Jump to content
Nugget Shooter Forums
Sign in to follow this  
billpeters

Pristine Hohokam Rock Maze, Long Wall Discovered

Recommended Posts

During a recent search of the Arizona Sonoran Desert I aerially scouted ahead and was surprised to find a large Hohokam structure and rock line wall. This past Sunday I was able to make it out there and survey the site. The main site is a double rock maze with narrow foot paths between the stones with a long, diagonal line of rocks nearby .

The site is uniquely isolated and out of the way from reasonable travel paths. The remote site is pristine in that there are no signs of anything being disturbed and virtually no litter, trails, nor tracks. I do careful searches, studying the ground, and pick up modern trash. Here there was none, a rare sight. I followed the slight alluvial rise in which it resides for 3 miles and found only one instance of 50 year old weathered small, one inch square man-made fallen stakes crossing the rise about 1 mile away. Nothing was in the vicinity of the rock designs.

The main rock design is made up of singular basalt rocks only a foot high making two maze patterns. The rock line similarly are single natural basalt stones in a not very straight line with one small S-curve in it. The rock line runs diagonal SE to NW naturally cutting across most of the alluvial rise with no ancient trails entering nor exiting the site. There are a number of ring groupings from 6 to 10 feet across with a gradually thickening side each with small, white limestones piled on the center of the thickest part. There are about 25 more loose rock groups fairly unorganized, but often with limestone added in. One larger one has a barely discernible spiral shape, a second has a small yin-yang maze pattern. One circular feature has a large boulder in the center.

The site has no fire pits, charcoal, worked stone, mortar, tool chips, nor signs of ancient digging below the surface. There were about a dozen small, degraded potsherds a half to 1 inch long scattered with several at the main design, some along the long 450 foot rock line, and several at the various rock rings. The potsherds are typical Hohokam, some with buff one side and more natural unpainted red other side of which period is indeterminate. There are an additional 25~ groupings of basalt rocks, some with distinct patterns, often with small limestone rocks added to the centers. There is a large amount of natural basalt rock abundantly scattered all along the slight 3 mile long alluvial rise emanating from the nearby volcanoes, none of which are in patterns. Everything constructed is made of immediately accessible nearby basalt and limestone rocks. The full site area covers about 6-10 acres.

I have reported the site to the the appropriate staff at the Antiquities Departments of ASU and Mesa Community College. I would expect Dr, Shereen Lerner, who studies rock art at MCC, to authorize a study of this site to understand its significance.

.

image.png

Cheers!

billpeters

  • Like 7
  • Thanks 2
  • Hmmmmmm 1
  • well done 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, very cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's quite a discovery. Congrats. May I ask what the original purpose of your search was? Meteorites or something else?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's more!

I have carefully reviewed the aerial region and discovered an additional trail extension NW following the rock line that continues an additional 1500 feet to a large wash that acts as a natural highway into this area.  All along the ancient trail there continues the intermittent broken rock line switching from one site to the other of a clear path. The basaltrock line begins at a large wash that acts as a trail highway and terminates just after the rock maze. I am certain its purpose was for the same reason that I used it, to locate the ground level rock maze. This indicates that they came back to the site over the years for a specific purpose and wanted to remember where it was at.

The dozen small pieces of pottery are interesting in that the few that were found at the largest rock circle may indicate that this is cremation burial site with a ‘kill pot’ burial motif.  Pots were broken to symbolize death and mixed with the remains. I did not notice potsherds near the other circles, but also did not search all that carefully. The one detractor is that most of the multiple rock groupings are too small and unorganized with no apparent ancient ground disturbances to indicate a burial.  The few other potsherds were found infrequently along the rock line and at the maze structure. At this point my internment hypothesis is only a guess and may not be accurate.

I am planning to return and check out the rock line and rock groupings more carefully looking for any artifacts which might identify the true purpose of the rock maze site. I am also very interested in what may lay at where the rock line meets the large wash. Trees and bushes cover up the aerial view. There may be a cairn type of structure or something else to mark where the trail begins to the maze from the wash. It begins at a significant bend in the wash. I will carefully search, survey, photograph, and not take.

Both Dr David Abbott, Director of ASU Antiquities Dept. and Dr Shereen Lerner, Hohokam Rock Art expert, at Mesa Community College are keenly interested in this site. Dr. Learner has already indicated that she would like to visit the site.

All indications so far confirm that the site is a true discovery and unknown before I'd found it.

I'll keep you posted.

Cheers!

billpeters

AKA: Indiana Jones

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hohokam Rock Maze Update,

Sunday, I went back out to the Hohokam Rock Maze site, specifically, to follow the weak rock line trail northwest to the larger wash to see if there is anything there and to explore the full site further, to count rocks per major site, tape measure, GPS, and photograph. I followed the rock line to what I had thought would be a weak path with the rock line intermittently alternating sides. However, the rock line became indiscernible with no visible trail between the possible two sides after the initial rock line ended. I still followed it to the wash only to discover that the wash was a dense basalt boulder field and could not be easily used as a trail. There was nothing constructed, nor would there have been a reason to mark that location. The trail-to-wash theory is debunked.

Returning, I tape measured the maze at 22 ft x 14.5 ft with 142 rocks. The rock line had 260 rocks with a possible far spaced continuation northwest totaling about 300 rocks.

I surveyed the entire area and discovered it is about double the size I had originally estimated extending further east, northeast, and a little more south. None of the features are orientated in cardinal directions.

I identified eleven different types of rock patterns. They are: the rock line, the maze, the parallel boulder ridges, the boulder centered ring, the steeple, the rainbow sickle, the spiral star, the U, the doughnut ring, the stacked cluster, and the pile. Most are not very geometrically symmetrical. Only the steeple, the U, the spiral star and the pile are repeated. The others occur only once. For some reason I found only one potsherd at the majority of groupings, at a couple I found two or three. There was no single concentration of potsherds discovered to identify a source.

The large basalt rock ring with the ground flat center was measured with one spiral counterclockwise tail coming off it at 19 ft full width with the main ring at 13 ft in diameter. I noticed that this ring was situated on a limestone flat rock base indicating that it would be very difficult to put anything inside the widest part of the ring, like a burial. The limestone flat rock base meant that one could not dig at all leaving the depth at the greatest point at no more than 1 ft.  All the rock groupings, under closer examination, seemed less likely to be burial sites. The interpretation remains open. About two potsherds were found at the doughnut ring.

The 1350 ft~ rock line is not evenly spaced, all that straight, nor evenly sized. It is most concentrated near the maze with a short, dense second parallel line about 13 ft south. About three potsherds were found, including a 1 in x 1 in rim piece at the very northwest main end.  Seven feet south of the main end rock there is a distinctive large boulder surrounded by a ring of smaller stones.

In the southeast a large, full rainbow sickle feature about 19 ft in half diameter with an extension connected to the end of the 8 ft sickle ended at a large boulder 19 ft away. The rainbow with sickle feature half of the design is quite striking and very symmetrical. The rainbow is a precise half circle with the rainbow itself of even width concentration of basalt rocks. The sickle stem is a symmetric single rock line. This part of the feature looks similar to a stem to half circle stand of a modern globe laid flat. The remaining half is jumbled line grouping with a weak, small, partial reverse possible quarter circle terminating in the large end boulder that is broken in several pieces. The total feature has 118 rocks.

The parallel boulder ridges run 75 ft and 90 ft respectively down the slight alluvial fan rise, are each about 4 ft wide of single layer basalt rocks with a 28 ft wide cleared of boulders field between. Note that 75 ft east ridge starts further south and the 90 ft west ridge ends further north. One potsherd on each boulder ridge were found.

The spiral star, steeple, and the U were all repeated. All star groupings were counter clockwise with up to four rough arms at right angles to each other, several, though, had no discernible spiral. The steeple groupings were very geometric and single layer concentrated, 4 ft to 6 ft in length with the groupings coming to a point on one end. These looked most like burial sites. These were intermingled near the U groupings which had the centers mostly cleared. They were not aligned with each other. Most of the smaller groupings did not have any potsherds.

The stacked clusters and piles of rocks showed no pattern. The stacked clusters were small with only one or two rocks on top of another composed of four to six rocks total. The piles were only rocks together one layer high about 5 ft to 7 ft across.

My cell phone memo and gallery hold all of the pics, GPS coordinates, and contemporary notes.

I have also discerned that the 1 in square short pegs about 3/4 mile south running WNW to ESE were boundary survey markers matching the direction and location of one part of the north end of Table Top Mountain Preserve.

On my next visit I will take my drone camera to get a better perspective of the rock groupings. There are no signs of this site ever being disturbed or recognized by western peoples. This site needs to be formally explored to learn of its cultural teachings.

Cheers!

billpeters

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Billpeters, that's some find you have there. I lived in Arizona for over 20 years and heard some amazing stories about ruins that were found with full pottery still intact along with other remains, but only to be lost and never to be relocated. I wouldn't be surprised if others have found your spot in the past but just could not find it again. So how about meteorites? any chance you are really out there mapping a strewn field ? :4chsmu1:

ht

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey hardtimehermit,

Land ownership and possession of items found is always a sensitive issue in this litigious world even on BLM land. I have never found a meteorite in this area. It is unlikely that there is a large meteorite in this immediate area or even a recognizable small one. My immediate interest is in understanding the cultural significance of the various features and dating the site.

I have not been able to find on line any other example like it in the United States. This site may be unique.

Cheers!

billpeters

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Bill, We sense and share your excitement and thrill of discovery, for you have truly found the gold. As you have shown, sometimes it can be both the journey and the destination . . .

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill, just a WAG but that maze looks like some Aztec or Mayan art I've seen that looks like a "space pilot" imaged from the right side of the subject...Just a thought, but what an amazing find....WTG ... Cheers, Unc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

You are right, Unc,

If, or when, the metaphysical new agers find out about this site they are going to go nuts. If I were so inclined I could exploit this, but I will not. The Wild A$$ Guess 'space pilot' similarity is not recognizable from the ground and more likely wishful thinking. The maze is throughout a walkway path for small feet. 

One testable hypothesis of the rainbow with sickle feature that has a trailing jagged line of rocks extending to the right is that it is a rainbow with mountain skyline. I will check the skyline to see if it matches the next time I'm there, probably after summer.

Cheers!

billpeters

Edited by billpeters
testable hypothesis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Head out there on the upcoming solstice and see if anything aligns at sunrise or sunset.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Mikestang,

I took a look of my pics of the rainbow with sickle and trailing rock line with two apparent peaks and it does seem to match the actual descending side of the main mountain (the sickle) with the jagged line rising to form two peaks (two pointed adjacent mountains) in the background. The rainbow angle would help set the time of year and time of day when the rainbow was seen.  The terrain would put the rainbow in the WSW, which would correspond to an after sunrise morning storm near the summer solstice. This will need to be verified with an onsite visit.

A mountain landscape laid out in boulders in the desert with a rainbow by a Hohokam artist!

Picasso move over.

Cheers!

billpeters

Edited by billpeters
accuracy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've come across weird lines of rocks before, they did not appear natural.  I never did any further investigating, maybe I should?

Alvord2012May2--019.jpg

Alvord2012May2--022.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 6/3/2019 at 12:49 PM, Mikestang said:

've come across weird lines of rocks before, they did not appear natural.  I never did any further investigating, maybe I should?

Mike,

You may be on to something. You will need to go back out there and see if there is a reasonable explanation for its existence. It could be a 19th century boundary marker or has some other reasonable last century purpose. It is possible, though, that it may be Native American. Does it connect to a more pastoral purpose, a water trough, or ranch land features? Look carefully for artifacts. It you find rusted tins or bullets it is probably recent. If, however, you find small bits of Native American pottery, then it is very likely ancient. In that case look for other odd concentrations of rocks similar to what I have described above. Maybe we have discovered a whole new aspect of Native American civilization.

Cheers!

billpeters

Edited by billpeters

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read a great book a few years ago called The Apache Wars by Paul Hutton. It is a great history book about Arizona and New Mexico. The book described how the Apaches would build low height rock living areas in eastern Arizona that they would re-use as they roamed Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico. It is a good read if you enjoy history. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That spot was somewhere I visited back in 2012, I'd need to fix my computer so I can get my old gps tracks and see exactly where it was; I recall generally but that wouldn't do my any good to find it again.  AFAIK there hasn't been any ranching in this part of the Mojave, not sure what you could raise in the middle of a desert, but who knows...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...