Exploring the Southwest! Spring 2009 travel blog

The petroglyphs are located on rocks that are part of a large...

Our fearless, and somewhat less portly than before, adventurer.

Bird - 2 birds, the lower one is called a Phoenix design.

Bird - looks like a Gambel's quail.

Bird - another quail.

Bird - a wonderful Eagle's head!

Bird - another so-called Phoenix... looks more like a cliff swallow to...

Bird - the Phoenix was a magical bird that rose from the...

Bird - footprint, turkey or perhaps roadrunner.

Bird - Phoenix with human face.

Bird - stylized with wings raised... flying? Long beak appears to be...

Bird - two very different styles of Phoenix. The top one seems...

Fish - simple. There were several species of fish including two varieties...

Fish - decorated with patterns and ringed with a double circle.

Eye - with spiral iris and oval shape.... look like anything else...

Eye - looks similar to the Egyptian hieroglyph.

Eye - another double spiral symbol that looks to me like an...

Face - one of the most amazing faces depicted... look at the...

Face - note the ear rings and hair cut.

Face - or at least I think so... very stylized.

Face - with an angry mouth baring teeth/fangs.

Face - forehead, eyes and nose.

Face - square head, teeth exposed.... perhaps this is a human skull?

Person - face and the rest of the body, too.

Face - one of the few side views (a more advanced art...

Face - pronounced eye brows and possible mustache.

Faces - outcroping of rocks with several faces clustered together.

Foot - primitive.

Foot - well defined toes.

Hand - stylized human hand (or alian hand... no, wait, that was...

Two hands reaching towards the sky or perhaps towards the snake. The...

Hand with curved fingers - ?changes from rheumatoid arthritits? or is this...

Hand with concentric circles (similar to the ones seen below, perhaps a...

Hand with wrist and faint crescent above.

Turtle - with outstretched head and neck.

Snake - clearly a Diamondback Rattler.

Frog - above a pueblo dwelling design. Could this be the name...

Lizard - the long tail and round body makes this one look...

Lizard - could be a horned toad or fat chuckwalla.

Lizard - horned creature. Recall from the previous petroglyph sites the story...

Lizard - with hornes... perhaps this is a 4 legged beatle with...

Lizard - with hornes.

Lizard - again with hornes.

Lizard - with curved tail.

Pattern - with distinctive Native American flavor still recognized as such today.

Pattern - steps or the profile of a pueblo dwelling.

Pattern - it is hard to see from damage at top, but...

Pattern - rather abstract... a floor plan or map? perhaps just doodling...

Pattern - inticate with squares, triangles and curves.

Pattern - simple stacked squares. Note the cross hatches in each are...

Pattern - symetrical, similar to that seen on more modern Native American...

Pattern - interesting how it spans the entire rock from top to...

Pattern - again a symetrical squared design.

Pattern - interesting because the line going up from the circle continued...

Pattern - a very interesting and unusual symbol. One wonders what its...

Pattern -pueblo dwelling with moon (or sun) overhead.

Pattern - "dumbells" with squared ends. Recall that it is thought this...

Pattern - an interesting "checkerboard" design.

Pattern - tassles on courners make it look very much like a...

William poses next to a pattern that reminded him of a Navajo...

Pattern - a series of dots... beads of a necklace, passing celestial...

Pattern/sun - "infinity" symbol, perhaps two suns or sun tribes meeting.

Rabbit - a particularly nice depiction of the desert Jackrabbit.

Rabbit - this one looks more like a Cottontail rabbit.

Rabbit - somewhat crude, perhaps a squirrel given its posture and wider...

Rabbit - on rock with many lizards and other designs.

Sheep - an incredible depiction of a big horned sheep with eye...

Sheep - or similar animal. Native Americans today still draw animals with...

Sheep - head of big horned sheep. Very interesting how the artist...

Sheep - somewhat crude animal, note crescent over head.

Sheep - big horned sheep with two arrows in it. Obviously these...

Sheep - more simple depiction of a big horn.

Sheep - or similar animal with design decorated body (checkerboard) and two...

Sheep - this one looks more loke a goat... I don't think...

Sun - the following is a collection of various "sun" and "moon"...

Sun - this symbol with concentric circles surrounded by dots is thought...

Sun - also surrounded by dots, but this time with a cross...

Sun - was this also the symbol of a related clan?

Sun - this style is very common at this site, but rare...

Sun - concentric circles, minus the surrounding dots.

Sun - a more crude version of the circle with cross without...

Sun - this is a very nice version of the central cross,...

Sun - with spiral arms. Note another sun with cross on rock...

Sun - it would be nice to know if all of these...

Sun - with the beginnings of a double set of surrounding dots.

A rock cairn near the site marks the end of the trail.


Three Rivers Petroglyph National Monument is located just north of White Sands and Alamogordo. It is a small hill out in the middle of a high plains desert covered with an outcropping of black rocks. Native Americans from the centuries of about 800 through 1400 CE have placed over 21,000 drawings on the rocks. Some of there are quite sophisticated and impressive.

I have attached several pictures that Anchi took. I have arranged them in catagories. You will note that there are many representations of each figure, symbol or pattern. I have included several of each so you can compare for interest. Remember these were presumably done over a span of many hundreds of years by different ancient artists... you can really see the difference in skill and style. Hope we don't overwhelm you with too many examples, we picked only the best ones. Over 80 of them!

Take particular note of the faces, some of the most interesting in southwest petroglyphs and of the Egyptian style eyes (facinating, pics 15-17). Also, picture 31 shows a hand with 6 fingers. Sometimes people are born with extra digits, this probably would have been seen as something very special in a spiritual sense about that person.

We also wanted to visit the VLA (Very Large Array of radio telescopes) located to the northwest of White Sands. This was made famous to the lay public in the movie “Contact”. Unfortunately our timing caused us to arrive too late in the day so we missed seeing this important astronomical observing site.



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