The Man Who Fell From Heaven Petroglyph


Compiled by Grant Keddie

In the collection of the RBCM, is a cast of a unique petroglyph or rock carving that – unlike most petroglyphs – has an associated story.

The original Petroglyph at Robertson Point

This story was recorded by Harlan I. Smith in 1936. The location, archaeological site GbTo-39,is on Robertson Point on the Metlakatla First Nation Reserve near Prince Rupert, British Columbia:

“The origin of this petroglyph is explained by some of the Tsimshian Indians in the following story. An important Indian man, to astonish the people, said he was going up to the sky. He disappeared, but came back home some days later as he could not stay hid very long for lack of food. He explained to the people that he had fallen through the sky and struck the earth. To prove this he took the Indians to this rock sculpture and said that it was the dent he made when he fell from heaven. He really sculptured it himself while hiding.

According to another story this sculpture was made where the body of a drowned Indian was found.”

Close-up of Original Petroglyph

Smith, Harlan I. 1936. The Man Petroglyph Near Prince Rupert or The Man Who Fell From Heaven. In: Essays in Anthropology. Presented to A.L. Kroeber in Celebration of His Sixtieth Birthday, June 11, 1936:309-314.