mojave geoglyphs Mojave Indian Geoglyphs or Intaglios were discovered in a plane flying over the Mojave Desert near the town of Blythe, California. Spread out across the desert were the massive figures of a man the Blythe Giant and a long-tailed animal mojave desert pictures . mojave desert geoglyphs desert southwest indians geoglyphs california geoglyphs mojave desert mohave geoglyph the blythe giant

Pictures on the Earth

Mojave Desert Blythe California Geoglyphs - Southwest Native Americans

Blythe Giant

In 1923, a U. S. Army Air Service Colonel, Jerry Phillips was in an open-cockpit World War I biplane flying 5,000 feet over the Mojave Desert. Close to the small town of Blythe, California, he glanced down at the parched landscape and could hardly believe what he saw. Spread out across the desert, out of touch from civilization, was the geoglyphs of a [ man and a long-tailed animal ].

The so-called Blythe Giant, as it became to be known, was continually reported for decades, therefore encouraging many to investigate the phenomenon at the sparsely populated south-western desert. Along the lower valley of the Colorado River, they revealed some 275 geoglyphs, of obscure symbols along with bizarre, drawings of humans and animals.

The Mojave's surface is similar to that of the Nazca desert with a dark rock covered surface and apparently the Mojave Indians using the same [ rock clearing technique ] as the Nazcas.

Jay von Werlhof and Harry Casey

The bulk of these mojave desert geoglyphs were discovered after the 1970s by the efforts of Californian archaeologist [ Jay von Werlhof ] and his associate, Harry Casey, a local farmer and pilot. They reconnoitred the thousands of square miles of the scorched ground by plane and foot. The goal was to catalogue and describe every desert marking in the region.

Von Werlhof and fellow archeologists have the belief that the Mojave figures had a mystic purpose only known to the Indians who inhabited the desert for over 5,000 years. The oldest of the geoglyphs has been dated to approximately 3000 B.C. with the most recent to the late eighteenth century A.D. There are primitive rock alignments or formations, being abstract patterns of twisted lines of boulders being as much as 10,000 years old.

Investigators have several interpretations of the weird tableau at Blythe California, whose age has been estimated at between 200 and 1,000 years. Legends passed down by the Mojave Indians describe the manlike form as an evil giant who terrorized their ancestors.

The animal figure, which apparently floats upside down over the man's head, represents a mountain lion instilled with great power from the Mojave's creator god and placed there to weaken the giant's spirit. A lesser melodramatic concept suggests the giant represents a kind of explicit "no trespassing" sign positioned by Hopi Indians warning intruders to keep out of their territory.

Spiritual Significance

The animal figures apparently retain a spiritual significance to the Mojave Indians. According to Mojave medicine men, the 180 foot long rattlesnake with basalt eyes possesses the powers of good or evil that can be handed on to humans.

Another figure close to Yuma, Arizona, represents that of a horse, an unknown animal to the Indians prior to the arrival of Europeans. Archaeologists believe that the image was created by the Indians sometime after the Spanish explored the area in 1540 and subsequently used the desert illustration for ceremonies.

Discovered in July 1984, another figure, an animated rendering of a [ fisherman ] appearing to be dancing on water at the same time aiming his spear at two fish. The spear tip is composed of hundreds of pieces of glittering quartz and appears to bestow magic powers on real fishermen.

Like those at Nazca, the Mojave desert geoglyphs apparently had a variety of purposes with at least some being astronomical markers. Along the Gila River in Arizona, a rock alignment points precisely to the sunrise at summer solstice. Another, the Black Point Dance Circle as it is known, may represent a map of the sun, moon, and Milky Way.

Knowledge of astronomical markers may have been interpreted into an Indian calendar with which it was used to plan their plantings and harvest. Other geoglyphs such as those of the adena hopewell indian tribe and those found in Southwest England may have been designed for other purposes.

rock clearing
blythe giant