The Space Age Enters the Stone Age

By Rebecca Horne | November 16, 2010 12:30 pm

Kevin Sudeith is a contemporary artist with exceptional foresight. Sudeith is working in what is perhaps the most archival artistic medium available to humankind: stone carving. Petroglyphs, to be exact. Our achievements are awesome, notes Sudeith, but where is the proof? Rusted Model-T’s and piles of corrupted hard drives might fail to convince. Even the architecture of our most celebrated cities is temporary, compared to solid rock dating from the Upper Cretaceous.

Sudeith is doing what he can to address this problem of modernity by taking a year on the road to make engravings on rock faces and boulders across the country. The gold-leafed carving here is four miles west of Ingomar, Montana, in the Kanta Hills. The carving is in the hard cap rock on top of soft sandstone rim rocks. The stone on which the Chandra orbiting observatory is carved is in a shallow gully that opens into a bigger canyon and drops down to the fields below. It is readily accessible by a private road, which is open to public—which means there’s sure to be more than a few puzzled hikers making snapshots next to the curious modern petroglyph. Sudeith: “My interest in the Chandra began with the naming contest, delay, and finally its deployment. Its images continue to be brilliant. Since the Chandra exists at the limit of our understanding of nature, perhaps carving a pictograph of it is similar to the carvings of the ancients—perhaps showing the game they hunted or symbolizing their beliefs.”

Image courtesy Kevin Sudeith/

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Archeology, Ideas, The Future
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  • Nemesis

    If only we could chisel how to construct an observatory or a hard drive into the rock…

  • megan

    Why not have a Mars lander do one on that planet to say we were there. Kilroy was here!

  • Sheryl

    This is awesome. Very nice! I wonder how big it is.

  • Kevin Sudeith

    Sheryl, The solar array is about 17 inches across, and the optical bench is about 16 inches long.

  • Kevin Sudeith

    I put together a post of some other space age petroglyphs that I’ve carved around the US:

  • Ali

    This has got to be one of the coolest things I have ever seen! Unbelievable! Kevin Sudeith should receive a genius grant!

  • Mr Tech

    Great work. Will stand the test of time in way that few artists can even contemplate, let alone create.

  • Pingback: Traveling America Making Petroglyphs, a Journal » Space Petroglyphs()

  • motorcyclist

    Imagine being a random hiker who happens upon this stone carving, after watching a discovery channel special on crop circles!….lol


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About Rebecca Horne

Rebecca Horne ( is an artist, multi-platform freelance writer, and award-winning photography director. She launched Visual Science for in March 2010. She also writes about science and photography for The WallStreet Journal. You can reach her at


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