Geoglyphs: Mysterious Marree Man

Geoglyphs are earth drawings that have fascinated people since the dawn of time. Discovered in 1998, the Marree Man of South Australia’s Far North remains an enigma. Like the Nazca lines and English hill figures, the Marree Man is considered a geoglyph—literally, earth drawing—and is the largest of its kind at 4.2km in height. It’s big enough be be viewed by satellite.

Following its discovery by air, a number of anonymous press releases appeared with descriptions of the Marree Man’s stature quoted in non-metric units (miles, yards, inches), leading some to believe that its creators were from the United States while others suspected that the press releases were part of a disinformation campaign. Another suspect was local artist Bardius Goldberg, who passed away in 2002 without confirming whether or not he was involved in Marree Man’s creation. So far, no one has stepped forward to claim credit for the earthwork.

Marree Man
Marree Man geoglyph courtesy of

Oddly, a few items have been recovered from the site, including a jar containing the US flag, satellite photo of the figure and a note referencing the Branch Davidians (a 1990s U.S. cult). Later, an anonymous fax tipped off officials who recovered a plaque from the site which stated, “In honour of the land they once knew. His attainments in these pursuits are extraordinary; a constant source of wonderment and admiration.” The quote is from a book containing information about local Aboriginal tribesman which the drawing is said to depict.

Once a tourist attraction, the Marree Man began fading from sight due to erosion. However, in August of 2016, local business owners organized a recovery effort. They found approximately 250 bamboo stakes spaced around 10 meters apart that were used by the original creator to plot the outline. The Marree Man is now once again visible, yet the mystery of its original creator remains.

Geoglyphs like Marree Man are earth drawings
Geoglyphs continue to fascinate us. Learn more about the mysterious Marree Man’s creator.

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