New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment and one of its more perplexing attractions is the Three Rivers Petroglyphs site that has been traced to the obscure Mogollon culture. Experts are divided about when the Mogollon people arrived in the Southwest, with theories placing them in the region from 2-to-11,000 years ago, some saying they migrated north from Mexico. What is agreed is that their culture – pottery, symbols, villages – flourished from 200 AD until the 1500s.
At the Three Rivers site, in the desert near Tularosa, New Mexico, you can see hundreds of petroglyphs scraped into rocks that are scattered over a 10-mile area.
Goggled-eyed beings and animals with horns are found frequently, along with images of birds, reptiles, and masks.
These circular designs made up of a series of dots are seen around the petroglyph site. Some experts hypothesize that they represent a census of local families.
Another theory pertains to these maze drawings and proposes that it represents the migration of the Mogollon people.
One fact is certain: the Mogollon people migrated throughout the Southwest. In the Gila National Forest, 50 miles to the west, you can visit the cave dwellings where members of the group lived for one generation starting in 1275 AD. Their culture disappeared shortly thereafter and the Southwest Apache peoples moved in. To date, 46 rooms have been excavated in the cliffside dwellings.
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