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What Is The Meaning Of This Petroglyph Of A Ship In The Californian Desert?

The Native American petroglyph below shows quite clearly a single-mast ship with a striped square-rigged sail and oars not unlike how Viking ships of old are typically depicted. The petroglyph is located in California, several hundred miles inland from the Pacific Ocean in a place called Pinto Canyon.

image credit: Science Channel 

Pinto Canyon is south of the Anza-Borrego Desert near the U.S. Mexican border just west of the city of El Centro (between the small towns of Jacumba and Ocotillo.The drawing is most certainly not a multi-sail Spanish galleon and no known Native American culture, at least in the desert southwest area, used any sort of sailing vessel with oars.via(the-wanderling)

How or why the petroglyph artist would be inspired to draw a square-rigged sailing ship — with oars yet and striped sails — so many miles inland UNLESS he saw one is a mystery. It should be noted however, that the Pinto Canyon area lays not far from the historical southern boundries of the ancient Lake Cahuilla as dipicted in the above animated graphic.


Everybody has heard of the “Lost Pearl Ship” of Capt Juan Iturbide. Even more amazing is the lesser known story regarding the finding of what appeared to be a Viking Longboat in the Coyote Mountains just Southwest of Palm Springs, Ca.