Counsel Rocks Archaeological site (Mojave National Preserve)

"Womb Rock," one of seven volcanic boulders at the Counsel Rocks Site

“Womb Rock,” one of seven volcanic boulders at the Counsel Rocks Site

 

Counsel Rocks, is located at the base of Wild Horse Mesa, in the Mojave National Preserve. It is comprised of seven large volcanic boulders, each containing petroglyphs and/or pictographs. This site is believed to have been an ancient ceremonial site to the Chemehuevi and Mohave people who once lived upon these lands.

“Womb Rock,” (pictured above) likely played a significant role in the Native people’s ceremonies. The large hollowed out boulder contains two natural rock windows, the window facing east/west, you are able to observe the spring equinox; the sun directly penetrates through the window. In Chemehuevi mythology, there is the story of the Lone Woman in the Cave, on the spring equinox, she is penetrated by the sun. When this happens, it was believed that it would bring a fertile spring. 

The interior of “Womb Rock” has numerous petroglyph designs, the most significant are those that continue to tell the fertility tale of the Lone Woman of the Cave. Directly below the window rock, where the rays of the sun would penetrate during the spring equinox are designs that are believed to represent a penis, vagina, and a flower (see above image).

 

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The inside of this boulder is hollowed out. You are able to crawl through the hole in the bottom, and nearly stand up inside. The inside is decorated with red, white, and black pictographs.

 

The other boulders at Counsel Rocks have many additional pictograph and petroglyph panels. Some have very small designs, and others an extensive collection.  The boulder pictured above is hollow on this inside, once you crawl through the naturally carved doorway, there is a room full of pictographs; painted in red, black and white. Many are clearly visible, while others have faded to the point that you have to utilize a special software when processing your images to be able to see the full-scale of what is hidden, from the years of weathering.

 

This is an unenhanced image of just a small portion of what if located under the wind carved boulder, in the picture above.

This is an unenhanced image of just a small portion of what if located under the wind carved boulder, in the picture above.

 

Enhanced view of the image above.

Enhanced view of the image above.

 

It isn’t clear how long ago this site was in use, nor for how long it was used by the Native people. What is clear is that it played an important part in a ritual that was very important to these people; so much so that there are additional sites scattered throughout their territory dedicated to this same belief/myth.

The image gallery below contains both enhanced and unenhanced images. The enhanced images have been created using the DStretch software.

 

Interested in visiting this site?

GUIDE SERVICE OPTION: Jim’s Guide Service may be the right choice for you. Jim can provide you with a single day to multiday rock art tours throughout the Mojave Desert.  Visit the guide website for more details.

BOOK OPTION: Counsel Rocks Archaeological site is featured in Secret Places in the Mojave Desert Vol. IV. Detailed maps, and GPS coordinates are included.  Order your copy now.

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

  • Mary Sojourner

    I would guess that this area is still sacred to the Chemehuevi. By the way, two books will be on their way to you this coming week. m