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Mojave Desert Petroglyphs at Howe's Tank

Petroglyph Photographs at Howe's Tank, near Barstow, California.  Click on any photo to enlarge.
 
The Howe's Tank petroglyph site is located in the Rodman Mountain lava flow about 30 miles east of Barstow. This area is composed of low rolling lava hills cut by washes leaving exposed outcrops of black volcanic basalt. The tank is at the center of  two 20 foot tall by 30-80 yard long lava walls joined at an approximate 100 angle. The tank itself is about 20' x 30' x 8' deep and was formed by water runoff spilling down the face of the lava wall, digging out the sand to create a tank-like depression, and then overflowing to create a small drainage channel once the tank was full.

Howe's Tank is part of an east-west trade route connecting the Colorado River people with the people living along the Pacific Coast, and because water could be found there at certain times of the year, this site was an important stop over. Cleared sleeping circles in the vicinity indicates temporary visitation, and multiple 8' diameter rock circles near the Tank may indicate more substantial village activity.  Next 12 photos.

Howe's Tank, view to the west four legged insectform? located near a small rock shelter in the village area
most of the petroglyphs at Howe's Tank are abstract and geometric, few quadrupeds were noted several dot filled, outlined, petroglyphs that may represent stars are found at Howe's Tank. This one has concentric lines.
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sun bursts or star bursts and snakes most of the petroglyphs are above the high water mark of the Tank
dot design petroglyph with large 'dot' on top net design similar to designs found along the Colorado River may indicate Mohave influence
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if bisected circles represent atlatls, this petroglyph would be at least 2000 years old
the natural crevice in the rock was incorporated into the petroglyph, notice how the pecked line circles the margin of the crevice most of the petroglyphs are carved into the vertical walls, but some are carved into boulders on the ground


atlatls... or 'throwing sticks' are 18" long pieces of flat wood that functioned as an extra arm segment and were used to propel a four foot long stone tipped dart. A hook at the top represents the notch that held the feathered end of the dart and finger grips are sometimes depicted at the opposite end. The disk in the center represents a weight attached to the atlatl to add mass for increased thrust. In this area atlatls were replaced by the bow & arrow between 200 BC-AD 500.

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