Hunter-Gatherer Landscape - California

Features January 1, 2011

Construction of vast solar farms in the deserts of southeastern California is threatening to permanently erase prehistoric Native American sites.
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Men study giant figure scratched into surface of desert mesa. (Richard Hewitt Stewart/National Geographic Society)

Construction of vast solar farms in the deserts of southeastern California is threatening to permanently erase prehistoric Native American sites. Critics charge that while the need for new sources of renewable energy is a clear national priority, the rush to build solar infrastructure in order to qualify for tax breaks has led to inadequate archaeological testing and evaluation of sites in the way of planned solar arrays. The region's famous Blythe Geoglyphs, still a destination for Native American pilgrims, will not be directly affected by the development, but the rich archaeological landscape of which they are a part will be altered forever.

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