The most widely accepted explanation of the carvings’ origin is that they were made by Taino people who lived on St. John beginning around a.d. 200. Petroglyphs like these have been found at other former Taino settlements in Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, and other islands in the Caribbean. It is also believed that many of the petroglyphs are representations of bats, animals of significance to the Tainos.
But there are other theories. One is that Africans carved the petroglyphs during a pre-Columbian journey to the Caribbean and Central America. This stems from similarities between the St. John petroglyphs and an Ashanti symbol that means “accept God.” It has also been argued that the symbols resemble a script used by peoples of southeast Libya.
The petroglyphs make a nice pit stop along the Reef Bay Trail. When there has been recent rain, there is a waterfall here. At other times, the pool remains, but there won’t be any running water. The petroglyphs are cut into the rock above the main pool; splash a little water on them and you’ll see them better.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition