Blythe Geoglyphs, CA
In November of 2015, Becky (my wife) and I drove through Blythe, California on our way back to Utah from Indio, California. Blythe is on the Arizona and California border.
where we visited
North of Blythe we found the Blythe Geoglyphs. These geoglyphs or intaglios (anthropomorphic geoglyphs) were created by scraping away layers of darker rocks or pebbles to reveal a stratum of lighter-valued soil.
While these “gravel pictographs” are found through the deserts of southeastern California, human figures are found only near the Colorado River. This human figure, (pictured above) is oriented north-south with it’s head pointing toward the south. It’s arms are outstretched and it’s feet point outward. The above figure most likely represents a male, it is the one of the “Gythe Intaglios” that appears to have originally been created with a phallus between it’s legs.
The above figure measures 33 m from head to toe, and it’s arms span a distance of 21.5 m. It’s left leg is pronouncedly flexed. It lacks defined knees, but does have clearly defined elbows. There are no visible fingers or toes.
The Blythe Intaglios are so immense that many of them were not observed by nonnatives until the 1930s.
The human figure above and below is also oriented north-south with it’s head pointing toward the south. It’s arms are outstretched and it’s feet point outward.
The above figure measures 34 m from head to toe. The torso combined with the arm span are 30 m wide. It has visible knees and elbows.
Earlier drawings of the human figure above, indicated fingers and toes and several lines coming out from the head. (Could they represent strands of hair atop the head?) This figure is the least disturbed of the group.
Native American oral histories mention mythological characters that may be represented in the figures images above and below. Their stories mention the mountain lion who changes into a person and helps the Creator with the earth. The animal figure is oriented northwest-southwest with it’s head pointing toward the northwest at the summer solstice sunset. It measures 19 m from head to tail and it’s body is 2.5 m wide. It’s legs measure 9 m long and at the end of each leg is a small half circle, interpreted to possibly represent a paw. Below the animal figure is an elaborate spiral figure. It measures 7.5 m in length and is oriented northwest-southeast and has a maximum width of 2.8 m. One interpretation is that the figure represents a coiled snake.
This set of geoglyphs includes several dozen figures, thought to be ceremonial in nature. Many of them are believed to date from the prehistoric period, but their age and the identity of their creators are still uncertain. Radiocarbon dates for the figures, range from 900 BCE to 1200 BCE.