaning, representing some popular thought." More controversial explanations of similarities are grounded in Jungian psychology and the views of Mircea Eliade.According to these theories it is possible that the similarity of petroglyphs (and other atavistic or archetypal symbols) from different cultures and continents is a result of the genetically inherited structure of the human brain.
Other theories suggest that petroglyphs were carved by spiritual leaders, such as shamans, in an altered state of consciousness, perhaps induced by the use of natural hallucinogens.
Some of these reliefs exploit the rock's natural properties to define an image.