Immigrant Rock Mortar / Blind / Petroglyphs

Newberry Springs is the home of the internationally famous Bagdad Cafe, which serves up overpriced bad food to unsuspecting tourist, and the Newberry Springs Pistachio Festival. Newberry Springs is also the place that April Beth Pitzer went missing from back in 2004, and has remained missing from ever since. You may be asking yourself, why the hell would I ever bother to go to Newberry Springs?  If you fancy yourself a bit of an archeological nerd, you will find interest in the 3,000 year old multicolored cave painting at Newberry Cave, as well as this small, yet interesting site known as Immigrant Rock.

Why the name Immigrant Rock? That I am unsure of. Due to the name I expected to find etchings from early settlers carved into the purple outcropping, but that I did not. What I did find was a single bedrock mortar, indicating that the outcropping was utilized by Native Americans. Because there was only one mortar it is likely that the site wasn’t used for long-term inhabitation, but rather as camp while traveling.

 

Immigrant Rock - A hunting or "look out" blind that has gone terribly wrong.

Immigrant Rock – A hunting or “look out” blind that has gone terribly wrong.

 

Beside the mortar is a blind, built by stacking rocks on top of each other. From the blind one was able to look out over the valley, watching for food, or possibly an intruder. The blind could have been used for hunting, or a wind block, or a combination of both. Today civilization has encroached on this old Indian camp, Highway 40, and all the cars passing by are a stone’s throw away. Transients have taken to the blind, using it for shelter, and adding foreign items like lumber to the archeological treasure.

On the very top of Immigrant Rock there are a couple of small petroglyphs that are disappearing from years of weathering.

It is unclear whether the same people who inhabited Newberry Cave thousands of years ago also used this location. The other possible users could have been the Paiute, Chemehuevi, or Mohave that inhabited the region in the last several hundred years.

 

Immigrant Rock - One of the small, very difficult to make out petroglyphs.

Immigrant Rock – One of the small, very difficult to make out petroglyphs.

 
Secret Places in the Mojave Desert Vol. 7

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.

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