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No. 89: Sep-Oct 1993

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California's maze stones

Humans have been carving and drawing mazes and building labyrinths from prehistoric times. Primitive peoples laboriously carved cup-and-ring designs; newspapers today print puzzle mazes in the Sunday editions. There is something fascinating, even mystical, about mazes. They are "signs that snare men's minds."

We will never know why the Indians of southern California lavished so much labor etching mazes on hard rock surfaces, D.F. McCarthy, a University of California archeologist, has been studying these California maze stones for over 20 years. He has found over 50 of them so far. Some are over 3,000 years old, he thinks. Most are carved on rocks and boulders. They are just like our modern Sunday-paper mazes, with rectangular passageways, some blind, but always with a devious route leading to the center. Could they symbolize human life, full of potentially wrong turns, but with a Way to enlightenment?

(Hillinger, Charles; "Ancient Carvings of Indians Remain Enigma to Expert," Richmond News Leader, November 11, 1991. Cr. H.C. Nottebart.)

From Science Frontiers #89, SEP-OCT 1993. 1993-2000 William R. Corliss