4/12/2013

April 12, 2013 - Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

Another road trip day. Smile    We packed a lunch and headed south to the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site and Picnic Area.

On our way:

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We parked and went into the office to talk to the host who turned out to be a fellow Escape.  We had a nice chat about each other’s travels and then we headed to the trail of the petroglyphs.

A little info on this site:

These Petroglyphs were made by a group of prehistoric Native Americans that archeologists refer to as the Jornada Mogollon.  The pictures were made with stone tools by removing the dark patina on the exterior of the rock.  This patina is formed through oxidation when oxygen in the air comes into contact with the minerals on the rock’s surface.  Some of the petroglyphs were made by scratching through the patina to the light inner layer of the rock.  Others were created by pecking through the patina with two rocks used like a hammer and chisel.

The petroglyphs purpose and meaning are not entirely known.  Some believe that they are picture writing, with each one representing a word or thought.  Others believe that they must be taken together because they relate a story or an idea or directions to travelers.  Currently there are researchers studing these petroglyphs and comparing them to Pueblo and Mesoamerican Symbols.

On this ridge, over 21000 petroglyphs have been identified, making this one of the larges rock art sites in the Southwest.  WOW!

Here are some of the rock art with some explanations per the trail guide.

The circle and dot motif is prevalent at Three Rivers.  Circle petroglyphs account for over 10 percent of the drawings.  Curiously, it is not that common at other Jornada Mogollon rock art sites.  In Mesoamerica, the circle and dot motif is related to Quetzalcoatl (a feathered serpent deity).  Other researchers suggest that the dots represent corn or a population count.

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Masks are used by many cultures in their religious ceremonies to depict supernatural beings.  Jornada Mogollon masks are similar to Pueblo kachina masks.  Jornada style faces and masks are usually round, with almond shaped eyes and triangular noses.  (Maybe they did see aliens. – :-0)

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Often animals are abstract to the point that they are not identifiable, but in Jornada style rock art, bighorn sheep like this one are usually depicted realistically.  The legs are bent to represent motion.

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The body of this bighorn sheep is filled with a Mimbres style geometric design and is pierced by three arrows.

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More art:

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There were some incredible views from the ridge line.  A dust devil in the Tularosa Basin:

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See the white simmering in the middle of the photo?  That is the White Sands Missile Monument:

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Sacramento Mountains:

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Godfrey Hills:

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How about this nice green tree in the middle of the brown!  Turns out that the people who made these petroglyphs lived there next to a water source:

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We had lunch at one of the picnic areas.  They have two pull thru RV sites available with water and electric and a number of boondocking sites.  This is a really nice place!

We then headed over to the village trail:

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What a wonderful visit.

We saw these things on the way back home – no idea what they are.  Anyone??

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Clouds are rolling in….bummer:

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We have really enjoyed our visit here and may come back another time.  Tomorrow we are off to another place so stay tuned and enjoy today.

2 comments:

Judy Luke Rinehimer said...

Are those water pumping stations?

Diane said...

Hi Judy and Luke, Not sure because it is so dry here with a lot of cattle ranches and no agriculture (hence no canals). Still searching :-))) Hugs.