Swansea Petroglyphs

Trek Date: October 10, 2015

It was the last exploration day of my epic 2015 Roadtrip. Many miles had been hiked, many more had been driven, a multitude of unhealthy but delicious meals had been eaten. And I still had the entire day to see what I could find.

I'd heard about the Petroglyphs at Swansea from several sources and was confident I could locate them. They are located along what was once the bank of the Owens Lake, many years ago. How hard could it be? Advance research almost always pays dividends. Parking Tacoma Red off the side of the road, my Garmin and I set out to see the sights. 

One of the most interesting things about the Swansea Petroglyphs is the material they were created on. Marble. Which is a much harder rock than what most petroglyphs are found on. It must have taken a lot of time and energy to create the images I was about to find.

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is climbing up things than climbing back down? I probably should have looked for an easier route, but I enjoy a challenge every now and again.

Another thing of interest about these petroglyphs is a bit of controversy about when and by who they were created. Some researchers claim there are Christian and European symbols among the petroglyphs. Some believe there are petroglyphs here that date back over 2,000 years. Others strongly disagree. Could that be a representation of a horse on the right side of the boulder above? If so, that opens up another discussion regarding horse origins in North America, which I know nothing about.

Could that be a cross, or is it just a random geometric pattern? I doubt we will ever know, but it makes for a lively discussion in the right company.

There are those who claim that the Swansea site holds petroglyphs that create a solar calendrical observatory, with spirals, rayed circles and other patterns that mark significant times of the year, such as the summer solstice. Could this pattern above be part of such an observatory? Could it predict the actual time of an equinox within a few hours. I don't know, but it's possible.

A girl walking on water? A snake sneaking up on its dinner?

At least this subject leaves no doubt as to what it is. I named him Wolfgang.

This one definitely appears to be the sun, the rays kind of give it away. It was also one of the most deeply etched examples that I was able to discover here. Perhaps it had a special significance to whoever created it.

This panel was my favorite of the day. Several big horn sheep, what appears to be a hunter below them, a snake off to the side and numerous other figures and shapes. I'm sure it told a story. Maybe of an extremely successful hunt and the dangers that were faced. 

After digitally capturing as many of the petroglyphs as I could find, I scrambled my way back down the rocky slopes to desert firma. I had thoroughly enjoyed this exploration, as it was the most extensive petroglyph site I've discovered to date.  Even though I'll never know the story of who created these designs, or why or when, I'm happy to have been able to see them in person. 

Desert cab.

Hey, feel free to download any of my images if you'd like to use them as wallpaper or in a project you're working on. Credit back to Cali49.com would be nice, but it's not required.