Tuesday

Daytrip – To The Grapevine Canyon Petroglyph Site

E-P1030833A recent trip on 03/19/2015 to Grapevine Canyon led to my personal discovery of many more previously unseen petroglyph panels. As this resulted in the capture of dozens more pictures, I not only updated my original  daytrip page on Grapevine Canyon itself, I also decided to revamp my previous page on Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs. In addition to adding many new pictures, I also provided information on the site’s history and how the religious beliefs of ancient cultures and the practice of shamanism relates to the many glyphs found here.  Here is the link to the UPDATED page on Grapevine Canyon itself … Grapevine Canyon - Inside the Bridge Canyon Wilderness Area. Here is the link to the new page on the petroglyphs … Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs.

New Reference Page


Even though I included information about the atlatl previously as part of another page on petroglyphs, I decided to make it available as a page of its own with a category titled, "References". The atlatl was an ancient tool used by the Anasazi (Puebloan) cultures, 1,500-800 years ago, before the invention of the bow and arrow. Atlatl is an Aztec Indian word for spear thrower. It was a shaft which was used as a lever to increase the power imparted to a spear or dart, allowing them to be thrown further and with greater speed and power. You can access it here … The Atlatl.

Wednesday

Daytrip – Falling Man Petroglyph Site – Gold Butte

EP-P1100328-2On 03/05/15 I made another visit to the Falling Man Rock art site in Gold Butte, this time with the rock-hounds from the Henderson Senior Center. Unfortunately our van was unable to reach the site due to a wash out on Black Butte Road and ended up getting bogged down in soft sand trying to turn around. After spending nearly two hours trying to get it turned around, we finally ended up calling a wrecker from Las Vegas to come and retrieve us. While waiting for the wrecker to come, three of us (Robert Croke and Blake Smith and myself) decided to try and salvage the day by hiking the remaining couple of miles down the road to the site. Click here for pictures and information … Falling Man Site - Gold Butte.

Monday

Daytrip – Pine Spring & McCullough Spring

EP-P1100247Today, 2/27, Harvey and I decided to explore the area around the south eastern portion of the South McCullough Mountains, with the goal of locating McCullough Spring. From a staging area just off of Nipton Road, we headed north towards the Powerline Road, which then runs northeast along the edge of the Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness Area and along the eastern edge of the South McCullough Wilderness Area. Check out the following link for pictures and information … Pine Spring & McCullough Spring.

Sunday

Death Valley Trip Notes for 03/28/2015

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EFP-P1100727
(Fig. 01)
EFP-Dante's View 02
(Fig. 02)
03/28/2015 Trip Notes: On this day I again visited Dante’s View on a trip to Death Valley with my friend Marc Resnic (Fig. 03). On the way up the mountain, the sides of the road were covered with thousands of desert dandelions (Fig. 01). Once you reach the parking lot at the top of Dante's View there are two trails you can take to view the valley floor below. One leads downward from the parking area along a ridge-line to a couple of small rocky peaks (Fig. 02), the other leads up to an even higher viewpoint, seen to the left of the parking area in the top center of (Fig. 05). For today’s visit we decided to head downward (Fig. 04). The view in (Fig. 05) is looking back up towards the parking area from a point near the bottom of the lower ridge trail. (Figs. 06 & 07) are two views taken along this trail looking north up Death Valley towards Furnace Creek. Even though the prime time for seeing wild flowers had gone by, I was still lucky enough to get a few shots along this trail that provided some great color (Figs. 08 thru 13). Click the following link to see more pictures and descriptions of Death Valley wildflowers ... Death Valley Flora.
                                           
EFP-P1100678
(Fig. 03)
EFP-P1100658
(Fig. 04)
EFP-Dante's View 03
(Fig. 05)
EFP-P1100706
(Fig. 06)
EFP-P1100714
(Fig. 07)
EFP-P1100728
(Fig. 08)
EFP-P1100690
(Fig. 09)
EFP-P1100692
(Fig. 10)
EFP-P1100693
(Fig. 11)
EFP-P1100701
(Fig. 12)
EFP-P1100590
(Fig. 13)
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Arrow Canyon Site Rock Art

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This page last updated on 02/11/2017
EFP-P1040076
(Fig. 01)
Area Description: Located off of NV-168, northwest of Moapa and Glendale, about 60 miles from Las Vegas, Arrow Canyon and the Pahranagat Wash runs along the northeastern edge of the Arrow Canyon Wilderness Area. The canyon itself is characterized by vertical and overhanging walls that are more than 200 feet high. At its narrowest points, the bottom of the canyon is about 20-feet wide. These sheer cliffs that are so tall and close together in places that sunlight rarely reaches the bottom. There are extensive petroglyph panels on the rock walls of Pahranagat Wash, above, below, and in Arrow Canyon. Many of these petroglyphs are inscribed on carbonate rock walls that lack patina, which is unusual. In addition to being able to find evidence of fossils such as crinoids, brachiopods, corals, and other sea life, in the gray limestone, if you look hard, you may find other evidence of prehistoric use including agave roasting pits, shelter caves, rock alignments, lithic scatters, stone scrapers, and broken arrowheads. 
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Area History: To this day, Arrow Canyon is considered sacred by the Paiutes. The Moapa Band of Paiutes still resides in the area just east of the Arrow Canyon Range. The petroglyphs in the canyon were likely carved by both the modern Paiutes and their historical precursors, possibly as far back as the Desert Archaic peoples. The area is considered so sacred that Ghost Dance ceremonies were held nearby.
“According to local legend, at one time when the Moapa Valley Paiutes and the Pahranagat Valley Paiutes were at war, two of their war parties met suddenly in the canyon. Rather than engage in what would surly prove to be a mutually disastrous combat within the narrow rock confines, the two parties called a truce and fired all of the arrows high into the canyon walls.” (1)
Legend also has it that the Moapa and Pahranagat Paiute bands formed a peace treaty over the course of many years. To confirm their commitment to the treaty, it became a yearly event for members of both bands to come to this sacred canyon and shoot arrows into an inaccessible crack high on the canyon wall. In the 1930s, the CCC built a concrete dam at the head of the canyon, presumably for flood control. In 2002, congress designated the 27,530-acre Arrow Canyon Wilderness, with Arrow Canyon forming its eastern boundary.
                            
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The Petroglyphs: The predominate concentration of petroglyphs at Arrow Canyon are found on a large rock outcrop (Fig. 01) and (Top right in the collage found in Fig. 03), located just before entering the narrows about a mile from the trailhead, up a wash filled with water-polished cobbles and rocks (Fig. 02). Because there are several instances where these petroglyph etchings meet the ground (Bottom right in the collage below - Fig. 03), it leads one to think that the erosion filling the wash over hundreds of years may actually be covering several feet of petroglyphs. It is evident by the vast number of petroglyphs on this rock outcrop that this area has religious significance for the nearby Moapa Tribe. Unfortunately, it was sad to see that some people had seen fit to deface some of rock faces that contained these impressive representations of past ages. Though much fewer in number, there are some more on a few of the cliff walls low to the ground (Fig. 04) further up the canyon towards the dam.
                                          
EFP-P1100566
(Fig. 02)
EFP-P1040073-2
(Fig. 03)
EFP-P1100559
(Fig. 04)
2012 Arrow Canyon Petroglyphs
(Fig. 05)
2015 Arrow Canyon
(Fig. 06)
As you can see from the examples in the two collages above (Figs. 05 & 06) many of the motifs are angular, abstract, geometric, and enigmatic. Straight lines, arcs, and circles are combined to form apparently unrelated designs that some have likened to astronomical phenomena but that are more likely the product of psychedelic visions. Many of the individual glyphs are quite similar to other Great Basin glyphs I have observed up in the Pahranagat Valley, north of this area. The only representational glyphs in this style are hand, paw, and hoof prints, and some human stick figures, usually male. Because many of the abstract geometric designs appear disorganized and random, it is highly likely that they are products of visions induced during altered states of consciousness. Comparative studies have demonstrated that during trance, all people, regardless of their place of origin, experience the same visual abstractions. Also, images such as bear paws, snakes and bighorn sheep, as well as a couple of anthropomorphs that appear to have “horns” on their heads, are commonly associated with images drawn as part of a shaman’s vision quest. As is apparent by the different degree of coloring found on some of the panels (Fig. 07), it appears some images have have either been repaginated or added at a later time.
EFP1-P1040079
(Fig. 07)
(1) quoted from Nevada Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary By Helen S. Carlson
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Ashford Mill Ruins – Death Valley

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This page last updated on 06/15/2017
EFP-P1100608
(Fig. 01)
The Mining Background: The site of today’s relatively sparse ruins are all that remain of the mill that was built to process the gold mined in the Golden Treasure mine that was located in the mountains more than 5 miles northeast of the site. The Ashford Brothers - Henry, Harold, and Louis discovered the Golden Treasure Mine in 1907. In 1910, Harold Ashford began work in the former claims of the Keys Gold Mining Company. In the mountains to the east, Ashford and his brothers worked the mine for four years without striking results.

In 1914 They leased the mine to B.W McClausland and his son Ross which led to the construction of a 180 ft. tunnel into the side of the mountain. The site of this mill was built 5 miles southwest and 3,500 ft. below the mine. The mill included a jaw-crusher, a ten-foot Lane mill, a Wilfley table and a Diester slime table. Note: The Wilfley and Diester tables were mechanized gravity shaking tables that were used to separate gold particles from the ore. The picture in (Fig. 02) is a picture of the mill that was taken in 1934. The McCauslands were described by the Inyo Register as being wealthy residents of Los Angeles, and in late August they announced that their 40-ton capacity mill was in operation, and they had plans to increase its capacity to 150 tons. Its been said that at its operational peak, the mine employed nearly 28 men. However, despite taking out an estimated $100,000 worth of ore, the McCauslands soon discovered that the ores from the mine were not rich enough to justify their capital expenditures. In order to cut their losses, the McCauslands failed to pay the Ashfords for the upcoming year's lease on the mine. As a result of their failure to make the lease payments, the Ashford's brought suit and regained control of the mine by the end of 1915.

The mine then laid idle till about 1926, at which it was worked sporadically until it was then again leased out in 1935 to the Golden Treasure Company. Again, as shipping costs became quite expensive, they also eventually gave up. It has been recorded that total shipments by the Golden Treasure company amounted to no more than $18,000 during their tenure.  The mine went through another a series of lessors but the mine never produced much paying ore and by 1941 was idle. Even though it has been estimated that over the years nearly $100,000 worth of gold was extracted, as was often the case with many western gold mines, the mines’ expenses exceeded the profit, causing the mine to be eventually shut down.

Point of Interest: If one wants to view the original mine site, one can drive east (4WD only) up the Ashford Canyon Road directly opposite from the mill. After traveling east on Ashford Canyon Road for about three miles, you must then hike about 1.25 miles up the remnants of the old road to Ashford Canyon and the mine site.
                                   
AshfordMill1934-600
(Fig. 02)
Today’s Mill Ruins: The site of today’s relatively sparse ruins are all that remain of the mill. There are only two structures still standing. One being the crumbling walls of a concrete office building (Fig. 03), and the other being the ruins of the mill itself Figs.04-07). Besides a very limited amount of debris, about the only thing left of the mill is its large concrete foundations. According to local legend, a double load of cement was shipped to the McCauslands while construction was in progress. Rather than send it back, which would have entailed further transportation expenses, the extra cement was used in construction of the mill and office building, which largely accounts for their still standing today. The pictures in (Figs. 08 thru 10) are close-ups of the 100-year old wood remains found on the mills foundations. While roaming around the mill ruins I captured this picture of a lizard (Fig. 11). Because there are literally hundreds of lizard species, I still not sure what it is. Email me in you know ... kccandcj@yahoo.com.
                                  
EFP-P1100591
(Fig. 03)
EFP-P1030292 Stitch2
(Fig. 04)
EFP-P1100594
(Fig. 05)
EFP-P1030415
(Fig. 06)
EFP-P1030420
(Fig. 07)
EFP-P1100604
(Fig. 08)
EFP-P1100596
(Fig. 09)
EFP-P1100605
(Fig. 10)

EFP-P1100600
(Fig. 11)


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Pages Uploaded in March 2015

arch 2015 Posts (by Category & Title):
Death Valley - Ashford Mill Ruins - Death Valley
Death Valley - Death Valley (Dante's View) Trip Notes for 03/28/2015
UPDATED - Arrow Canyon - Arrow Canyon Hike
Petroglyphs/Arrow Canyon - Arrow Canyon Petroglyphs
UPDATED - Grapevine Canyon - Grapevine Canyon - Inside the Bridge Canyon Wilderness Area
Petroglyphs/Grapevine Canyon - Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs
UPDATED - Gold Butte - Gold Butte Back Country Byway - A Summary
UPDATED - Gold Butte/Petroglyphs & Pictographs - Falling Man-Site

Grapevine Canyon - Site Petroglyph Photos


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EFP-P1070571
(Fig. 01)
Note: To learn more about the history of this site, the cultures who used it and how religion and the practice of shamanism explains many of the images found here, scroll to the sections “Site Occupation and History” and the “Relationship between Rock Art and Religion” at the bottom of this post
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Site Overview: A study of Grapevine Canyon by the Nevada Rock Art Foundation for the National Park Service back in late 2009 recorded nearly 300  panels. The site's challenging topography and geology, extreme height of many panels, and the fact that many large panels contain dozens of very densely packed, complex, abstract designs, all combine to make this one of the most intriguing rock art sites found anywhere. Just standing in Grapevine Wash, elevation 2,395 feet, looking up towards the canyon from its base (Fig. 01), one is confronted with dozens of large boulder surfaces on both the south (Fig. 02) and north (Fig. 03) sides of the outer canyon walls that collectively contain dozens of panels with hundreds of individually pecked petroglyph images, some estimated to be more than 1,200 years old. Being careful not to damage any of the panels, climbing the east facing cliff (Fig 04) on the south side of the canyon will reveal many glyphs, seen in the collage in (Fig. 05), that are barely visible from the ground below. Could the image in Figure 5-1 be some type of centipede? Could the two etchings in the upper left corner of Figure 5-2 be representative of humming birds? Are the two zoomorphs in Figure 5-1 & 5-5 bighorn sheep?
                                
EFP-2-IMG_2083
(Fig. 02)
EFP-3-P1100029
(Fig. 03)
EFP-4-IMG_2091
(Fig. 04)
2015 Grapevine Canyon Figure 5
(Fig. 05)
The cliffs on the north side of the canyon are even more densely packed with dozens of distinctive rectilinear, symmetrical and geometric design forms, including "I" shapes, patterned lines, "H"-like motifs, and internally decorated rectangles. It is hard not to be overwhelmed by the sight (Figs. 06 thru 09) of these panels. The fact of the matter is that this is only the "tip of the iceberg". Hiking further into the canyon the walls on both sides of the canyon reveal hundreds more images (Figs. 10 & 10a) and (Figs. 11 & 12). In addition, hiking and climbing the east facing cliffs and hills on on the north side, reveals dozens more smaller panels, many hidden from view when walking along the sands at their base, a few of which can be seen in the collage in (Fig. 13). In fact, excavations have revealed that some of these Petroglyphs protrude 40 to 50 feet below the current sand level in the wash, as evidenced by (Fig. 14). These are some of the first known petroglyphs and have been buried for hundreds of years.
                   
EFP-6-P1030833
(Fig. 06)
The heavily incised boulder (Fig. 06) is just outside a ceremonial cave that has been dubbed, "shaman's cave." Several images can be found inside this small cave including a sheep-like zoomorph, a snake, star burst, etc. Jimsonweed (Datura wrightii), which abounds in the wash that runs through the canyon, can be found growing nearby the cave. This hallucinogenic plant may explain the plethora of so-called entoptic designs. Hunter-gatherer shamanism is anchored in institutionalized altered states of consciousness sough by shamans. To achieve ecstatic trance states, shamans typically resorted to techniques that ranged from non-chemical practices such as drumming, dancing, and sensory deprivation, to the use of psychotropic drugs. Much of the iconography found here suggests that Datura may have been employed as a hallucinogenic catalyst for altered states of consciousness.
                               
EFP-6-P1030836-3
(Fig. 07)
EFP-7-P1030835
(Fig. 08)
EFP-09-P1100427-2
(Fig. 09)
EFP-09-IMG_2098
(Fig. 10)
EFP-10-IMG_2101
(Fig. 10a)
There is a very distinct PBA (Pattern Body Anthropomorph) in the center of (Fig. 10) with a rectangular body and faint suggestion of arms and legs. It has been suggested that the figure to the left may be opposing arrowheads inside rectangle symbolizing “warefare”. On the right there are a series of circles, a bighorn sheep, and a starburst.
                               
EFP-11-P1070569
(Fig. 11)
EFP-12-P1070567-2
(Fig. 12)
Clicking (Fig. 11) to enlarge you can more easily see several representations of atlatls, an ancient tool used by the Anasazi (Puebloan) cultures, 1,500-800 years ago, before the invention of the bow and arrow. Atlatl is an Aztec Indian word for spear thrower. It was a shaft which was used as a lever to increase the power imparted to a spear or dart, allowing them to be thrown further and with greater speed and power. Click here for more information on the atlatl ... The Atlatl. The view in (Fig. 12) contains numerous meandering dots and lines and two bear claws (upper left). During vision quests, shaman would evoke animal images as spirit guides, omens, and message-bearers. The bear was known to be one of the most powerful spirit animals in touch with the earth and the cycles of nature, and a powerful guide to physical and emotional healing.
                                       
2015 Grapevine Canyon 02
(Fig. 13)
As was often the practice, a cross representing a star was emphasized by surrounding it with concentric lines, bottom center of (Fig. 13-4). This same symbol can be found on at least three different panels at this site. Could this south-facing star perhaps represent Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.
                          
EFP-14-P1100433
(Fig. 14)
Though the vast majority of petroglyphs found here are nonrepresentational geometric motifs, several engravings contain zoomorphs (Fig. 15) such as deer or bighorn sheep and snakes, as well as a limited number of stylized anthropomorphs (Fig 16). After doing a lot more searching and hiking for panels on my last visit, I found several more panels containing rare zoomorphs that could be bighorn sheep, or possibly elk or deer (Fig. 17).
                                            
EFP-15-P1100022
(Fig. 15)
EFP-16-P1100416
(Fig. 16)
2015 Grapevine Canyon Zoomorphs
(Fig. 17)
As you can see by many of the pictures above, the varying degree of the patina color and intensity of many etched images suggests the possibility that some of the images may have been reworked. The following was noted by Quinlan & Woody in 2009, …
“Many designs appear to have been carefully reworked or refreshed over a long period, attesting to the enduring cultural significance of this place and its art. These "refreshing's" often exhibit great care to respect the outlines of the design being enhanced; the dense packing of designs on the same boulder and superimpositioning also were done in a way that suggests enhancement not obliteration. The emphasis on abstract designs and the fact that representational imagery is only a small component of the total motif assemblage can be argued to be indicative of a form of symbolism that was restricted in terms of those who had access to its meanings and authorized to provide exegeses of it.”
Because many of the petroglyphs panels at this site are on rock faces that high up on the canyon walls, they are difficult to see without ‘zooming’ in on them. In order for you to get a better feel for the panels natural setting as well as have a better opportunity to observe the many individual element within the panel, I have created some images that combines both the distant shots with their close-ups. Click here to view these … More Grapevine Canyon Petroglyph Pictures.
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Site Occupation & History: The vast number of rock art panels on this site make it apparent that it has had a long history of use. Dating from early Patayan cultures up to the late eighteenth century. The term Patayan is used by archaeologists to describe the prehistoric Native American cultures that inhabited parts of modern day Arizona, California and Baja California, including southern Nevada and areas near the Colorado River Valley. These prehistoric people appear to be ancestral to several Yuman and Numic speaking tribes from this area, including the Mojave, Hualapai, Yavapai, Havasupai, Quechan, Pai Pai, Maricopa, Chemehuevi and Southern Paiute. “Numic” is a branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. It includes seven languages spoken by Native American peoples traditionally living in the Great Basin and Colorado River basin. Today, it still remains culturally significant to modern Indian Peoples living in the region. Mohave (or Mojave) is the name given to a Native American people indigenous to the Colorado River in the Mojave Desert. The Mojave peoples held lands along the river that stretched from Black Canyon, where the tall pillars of First House of Mutavilya loomed above the river, past Avi kwame (Spirit Mountain), the center of spiritual things, to the Quechan Valley, where the lands of other tribes began. Translated into present landmarks, their lands began in the north at Hoover Dam and ended about one hundred miles below Parker Dam on the Colorado River.
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Relationship Between Rock Art and Religious Beliefs: Even though modern day Mojaves have been unable to provide specific glyph interpretations of the many designs found at Grapevine canyon, they have offered a general setting from which to interpret the drawings.
“The drawings depict Creation Mythology. Every Indian nation possessed a similar Creation Mythology and these societies held it of higher importance than anything in life. For the Mojave, their Creation Mythology depicted the story of such powerful gods as Matavilya and Mastamho who shaped the world, fought off evil spirits, and taught men and women how to survive off the land.” (1)  
Traditional Yuman beliefs are characterized by a creation myth and belief in a supreme creator.
“According to the Mojave creation myth, the oldest spirit was Matavilya, made from the mating of Earth and Sky. Matavilya had two sons, Mastamho and Kaatar, and a daughter, Frog. Matavilya committed an unwitting indecency that offended his daughter, who then killed them. Mastamho directed the cremation and mourning ceremony for his father and, when completed, strode up the Colorado River Valley. When he got to the top Mastamho created the river by plunging a cane of breath and spittle into the earth, allowing the river to pour forth. Riding a canoe down the waters to the ocean, he created the wide river bottom by twisting and turning the boat. He returned from the ocean with his people, the Mojave, taking them in his arms to the northern end of Mojave country. There he piled up earth, creating the mountain Avlkwa'ame, and built himself a house on it. There too Mastamho plotted the death of Sky- Rattlesnake, an evil spirit and the source of dark powers. Mastamho killed Sky-Rattlesnake by cutting off his head, with his spilt blood becoming noxious insects. Mastamho then gave land to the different tribes and taught them to farm. Finally, Mastamho turned himself into a fish-eagle and flew off into oblivion.” (2)
Though much of the detail about these beliefs has been lost over many subsequent generations, the Mohave have passed on their faith through traditional narratives and songs. The religious beliefs for these, and many other western cultures, were practiced by shamanism, a form of worship that was centered around a shaman (medicine man) and their personal interaction with supernatural spirits. By fasting and ingesting hallucinogens during a “vision quest”, a shaman would enter a trance state, throwing himself into the invisible world where all these ancestors of the modern human-people remained imprinted on the fabric of the spirit realm.
"Immediately following a vision quest, the shaman would pray and concentrate on the vision he had received. When moring came, he would paint or engrave his vision on rocks at his vision quest site. The art created by a shaman was meant to preserve his visionary images for posterity; if a shaman forgot his vision, it was believed he would sicken or die. Shamans sometimes returned to the site of their first vision quest to revitalize the memory of that first trance, to renew their power, and perhaps t reenter the supernatural world for additoinal powers and spirit helpers."(2)
“The importance of this cosmogenic myth to rock art is two folds. Known as the "Shaman's Tale," it was precisely this myth that the shaman "dreamed" to obtain his supernatural powers: In Yuman fashion, the shaman was believed to re-experience and witness these mythic events of creation in the supernatural world and, from them, obtain his power. It is at the foot of Spirit Mountain that the important Grapevine Canyon petroglyph site is located; that is, Grapevine Canyon is Atastamho's House, where the Mojave shaman went to witness, in his dreams, the creation of the world.(2)
“In looking at the Grapevine Canyon petroglyphs with this setting in mind, it becomes possible that the individual glyphs were ideograms or symbols that either captured a specific event in this four-fold evolutionary process or signified at what point in this four-fold process a specific event was taking place. That is, the petroglyph designs were the mythological stories in chronological form expressed through ideograms by the Mojave people or their ancestors. As an ideogram, each glyph was infused with meaning on its own, but that meaning was amplified when placed in combinations with other glyphs. Glyphs were either geometric, based on permutations of circles or extensions of lines, or representational, based on humanoids, therianthropes (part-animal, part-human), or animals. At Grapevine Canyon, some of the glyphs can be readily identified with Creation Mythology while others are more difficult to comprehend. The more obvious ones include: Creation: circles, rayed circles, spirals; God-people: amorphous humanoids with accouterments (ie: solar crowns, snakes); Animal-people: semi-humanoids with horns or tails; Modern Human-people: male and female genitalia, the squared-cross denoting the sacred number 4 or the idea of completion. There is still much work to be done by scholars in regard to the interpretation of these complex symbols. Fortunately, scholarship in recent years, when faced with the insurmountable evidence that the same glyphs reappear on rocks thousands of miles from one another, has gone beyond the suggestions that the designs on the rocks were indiscriminate doodles.” (1)
This fact is evidenced by the petroglyphs found at Keyhole Canyon located about halfway between Las Vegas and Searchlight, outside the town of Nelson in the Eldorado Mountains. For pictures of Keyhole Canyon Petroglyphs go to this page … Keyhole Canyon Petroglyphs.
“While it is unknown who carved the petroglyphs at Keyhole Canyon, scholars do agree that the Mohave, the Paiute, and the Anasazi/Pueblo were the main groups in the region thousands of years ago. Keyhole Canyon is a unique site because of the unusually large, round, geometric glyphs that cover several rock faces. These glyph symbols match up perfectly with other glyph patterns in the Southern Nevada region. As with Grapevine Canyon, many archaeologists interpret the mysterious symbols as stemming from the Creation Mythology of the Native Americans who lived in and around the region. In this case, that would mean the Mojave, Paiute, and Anasazi/Pueblo. By using this Creation Mythology as the general setting for understanding the meaning of the rock art, the following tentative explanations can be given: The Circle: The source of everything, the highest level of spirit; The Bisected Circle: When in combination with a male phallus, this is a female glyph symbolizing the separation of the human-people into man and woman. When in combination with astral glyphs, the notion of the feminine takes on a cosmic level. In Pueblo mythology, the twain worlds, or two, are created before the terrestrial world. That is, the first manifestation from the empty circle, or spirit, is dual, or the bisected circle. In Mojave, Paiute, and Pueblo mythology, the Grandmother of Many, who preceded Coyote, is one of the earliest god-people; The Cross within the Circle: As already noted, the circle represents highest spirit. The four arms of the cross correspond to the Native American sacred number 4 or completion. For example, the number 4 consistently appears: 4 worlds or ages, 4 Old Men, 4 directions, 4 solstices/equinoxes, 4 migrations, 4 colors, 4 divisions of night, 4 sacred mountains, 4 daughters of Coyote, 4 times for Coyote to repeat an action before he is finished. In Creation Mythology, what is being completed is the evolution of the human-people. Therefore, the cross within the circle symbolizes highest spirit evolving and completing itself through the separation of the human-people into male and female.” (1)
At any rate, the petroglyphs found at both these locations are not mere doodles or idle recreation. On the contrary, these labor-intensive carvings undoubtedly represent the visionary re-creation of mythical or otherworldly dimensions. Obviously, we may never fully know their true meanings.
(1) - by Don Shepherd, 17 January 2011.(2) - David S. Whitley, A Guide to Rock Art Sites: Southern California and Southern Nevada (Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1996), p. 128