Times of origin and meaning of these giant figures, the largest 167 feet long, smallest 95 feet, remains a mystery. There are three figures, two of animals and a coiled serpent, and some interesting lines.Blythe IntagliosIn 1931, George Palmer, a local pilot, discovered these huge figures outstretched across the desert pavement on the terraces above the Colorado River near Blythe, California. Archaeologists call these kinds of earth figures "geoglyphs" or "intaglios". Geoglyphs can be found in three forms: one is where designs or features are created by aligning stones together; another method involves the scraping away of the desert pavement gravels exposing the lighter colored sands to create the designs or features; and finally the designs or features are tamped into the desert pavement forming an indented image. The "Blythe Intaglios" were created by scraping away the desert pavement.
Archaeologists cannot be certain how old the geoglyphs are, since dating techniques have not been developed to date these type of features. According to Native Americal oral histories, the human figures may represent the Creator, while the animal figures may represent mountain lions who helped in the Creation.
Many questions still arise after observing these figures on the ground. What do they represent? Why were they put here? Who created them? When were they done? What do you think?
[Panel #2]Human FigureThis human figure is oriented north-south with its head pointing toward the south. Its arms are outstretched and its feet point outward. This figure most likely represents a male; it is the only one of the "Blythe Intaglios" that appears to have originally been created with a phallus between its legs. The figure measures 102.0 feet from head to tow, and its arms span a distance of 64.9 feet. Its left leg is pronouncely flexed. It lacks defined knees, but does have clearly defined elbows. There are no visible fingers or toes.
Original photos revealed a circular path that measured 131.2 feet in diameter enclosing the upper half of the figure, crossing the middle of the legs. All that remains of the circular path is the section that is enclosed by the fence.
Was the figure created to pay respect to the Creator?
[Panel #3]Human FigureThis human figure is oriented north-south with its head pointing toward the south. Its arms are outstretched and its feet point outward. It measures 105.6 feet from head to tow. The torso combined with the arm span are 91.8 feet wide. It has visible knees and elbows. Earlier drawings indicated fingers and toes and several lines coming out from the head. Could they represent strands of hair atop the head? Today these subtle parts of the figure are diffcult to discern. This figure is one of the least disturbed of the group.
Is this a figure of the Creator?
[Panel #4]Animal and Spiral FiguresNative American oral histories mention mythological characters that may be represented in the figures you see here. Their stories mention the mountain lion who changes into a person and helps the Creator with the earth. Some non-Native Americans believe the figure represents a horse, which would date the site to post Spanish visitation of the area.
The animal figure is oriented northwest-southwest with its head pointing toward the northwest. It measures 54.1 feet from head to tail and its body is 7.5 fee wide. Its legs measure 26.2 feet long and at the end of each leg is a small half circle, interpreted to possibly represent a paw or a hoof.
Below the animal figure is an elabotate spiral figure. It measures 23.0 feet in length and is oriented northwest-southwest and has a maximm width of 8.8 feet. One interpretation is that the figure represents a coiled snake.
Is the mountain lion battling a snake?
Cultural Resources are protected under the 1906 Antiquities Act and the 1979 Archaeological Resources Protection Act.