Intaglios, or gigantic human, animal, and geometric figures drawn on the ground's surface are known throughout the American Southwest, South America, and New Caledonia.
While the best-known intaglios in the world are the Nazca Lines in Peru, there are over 300 intaglios in the American Southwest and adjacent regions of Mexico. The best known of the American intaglios are the Blythe Intaglios, located west of the Colorado River about 15 miles north of Blythe, California, and situated on two low mesas or terraces. The figures are believed to have been made by the Mohave and Quechan Indians, are somewhere between 450 and 2,000 years old, and represent Mastamho, the creator of life. The palette of these "drawings" is the earth itself; the artists scraped the dark rock of the desert ground to expose the lighter soil underneath.
With the largest human figure coming in at 171 feet (52 m) long, they are difficult to see from ground level and are best viewed from a helicopter. In fact, the figures are so difficult to see from ground level that it wasn't until 1932, when a pilot happened to look down and notice them, that they were rediscovered by modern society, all of which leads to the question: if the intaglios can only be seen from the air, how did the the Mohave and Quechan Indians see them?