MELBA, Idaho -- Park interpreter Jon Pruett knows his petroglyphs.

Pruett, a substitute teacher in the Nampa district, will quickly tell you the difference between an abstract and anthropomorphic figure. He can easily show you around Celebration Park near Melba, and he knows exactly where to send visitors to view these ancient symbols.

What he doesn't know is why they don't get more notoriety.

There are people who live five miles away who don't even know our park is here, Pruett says while giving a tour of a rocky lava outcropping near the park's interpretive center.

Pruett says the fact that Celebration Park is under-appreciated is a shame because what they're missing is a big part of Idaho's history.

He's talking about thousands of petroglyphs -- mysterious symbols carved into rocks by Native American tribes.

Are they letters in a forgotten language? Examples of ancient art?

Scientists simply don't know.

That's why staff members are working document these rare signs now, so they have a record for generations to come.

Chrystal Hayes is the Program Manager for Celebration Park. Hayes says up to 50,000 petroglyphs exist in the neighboring area. Many haven't been recorded.

She's working with students from the College of Western Idaho to professionally photograph and map these ancient symbols.

So, a snapshot is just something you or I might do if we were out wandering in the petroglyphs, getting a good look at them, Hayes said. Professionally, the lighting will be better and really highlight the petroglyphs so you can tell the difference between petroglyphs and natural erosion.

Once complete, researchers hope the project will bring them one step closer to understanding the significance of these unique images carved in rock.

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