Mojave Desert - True Facts, Legends, & Lies

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The Coso Petroglyphs

I finally made it to Little Petroglyph Canyon! Such a beautiful place. It’s easy to see why it would have been sacred to the early people.

There are thousands of carvings throughout the canyon. No one knows what they mean or why they are there. This is what I like about them. The Koso (Timbisha Shoshoni) say they were made by their ancestors. That’s good for me.

The estimated age range is so broad. Some maybe as recent as 200 years ago. Some possibly as old as 8,000 years. Some are very old and covered by other weathered drawings. Some are covered by lichen, a plant-animal that lives hundreds of years. Grinding stones (metates) are above the canyons. Possibly where rice grass was ground to powder for flour. Seeing these makes it easier to visualize people in and above the canyon.

I’ve visited maybe 3 dozen or so other petroglyph and pictograph sites in the desert and mountains. This is the largest and most pristine of them all. The site is on a military base, and scheduling the tour, going through the security, search, and the long drive as well as spending a couple nights away was so very worth it.

The guide was very knowlegable. Not just about the site, but the prehistoric people, how they may have lived, what they may have ate, and the modern history of the area from then until now. Not one of my countless questions were left unanswered.

I was saving this site for last. I realize now that’s just silly. There will be more sites I’ll see and maybe I’ll go back to this one. I don’t know why. Maybe it is just because nobody knows …

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