Three Rivers Petroglyphs, New Mexico

Petroglyphs are basically rock art; images carved or drawn onto rocks or cave walls, usually during prehistoric times. I’ve been to several petroglyph sites over the years, spread across Europe and North America, including several in Hawaii and the Caribbean.

IMG_0783One of the most impressive, and certainly the most extensive, collection of petroglyphs I’ve seen so far is at the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site in New Mexico, between Tularosa and Carrizozo. Across this 50 acre expanse of desert literally thousands of petroglyphs are preserved.

View across the desert from the ridge at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

View across the desert from the ridge at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

In 2012, we spent a wonderful couple of hours hiking around a small ridge within the area protected by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The hillsides are strewn with rocks and boulders, most of which are covered with petroglyphs.

With some friends at Three Rivers

With some friends at Three Rivers

The artwork at Three Rivers belongs to the Jornada Mogollon people. The drawings were created over a 400-500 year period, between 900 and 1400 AD.

IMG_0793The harsh desert conditions coat any exposed rocks with a dark-coloured ‘patina’, which the artists scraped off to produce lighter-coloured designs.

Many of the carvings are geometric patterns, some of which are quite intricate.

IMG_0780IMG_0782IMG_0791IMG_0810In addition, there are over 21,000 petroglyphs (yes, that should say twenty-one thousand!) depicting insects, plants, fish…

Fish-shaped design filled with geometric patterns

Fish-shaped design filled with geometric patterns

…Birds…

Is it a bird? Yes, I think it is!

Is it a bird? Yes, I think it is!

…Mammals…

A sheep

A sheep

Another sheep, this one stuck with what look like arrows

Another sheep, this one stuck with what look like arrows

Yet another sheep

Yet another sheep

A second skewered critter, probably another sheep

A second skewered critter, probably another sheep

A square, chequered animal with baubles?

A square, chequered animal with baubles?

…And even humans.

A human face (on the left)

A human face (on the left)

A whole human figure

A whole human figure

This image of a head uses a natural nodule in the rock as the eye

This image of a head uses a natural nodule in the rock as the eye

This image is particularly lifelike

This image is particularly lifelike

Stick figures

Stick figures

But this was my favourite:

Who knew that herds of giraffes roamed the deserts of North America a thousand years ago?!

Who knew that herds of giraffes roamed the deserts of North America a thousand years ago?!

This post was inspired by the photo themes Symbol from Jen (Daily Post), Pattern from Paula (Lost in Translation) and, of course, Jo’s Monday Walk.

If like me, you’re captivated by the beauty and mystery of petroglyphs like these, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

And if that’s not enough for you, the first three Jaspa’s Journey novels will soon be available to enjoy, both as ebooks and in paperback! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
This entry was posted in Environment, History, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Travel, USA and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Three Rivers Petroglyphs, New Mexico

  1. restlessjo says:

    What a great entry for Paula’s Pattern, Jaspa! I appreciate you including me in there too. A happy weekend to you 🙂

  2. Pingback: Photo Challenge; Symbol | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice

  3. jpeggytaylor says:

    A fascinating place – petroglyphs are an incredible personal link to the ancient people who created them … and there was even a giraffe! Wonderful post.

  4. Paula says:

    I would love to explore the site too, but it will have to do with your wonderful share. Thank you, Jaspa. Really fascinating!

  5. Pingback: Thursday’s Special: Pattern | Lost in Translation

  6. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Lealholm to Glaisdale | restlessjo

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  8. VioletSky says:

    This ancient graffiti is so interesting. I doubt anyone will be wanting to study our current tagging practice!

  9. Pingback: birth |100 Emotions (a sketching challenge) | Ramisa the Authoress

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