OVRO Concrete Relics

Although the surrounding area is very inhospitable, the former site of the millimeter array at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory has been found to host numerous concrete relics, potentially of great archaeological importance. Given the move of the array to a new high site, the status of these treasures is unknown. An inspection of the new hight site has yet to be undertaken. An expedition is prepared to travel to this remote location as soon as funds are found to fully support such an undertaking. At least several cases of beer will be needed to complete this arduous task.

Nestled in a high desert valley lies the Owens Valley Radio Observatory.

The millimeter array (located to the right in the image above) has numerous mysterious hieroglyphs etched into the concrete foundations.

Nearby, a mysterious figure, perhaps a turtle, stands in stark contrast with the nearby desert environment. The origin of this figure is unknown. Carbon dating indicates a very recent origin, but turtle iconography is known in native american cultures from ancient times, though normally when larger bodies of water are located nearby. It could be representative of the telescope's innate steadfast spirit, maintaining cryogenic temperatures in one of the harshest desert climates in the continental United States. The exact species of turtle is unknown, but aquatic turtles are unknown in the Death Valley region. It does not appear to be a desert tortoise. Perhaps this indicates that the creators of the figurine are not from the local region, but carried their turtle beliefs into the region when they emigrated to the area. Or perhaps the turtle is one of their gods. It is unlikely the figure was made as a joke due to the care and craftsmanship that is evident in its construction.

On the other side of the array, another turtle figure scampers away from the array itself. The meaning of this figue is unknown, but the possibility of an ancient cult of turtle worshippers became a distinct possibility when this figure was discovered. Note that the figure looks distinctly more tortoise-like than the other figure, but the species is not clear.

Another view of this figure displays the intricate craftsmanship the ancient, crusty, dusty, onery ancients used in their concrete work.

Evidence at the site also exists for an early form of Mouse idolatry. The odd structure to the left of the mouse figure is completely foreign to the ancient cultures in the region, but bears a striking resemblence to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's safety symbol.

Although the ancients responsible for this remarkable totem are not thought to have influenced Mr. Walt Disney, the striking similarity between this stark mouse figure and the beloved Mickey Mouse character of Disney fame hint at the source for Mr. Disney's bizarre character. Travel records for the famous cartoon mogul are not easily available, but a receipt from Erik Schat's Bakery (home of the original sheepherder bread) has been found in his personal diary, indicating he at least traveled to the Owens Valley at some time in the past.

This author, while attempting to do a comprehensive survey of the region, managed to overlook two figures. An alert concrete idol enthusiast working at the site forwarded me pictures of two additional figures.

The first is reminiscent of an ancient roman statue or even a sculpture by Michaelangelo. Seemingly the partial figure of a woman, hints of mermaid-like qualities can be seen where normally the thighs would be found. Rumors that the region was once long ago under water leads this researcher to question whether or not we are scraping the surface of the true Atlantis. More likely, this work represents the longings of a passionate artist seeking solace in an aquatic beauty from the sea in a harsh, barren land of dust, heat and wind.

The second is a large impression of a hand of immense size. If this is the hand of the artist, we cannot say, but the large size and striking strength of the fingers leads me to believe that we are indeed seeing the signature of the ancient artist in this piece. However, hand images have been used throughout the southwest in petroglyphic memorializations of extreme events, such as the 1054 supernova petroglyph at Chaco Canyon National Historical Park. However, the artist did not do a good job of indicating the date of the casting, although concrete was not a common building material in 1054, I guess.

Research into these mysterious concrete figures is ongoing. If you have information regarding these figures or other odd concrete structures or etchings, please let me know.

Kevin B. Marvel marvel@aas.org