Stalking New Mexico's wild petroglyphs

Trip Start Nov 25, 2006
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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Saturday, March 20, 2010

Our friends led us on an expedition to some Bureau of Land Management acreage called Pony Hills, located northwest of Deming, NM where we set off in quest of petroglyphs. They were so abundant--and fascinating--that we went straight back to the town's historical museum to research them. 

Incredibly, there we found a book of photos of the very glyphs we had just seen. The binder of photos was a one-of-a-kind entitled The Petroglyphs of Starvation Draw and Scenes from Massacre Creek Valley.

I was also amazed at the extensive collection of Mimbres Indian pottery on permanent display because it featured the same icons as we had seen on the glyphs. I've posted a few so you can see the comparisons.

The Mimbres lived in this area from 950 to 1200 A.D. but left the valley when the population outgrew the resources there, experts theorize. They buired pottery with their dead and local farmers/ranchers in Deming discovered lots of it and contributed their collections to the town museum.

The potters is generally black on white (occasionally red on white). Paint--made from minerals in the soil-- was applied with a yucca leaf that was chewed into a brush tool. The designs were geometric and naturalistic (animal & human figures). Their pottery is second to none in the ancient world.

We did not take the one hour hike at the site in the opposite direction to find the glyph that locals call "The Sun Man." This major glyph appears to be a calendar marker. Once, while on a hiking visit to see the Sun Man, our friends discovered a researcher there photographing it as part of an ongoing series of photos, noting the shadows' play across the man/shaman and correlating them to the seasonal path of the sun. Perhaps we will return another day to hike into Massacre Creek Valley to see that amazing sight.

This area is literally off the beaten path. We accessed it on a dirt road that was posted "Primitive road, enter at your own risk. Washouts possible." (or words to that effect)

If you're interested in glyphs, I've put comments by many of the photos on this post, explaining what we learned about the glyph in the local museum. Click the photo you're interested in, and you may find more information. The two videos simply pan the area, giving you a glimpse of the "wild West."
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