It has been a little over a year and a half since I first wrote about the Terese petroglyph and village site (CA–KER–6188) in the eastern portion of the El Paso Mountain Range. At the time of my first visit, there hadn’t been any documentation of Terese on the internet, with the exception of a passing mention in a couple of scientific papers. Public information, and photographs were nonexistent. I published my original article on Feb., 15th 0f 2013, with what I believe to have been the first public photographs documenting the site. Several other amateur archaeologists, explorers and photographers have since visited Terese, all adding their own interesting perspectives on the site.
Since that initial visit, I have returned to Terese on several occasions, and with each visit I become even more impressed with the site based on its extensive geographical area, and its still nearly untouched state. On these return trips, I have managed to find two additional sites within three-quarters of a mile from what I believe to be the main village site. Both of these sites sit along a north facing wash.
The closest of the two, was likely a small extended camp from the main village, due to its close proximity. It contains several panels of petroglyphs, as well as mortars, metates and manos. There is also the presence of several large stone circles, which would have been used in the construction of wickiups (a type of dwelling made of wooden poles, with brush placed on top of the poles as a covering).
The third site is located on a hill-side, three-quarters of a mile from the village site. It contains a few boulders with petroglyphs on them, but no signs of habitation. These isolated designs could have been intended as direction information, or held a spiritual purpose.
Back at the main village site, there are a documented eighty-six petroglyph panels, many of which can contain up to a dozen or more designs. Stone circles, the only remaining testimony of the wickiup dwellings, sporadically cover an area of roughly 900 feet by 600 feet. In close proximity to the stone circles, there is evidence of ancient kitchens, in the form of both mortars and metates. Pottery sherds, and the flint-knapped remains (also known as lithic scatter) of arrowheads and spear points can be found littering the harsh landscape.
The discovery of Terese was only in the last twenty-five years, but an amazing discovery it was. Previous to Terese, it was thought that the “Coso People,” hadn’t inhabited areas this far south; with their main area of occupation being in the Cosos Mountain Range, some thirty miles north of Terese. The stylized “boat-shaped” sheep petroglyphs found at Terese told a different story, and Terese has become known as the most southern village of the “Coso People.” My friend; archaeologist, and expert on the “Coso People,” Dr. Alan Garfinkel Gold has dated the Terese site to between AD 1 and AD 1000, based on radiocarbon dating.
It is also very likely that Terese was occupied by other groups of Native people, during different periods of time. The Kawaiisu were known to inhabit the El Paso Mountains, and there are at least two Kawaiisu petroglyph sites within three miles of Terese. Many of the petroglyphs at Terese match those of the Great Basin curvilinear style, that the Kawaiisu is known for.
The El Paso Mountains, and all the Native American sites contained within its rugged, basalt covered landscape are an amazing testimony of the people who came here before us. If you find Terese or any of the other prehistoric or even historic sites, respect them. Leave them as you found them, and take only photographs.