Swansea is a petroglyph site in Mojave North, California. The site’s exact location has been mostly kept secret due to the extreme vandalism that the site has suffered since the early 80s.It contains engravings of rayed circles and suns, spirals, and other patterns marking the equinoxes, and summer solstice. The engravings on site are estimated to be between 2000 – 3000 years old. The site has been likened to the Fajada Butte at Chaco canyon (New Mexico).
Dr. Barry Fell (1917-1994), a professor of invertebrate zoology at Harvard University, was a widely acclaimed figure in demonstrating, through his research of inscriptions, that the pre-Columbian Americas had been visited and influenced by other Old World cultures, particularly those of European origin. In his controversial-for-its-time book America B.C. (published in 1976) he presented substantial evidence as such, and his work was arguably the first of its kind to tackle and examine this evidence at length.
In 1979 Dr. Fell published a book called Saga America, in which he detailed a decoded Arabic inscription at the Swansea petroglyph site in California, translating to say:
“When the Ram and the Sun are in conjunction, then celebrate the New Year”.
Based on his findings he believed the site to be solar-aligned. His research was widely rejected simply based on the assertion that Arabic inscriptions should not have been detected from that period in antiquity in the Americas, dismissing the irrefutable fact that there they were carved in stone.
Some took an interest in the subject and within six years carvings had been found on site with references to the sun, as well as to the equinoxes, thereby validating his assertion. A marker was found for the vernal equinox, and later markers were located for the whole solar year.
Equinox Alignments at Swansea Petroglyphs
The primary equinox markers on site are six vertical bars pecked into the rock that predict the time of equinox with the accuracy of few hours.Another very interesting feature of the site is a Light Serpent heliolithic animation that occurs in the morning of the spring equinox, where an image of a snake with open mouth, made of sunlight, slowly proceeds towards a spiral petroglyph and starts “eating” its inner ring, also referred to as “an egg”.
This discovery was observed by Mr. Vincent Yoder, who at first noticed a set of circles carved into the stone. He then described how an intelligently crafted pointer shadow entered the circle. After studying this petroglyph further, an interesting equinox scene emerged.
During the process, the “Light Serpent” expands, until it fully merges with the other illuminated part of the site — the sun (or the symbolic “egg”). The illuminated parts in the circle perfectly align with the top and bottom of the carved rings, leaving the rest in shadow. This heliolithic presentation begins shortly after sunrise and lasts about an hour and comes to an end when the circle is entirely devoured and light envelopes the whole display.
You can see a simplified diagram of this on the top right of this section (note in the original petroglyph, the serpent is entirely made up of light, illuminated with sunlight to form its shape from the shadows), and see the fascinating original documentation of this solar event depiction from The Equinox Project here.
Correlation to Other Ancient Sites
Serpents are a common symbolic motif in many ancient sacred sites around the world, particularly ones aligned to the equinox.For instance, one of the most common sites that comes to mind is the Kukulcán pyramid at Chichen Itza in Mexico, where a light effect creates an “animation” of a serpent descending down the pyramid.
Several ancient serpent mounds around the world depict a serpent swallowing an egg.
Serpent Mound in Ohio for instance, is a giant earthwork shaped like a serpent with an oval in its mouth (aligned with summer solstice).
Could the Swansea Light Serpent petroglyph be a mini testament to the same?
The site contains many more petroglyphs, the meaning of which remains unknown, including several star-like glyphs, winged arch-shaped carvings or even ancient zodiac carvings. In his book Secrets of Ancient America, Carl Lehrburger shared the following about his explorations of the site:
“I was also to learn that at Mojave North there was nothing simple about any one petroglyph, alignment, or even a grinding hole. What appears as a basic petroglyph image often turns out to be complex and multidimensional, requiring astronomical knowledge to fully grasp the meaning or meanings. For example, there are at least thirteen sun or star symbols at the site, and many are known to be associated with archaeoastronomical events, but all of them are very different in form and function.
Unfortunately much of the rock art in this area has been destroyed by human activity.
The video below shows some of these glyphs and gives you a sense of the area (though unfortunately it did not capture the ones mentioned above):Interestingly, the site is located relatively close to Spook Canyon (a very narrow slot canyon), the area where a petroglyph has been found depicting the rays of the sky father Sun entering the womb-like labyrinth of the Earth Mother.
Judging by the presence of so many solar aligned petroglyphs and depictions of the cycle of the year, it appears the ancient culture of the sun has had a strong presence in these regions in bygone days, demurely leaving only an enigmatic trace of the vast spiritual history of the Americas now largely unknown to us — one that can be explored by reconnecting with the solstices and equinoxes.
Article written and researched by Lucia Beznik and Jenny Belikov
Carl Lehrburger. Secrets of Ancient America