I’ve previously told you about the “Kingdom of Zion” Cult Compound, but I had yet to make mention of the petroglyphs, and Native American village site that sits between a quarter/half mile from the compound. My reasons for not including them in the same article is because they don’t have anything to do with one another, other than in nickname. To be quite honest, the old Native American site got the short end of the stick, now being associated by name to the kooky cult people. Out of respect for the site, I will refer to it by its identification number, RIV-1383.
RIV-1383 is situated along the mouth of a north flowing canyon in the Chuckwalla Mountains, just miles from the settlement of Desert Center. The ancient village site is comprised of scattered petroglyph panels, many of which contain small designs on rhyolite stones and boulders over an area of roughly one square mile. Several cleared circle patterns, and stone circles make up areas where the village site itself was likely situated.
These cleared circles and stone circles are often referred to as “sleeping circles”, and are often thought to have been sleeping quarters. There is some controversy to this theory, and some archeologist now believe that some “sleeping circles” may very well be geoglyphs. Whether that be the case with RIV-1383, I don’t know. Nevertheless they are an interesting sight to see, and definitely give you more questions than answers.
In addition to the petroglyphs and “sleeping circles”, there is also an extensive quarry, used to procure stone tools. The quarry was off of my radar, and I wasn’t aware of it at the time of my visit. It wasn’t until I began to research the site, that I found out about it. Archeologist have documented over 50 work stations in association with the quarry. These work stations are essentially where the rock was worked into points, and hand tools.
The Native people who once inhabited RIV-1383, are very likely the same as those at inhabited nearby, Corn Springs. Located along the eastern border of the Desert Cahuilla, and the western boundary of the Colorado River based Yuman people – it could have been either, or both. It is also probable that the Chemehuevi had utilized this village for a period.
Unfortunately the site has lost much of its scenic beauty due to the Southern California Edison, Devers-Palo Verde 500-kV transmission line, which runs directly through the cultural site, and placed a utility tower directly on top of the main quarry site. It is unclear why the BLM permitted such a blight to be placed on two sites which are listed on the National Historic Register.