Monday, April 30, 2007
Mystery among the rocks
The goggle-eyed and horned creatures are the most mysterious images to be found at ancient petroglyphs in beautiful Southeastern New Mexico. Some scholars believe goggle eyes in a Mexican rain god while others insist the Native Americans who etched the stone art had their own religious reasons to get creative. Maybe these strange creatures are renditions of the same aliens that “unofficially” landed centuries later about 80 miles to the east in Roswell.
You can sense the magic of Three Rivers Petroglyphs upon setting foot on the rugged path that wraps around the rocks and boulders that contain 21,000 crudely-etched pictures. The sweet smell of evergreen fills the air, while breathtaking vistas spread for miles on both sides of the Tularosa Basin 28 miles south of Carrizozo. The San Andres Mountains are to the west, while the Sacramento Mountains fill the eastern horizon. There are few houses interupting the landscape, as most buildings were evacuated and raised after the U.S. Military uprooted everyone in the 1950s and 60s for military purposes.
It is believed that the Jornada Mogollon tribe is responsible for the carvings of masks, sunbursts, animals, hand prints, fish, fauna and geometric designs created 1,000 years ago. Unfortunately, many of them are fading away under the elements. No one is sure what they mean, as there are no known surviving members of the tribe. There are theories that the site might have been used for trading, that each picture represents part of a larger story. “The rock art seems to reflect a strong supernatural and religious connection to their environment,” according to the visitor brochure issued by the Bureau of Land Management.