The last pictograph on public land; in the city of Chatsworth?

Chatsworth, is a city of some odd 42,000 people in the northwestern San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. For 8,000 years prior to the arrival of the Spanish, and later the white man, this area was inhabited by the Tongva-Fernandeño, Chumash-Venturaño, and Tataviam-Fernandeño tribes.  The Village of Momonga was situated here, and was one of few multilingual and multiracial settlements of the time. Members of the three tribes lived amongst each other, and even intermarried.

The Village of Momonga was well-known for their Winter Solstice celebration, drawing tribes from as far away as Temecula. One of the best preserved “rock art” sites in the United States is the Burro Flats Cave at Rocketdyne, just a few miles west of Chatsworth in the Simi Hills. The Burro Flats Cave site is one of these celebrated winter solstice sites, created by the shamans of the Village of Momonga. Other such sites exist as well, however they too are on private property.

There is however one pictograph that remains on public land, and is within the city limits. It is a very simple design, depicting an anthropomorphic (human) figure. The figure is roughly a foot and a half long, and painted with orange ochre, a natural earth pigment containing hydrated iron oxide. The location of said “glyph” is in such close proximity to civilization that it is under constant threat from vandalism and urban sprawl. If you happen to find it, please respect it. Do not touch it, only look and take photographs. It is amazing that it has managed to survive for hundreds to possibly thousands of years.


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.