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Hohokam Rock Art





On top of South Mountain, just to the west of where the Mormon Loop and Mormon Trail’s meet is Two Peaks. Behind the most western of the Two Peaks is a petrglyoph left by the Hohokam people over 600 years ago. It is clearly a solstice maker, but I also believe it to be a map of the sky. Not only does it mark time (are calendars not maps of time anyway) but it also marks place.


At sunrise on the Summer Equinox the line that runs parallel to the ground ends at the exact place that the sun rises at sunrise on the Summer Equinox. From that angle it rises along the edge of the most southern of the peaks on Four Peaks.


The number four appears on the petroglyph itself. There are four clear circles. My guess is that they represent the two summer solstices and the two equinoxes.


In addition to the lines and circles other figures are present. Near the top an anthropomorph is connected by a thin line to a four legged animal and a bizarre creature. Near the bottom is another anthropomorph that (to me) looks like a playful monkey. Also present is a spiral that tops a long separate wavy line along the bottom.


As to what it all represents, your guess is as good as mine. I imagine the spiral represents human settlement, signifying that this is a place where civilization emerged. The anthropomorph at the bottom, which its connection to the line and below the sun, signifies what we were before, or perhaps it is anthropomorph in profile, reminding us to sit down and look up.


The creatures at the the top may be gods or represent our aspirations. The thin line that connects the three figures with the sky map, is so thin and wavy, like a life line, that it I imagine its connection to the sky map advises us to keep our connection with the cosmos.


If you want to read more about the Hohokam or the pertroglyphs of South Mountain, I strongly suggest Todd W Bostwick’s book Landscapes of the Spirits: Hohokam Rock Art At South Mountain Park.


Kevin Patterson

Summer 2013