Jemez River drainage, New Mexico

To the aerial observer, the contrast between these dark volcanic stones and the lighter ground beneath catches the eye, and their geometric arrangements are a dead giveaway to human activity.

At the foot of the Jemez Caldera in central New Mexico, an ancient volcanic crater of immense size, there are several square miles of these mysterious rock designs decorating the sandy desert hills. Archaeologists believe that some prehistoric people, as yet unidentified, were dry-farming these slopes, but cannot say what the rows of volcanic stones were for, except that they may have been some sort of water control feature. They remind me of the painted designs on fragments of the ancient pottery found in the area.

To get an idea of the scale, see the photo showing a person standing near desert trees of this type in "The Secret of Aerial Archaeology" elsewhere on this website.

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