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Inyo’s History before Enlightenment
Inyo, Swansea, Iny-272 and Number 41 all describe the exact same place. We call it Inyo, because this is what the name Inyo describes, a dwelling place of a Great Spirit. The very name directs attention to its serious religious roots. The name came from a Native American.
Inyo has been casually explored and researched by archaeologists. In 1929, Julian Steward visited followed in 1931 by C.P. Baldwin. In 1962, J. C.von Werlhof briefly visited the location. To a man they applied a concept that Inyo was typical of "Great Basin" style petroglyphs.
Sadly, Inyo suffered much destruction during this time. All the professional archaeologists saw the damage done by nearby quarrying activity. Baldwin chose to address the issue in his writings, Stewart did not, nor did von Werlhof. Sometime in the mid 1950's a contractor for a Federal road construction project blew off the cliff face and crushed it for road fill. What was lost there will never be known. It was never properly recorded. The entire location has never been properly recorded.
The work of these individuals was published amass in the book "Prehistoric Rock Art of Nevada and Eastern California" by Dr. Robert Heizer and Dr. Martin Baumhoff. For INY-272, it was assumed the location was related to "sheep hunting" or "sheep hunting magic." A Harvard scholar named Dr.`Barry Fell, an expert in foreign languages and petroglyph study, saw the presentation in a different light. His recognitions ushered in a new era of understanding. Dr. Fell was not an archaeologist. He was an a linguist and an epigrapher.
Inyo’s History after Enlightenment
Dr. Fell published a popular book called "Saga America." In it, Inyo is mentioned several times. First was something Fell called the "Inyo Zodiac." Then an inscription he read to be archaic Arabic, "When the ram and sun are in conjunction, then celebrate the festival of the New Year (Easter?)." Finally he noted an inscription he read as a Christian symbol for Easter. The Zodiac has proven a problem because it can not be located, but Arab scholars validated the Arabic and the inscription may be seen today. As a group without exception, the archaeologists scoffed and rebuked Fell in no uncertain terms. However, a dedicated group of epigraphers began a study that has revealed far more than ever expected. Inyo was anything BUT typical. Dr. Fell was right after all.
Dr. Alan Gillespie and Dr. Jon Polansky started searching for a heliolithic (sun and stone) marker that would note the equinox. They had previous experience with solar archaeoastronomical observatories and put their skills to work. They were successful. They found a device that noted the evening of the equinox. Returning again and again, they found another device that noted the summer solstice and two devices that appear to note cross quarter dates. Anne and Vince Yoder found yet another device that noted the equinox, this time it was the mornining of the event. Earl Wilson and Roderick Schmidt found a display that marks the winter solstice. The solar year was fully accounted for. Then it was recognized that the Yoder discovery was an ancient animation, timed to take place on the morning of the equinox. This feature alone is just cause for the efforts we undertake, but there is much, much more.
Other investigators added their skills to the inquiry. Mrs. Gloria Farley found an image of a multi-masted ship and Tanith figure. Donal Buchanan found and translated an inscription he called an "Eye of Bel (Baal)." Burrell Dawson identified a prayer to the Chief Celtic Deity, Lugh, inscribed on a well-worn natural bowl used for grinding. Roderick Schmidt found and identified a nearly foot tall anthropomorph as an image representing Lugh. Inyo is archive for numerous ancient religious symbols and icons, both Native American and obviously foreign. The location has yet to be fully recorded.
Inyo has suffered much in its three thousand years of existence. Regrettably, most damage has taken place in very recent times. Nature and the environment has not been particularly kind, either. We know of at least one suspected heliolithic device that was damaged during a winter freeze.
It is the casual damage caused by the hand of the ignorant that Inyo has suffered most. Quarrying activity that should never have been allowed has caused an awful lot of damage and destruction. Yet, the most dastardly is theft or the damage caused by attempts at theft. Several beautiful sunsymbols and spirals will forever bear the scars. Scratching of initials or other graffiti is obnoxious and all too common. No one seems to heed the fact that this observatory is a relic of a purer past and an artifact of humanity.
A Predictable Future
The legal stewards of Inyo are The Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Bishop Office. They are severely hampered by the fact that that their resident archaeologist is of the opinion that Inyo is relatively modern and not special in any regard. We know better. Besides science, there is a viable logic and applicable historical and pre-historical perspective that demonstrates Inyo is unique and worthy of serious protections. It is an artifact that is a monument to a politically unrecognized world culture. Inyo is proof that the Native Americans were a part of that culture.
Inyo is remarkably vulnerable. It sits close to a major desert artery. No signs announce its presence, nor do any warn visitors not to harm the artifact. Visitors, whether honest researchers or destructive thieves, have twenty-four hour unescorted access. Predictably, as populations grow and information is shared, Inyo will suffer more unnecessary damage. This does not have to be. We have a plan.
There is obtainable private property nearby. Setting up a research station and repository of research material could and would serve as a guard post as well. Modern methods of electronic surveillance could warn of visitors and allow an escort to be deployed to serve as silent witness and guide. Destructive behavior could be warned against or in a worst case scenario, the authorities summoned. In a better scenario, the guide could be an interpretive. None of this comes cheap. Nor can we count on any sort of government support. Our support must come from people like you.
© 2008The Equinox Project, All Rights Reserved. Compiled from the
contents of The Dawson Library
Created for and maintained by The Equinox Project Please email any comments, questions or suggestions to:
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Last Modified January 2010