See Rock Art!

There are only a handful of rock art sites in the Eastern United States that have been developed for education and public access. Before visiting these sites, please read the ESRARA Ethics Page. Take only photographs and leave only footprints. If you are intent on planning a responsible field trip, this page is a great place to start. Here you will find descriptions, access, restrictions, facilities, and contact information for twenty-one sites in the East. Most are handicapped accessible and include interpretive information. Sites are organized alphabetically by state. Remember to enjoy rock art sites in a spirit of respectfulness, and connect with the past.

ALABAMA
Colbert County Bluff Shelter, Tennessee Valley Art Center (petroglyphs)
Description: Two large petroglyph boulders have recently been relocated at the TVA Center. The petroglyphs were removed from their original location due to impending destruction by vandals. The museum exhibits the petroglyphs in the western extension. Carvings resemble human footprints, snakes, and cupules. The TVA museum suggests that the petroglyphs may date between 1000 B.C. – A.D. 1500.Access: Open daily, Tues-Sat. Closed holidays. Admission free, donation recommended. Handicapped accessible.

Directions: In Tuscumbia at the TVA Center and adjacent the birthplace of Helen Keller, 511 North Water Street.

For More Information: Contact the Tennessee Valley Art Association, 511 North Water St., P.O. Box 474, Tuscumbia, AL 35674. Phone: (205) 383-0533

 

FLORIDA
Crystal River State Archaeological Park (petroglyphs)
Description: In addition to the museum and prehistoric earthen architecture, the Crystal River State Archaeological Park also contains two large petroglyph boulders. Often referred to as the “stele,” these upright limestone slabs have carved images resembling human forms. Some archaeologists think that the stone was used to mark the change of the seasons. Others have postulated influence from Mesoamerica. The stele may be 2,100 years old. For it was about this time, Indians began to develop a settlement there. In time the Crystal River site became an important ceremonial center which continued in prominence for nearly 1,600 years.Access: Open daily, all year. Admission fee. Handicapped accessible.Directions: From Crystal River town drive northwest on US 19 to the directional sign, then turn west on to a paved road which leads to the museum and visitor center. Inquire about the stele at the visitor center.

For More Information: Contact the Crystal River State Archaeological Park, Route 3, Box 610, Crystal River, FL 32629. Phone: (904) 795-3817.

 

GEORGIA
Forsyth County (petroglyphs)
Description:Visitors to the University of Georgia in Athens will find two petroglyph boulders on the campus grounds. One is located next to the Museum of Art. The other is within an enclosed garden at the School of Law. These petroglyphs were removed from their original locations in the 1960s. The original location of the stones was near Cumming, Forsyth County, Georgia. The petroglyphs are carved on coarse crystalline granite. Design elements include concentric circles, stick figures, and cupules. Archaeologists believe that the petroglyphs were made by ancestors of the Creeks or Cherokees dating back to Late Woodland period (c. AD 1000).Access: Open during regular campus hours. Admission free. Handicapped accessible.Directions: From I-20 east take exit 42 (GA 138 to Conyers). From GA 138 go northeast to US 78 in Monroe. From US 78 go east to GA 316 east. Turn right on GA 316 and head east to GA 10 Loop (Athens Perimeter Bypass). Then exit right on GA 10 Loop South. Continue on GA 10 Loop for 5 miles to College Station Road exit. Exit on College Station Road and turn left. The University of Georgia Visitors Center is past the second traffic light on the right.

For More Information: Contact the University of Georgia, Visitor Information Center, Phone: (706) 542-0842

 

Rock Eagle (geoglyph/stone effigy mound)
Description: Rock Eagle is located in the 4-H Campground, and consists of large numbers of piled quartz which resemble a giant bird . The wings span 120 feet across a flat hilltop, and the height of the piled quartz in the center of the bird is 4 feet. The date of construction of Rock Eagle is not known, but it is believed to be contemporaneous with the earthen effigy mounds built during the Woodland period, 1000 BC-AD 700. Rock Eagle is best viewed from an observatory tower.Access: Open daily, all year. Admission free. Handicapped accessible.Directions: From Eatonton drive 7 miles north on US 441 to Rock Eagle 4-H Campground.

For More Information: Contact the 4-H Center, 350 Rock Eagle Rd., NW, Eatonton, GA 31024

Track Rock Gap Archaeological Area (petroglyphs)
Description: A fifty two acre archaeological preserve, Track Rock Gap, contains four petroglyph boulders. Carvings resemble mammal and bird tracks, human footprints, and a various geometric designs. The petroglyphs have been known about by the Cherokee at least since the 1800s, and incorporated in their sacred beliefs. The site is thought to be of ancient origin.Access: Open daily, all year. Admission free. Short hike.Directions: Take US 129/19 south from Blairsville for 3 miles, turn left on Town Creek Road. In 1 mile, turn left onto Track Rock Gap Road. Look for a large state sign about the Track Rock Gap Archaeological Area on the right side of the road at 3.8 miles.

For More Information: Contact the Brasstown Ranger District at (706) 745-6928, or Georgia Department of Natural Resources, 205 Butler St. SE, Atlanta, GA 30334, phone (404) 536-0541.

ILLINOIS
Millstone Bluff National Register Site (petroglyphs)
Description: Millstone Bluff is an unplowed late Mississippian village (c. AD 1300-1550) located on a steep ridge top in Shawnee National Forest of southern Illinois. A self-guided walkway with interpretive signs leads visitors through the heavily wooded site. House depressions and the remains of the village cemetery are still visible on the site surface. Three sets of petroglyphs are located on rock slabs surrounding the village. The best preserved group of petroglyphs can be seen from a viewing platform. Images in this group resemble those of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, including falcons, horned serpents, cross-in-circles, and plumed bilobed arrows.Access: Open daily, all year. Admission free. A 10 to 15 minute walk up the bluff is steep and strenuous. Benches are located along trail for hikers to rest. This site is not handicapped accessible. Pit-toliet facilities.Directions: Take I-24 to the Vienna/Rt 146 exit. Turn east on Rt. 146 for approximately .25 mile until you reach a golf course parking lot located on the south side of the road. Opposite of the parking lot is Rt 147. Turn north on route 147 and proceed for 12.5 miles, passing through Simpson and crossing Bay Creek. Millstone Bluff is located on the north side of Rt 147 after you cross Bay Creek and the Illinois Central Railroad tracks. Look for a sign on the south side of Rt. 147 that will point you to the parking area at the base of the bluff.

For More Information: Contact Mary McCorvie, Forest Service Archaeologist, 2221 Walnut Street, Murphysboro, IL 62966. Phone: (618) 687-1731.

Piney Creek Ravine National Register (petroglyphs and pictographs)
Description: The state-owned Piney Creek Ravine Nature Preserve in southwestern Illinois contains four prehistoric rock art sites believed to date to the Late Woodland (A.D. 500-1000) and Mississippian (A.D. 1000-1550) periods. All four sites are located within a few minutes walk of each other, including the largest rock art site in the state (Piney Creek) which contains over 200 petroglyphs and pictographs. The Piney Creek Rock Shelter site, although heavily vandalized, contains numerous unique designs including the largest petroglyph in the state – a 1 meter tall very detailed representation of an eared figure that holds spears in its outstretched arms. Documentation of the site by SIU-Carbondale archaeologists revealed that a number of small paintings survive beneath the graffiti that covers the back of the shelter including a canoe, deer, large bird, and a horned figure with upraised arms. The three smaller sites in the ravine are completely unvandalized and contain petroglyphs of small anthropomorphs, winged figures, animals, as well as faded human hand paintings at one site. Visiting the ravine will easily take a half day or longer.Access: Open daily, daylight hours only, all year. Admission free. Visitors are not permitted in the ravine after dark. Reaching the rock art sites involves a 20 minute walk over a trail with steep sections that may be too strenuous for older hikers. A small creek has to be crossed at the bottom of the ravine to reach three of the sites including the Piney Creek site. If it has been raining, the creek may be up and the sites cannot be reached without wading though the creek. This site is not handicap accessible and has no toilet facilities.

Directions: Directions: This site is located on the Randolph-Jackson County lines in southwestern Illinois. From Exit 54 (Marion) at Interstate 57 and Illinois 13, drive west on Illinois 13 for 22 miles through Carbondale to the intersection with West Illinois 149 (5th Street) in Murphysboro. Turn right at the intersection (still Illinois 13) and drive 6.8 miles to Illinois 4. Turn left on Illinois 4 and drive 14.7 miles to Rock Crusher Road in Campbell Hill. Turn left on Rock Crusher Road and drive 6.7 miles to Piney Creek Road. Turn right on Piney Creek Road and drive 1.7 miles to the parking area and trailhead on the right side of the road. From the trailhead you walk past a gate down a dirt path that ends in a grassy field. On the other side of the field is a marked trail that leads to the petroglyphs.

For More Information: Contact site superintendent Joan Bade, Randolph County State Fish and Wildlife Area, (618) 826-2706. Groups of 25 or more must register with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.

MASSACHUSETTS
Dighton Rock State Park (petroglyphs)
Description: Beginning with the published sermon of Cotton Mather of 1690, Dighton Rock became the discussion and controversy. Numerous theories have been advanced to explain the curious carvings on the stone which was originally located on the Taunton River. One theory suggests that Dighton Rock bears the inscriptions of early European explorers such as Miguel Corereal, 1511. Others are convinced that the stone has much older Native American carvings that resemble the art of Algonquin-speaking groups in the area. The rock was relocated in 1963, and is presently exhibited within the museum. A number of theories are presented on interpretive panels at the park’s museum, but you will have to judge for yourself which one best explains the antiquity of the stone.Access: Open daily, all year. Admission free. Handicapped accessible.

Directions: From Fall River, drive north on MA 24, take Main Street exit at Asonet, and follow directional signs to the park.

For More Information: Contact the Department of Environmental Management, 100 Cambridge St., Boston, MA 02202. Phone: (508) 822-7537.

MICHIGAN
Sanilac Petroglyphs State Park
Description: The Sanilacsite was preserved and developed by the Michigan Archaeological Society. The petroglyphs are on a flat sandstone outcrop, and includes imagery that resemble animals, humans, tracks, and complex geometric designs. The age and cultural affiliation is unknown, but archaeologists suspect that the carvings were made by the ancestors of Algonquin-speaking groups in the area during the late prehistoric period.Access: The Sanilac Petroglyphs site is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11:30am-4:30 pm, May 28 through Labor Day. Allow 45 minutes for the petroglyph interpretive program and one hour for the nature trail hike. A pit toilet is available at this rustic location. Limited handicapped accessibility. School groups may tour the site on weekdays in May. Call for a reservation. Admission free.Directions: The Sanilac Petroglyphs site is located south of Bad Axe. Take M-53 to Bay City-Forestville Road, then proceed east to Germainia Road and turn south. The parking lot is located on the west side of Germainia Road, about one-half mile south of the Bay City-Forestville Road intersection.

For More Information: Contact Michigan Historical Museum, 717 West Allegan, Lansing, MI 48918 at (517) 373-1979 .

MINNESOTA
Jeffers Petroglyphs State Park
Description: The Jefferspetroglyph site is perhaps one of the best sites developed for education and public access in the United States. The site contains the largest known concentration of rock art in Minnesota, consisting of more than 2000 designs, many of which resemble humans, deer, elk, buffalo, turtles, thunderbirds, atlatls and arrows. The site is thought to have been a place of continuing importance to Native Americans since ancient times. The petroglyphs were carved on a red quartzite outcrop, and may be as old as 5,000 years. A number of designs resemble, atatls, or devices used to throw spears. Atatls in this region of the East are thought to be indicative of the oldest carvings. Other petroglyphs are more characteristic of the symbols used by the ancestors of Siouan peoples between AD 900-1700.Access: Memorial Day through Labor Day (September 7): 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. May and September: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Visitor center with restrooms and drinking fountain on site. Admission fee. Handicapped accessible.Directions: Rt. 1, Box 141, Comfrey, MN 56019 Three miles east of U.S. Hwy. 71 on Cottonwood Cty. Rd. 10, then one mile south on Cty. Rd. 2.

For More Information: Contact the Jeffers Petroglyph State Park, Rural Route 1, Box 118, Bingham Lake, MN 56118 at (507) 628-5591 or Minnesota Historical Society, 345 Kellogg Blvd, West, St. Paul, MN (651) 296-6126.

Pipestone National Monument
Description: Just north of the town of Pipestone, Native Americans have long quarried the red stone to make pipes and jewelery. At Pipestone National Monument, they also carved petroglyphs, the most famous of which resemble human figures, also known as “Three maidens.” During the 1800s, the petroglyphs were removed by an artifact collector. Fortunately, these petroglyphs were later returned to the monument, and can be enjoyed by all.Access: Open daily, except holidays. Admission fee. Handicapped accessible.Directions: From Pipestone, take US 75, MN 23, or MN 30 to the Pipestone National Monument.

For More Information: Contact the Pipestone national Moument, phone (507) 825-5464.

MISSOURI
Thousand Hills State Park (petroglyphs)
Description: The petroglyphs of Thousand Hills State Park are housed in a covered structure with interpreted information posted. The petroglyphs resemble human foot prints, crosses, sun symbols, bi-lobed arrows, snails, and birds, which are attributed to the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, AD 1100-1600.Access: Park is open daily, all year. Admission free.Directions: From Kirksville drive 3 miles west on MO 6, then 2 miles south on MO 157 to the park entrance.

For More Information: Contact the Thousand Hills State Park, Route 3, Kirksville, MO 63501. Phone: (660) 665-6995.

Washington State Park (petroglyphs)
Description: At Washington State Park, one can visit two of the best known petroglyph sites in the southeastern United States. A brochure, available at the park visitor center, gives directions to the petroglyph sites. The sites contain several hundred designs, which resemble birds, tracks, human figures, footprints, bilobed arrows, and a variety of complex geometric designs. The carvings are thought to be associated with the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, AD 1100-1600.Access: Open daily, all year. Admission free.Directions: From DeSoto drive 15 miles south on MO 21 to the park entrance.

For More Information: Contact the Washington State Park, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102. Phone: (314) 751-2479.

NEW JERSEY
Seton Hall University, Archaeological Research Center and Museum (petroglyphs)
Description: The Seton Hall University Museum exhibits the first petroglyphs discovered in New Jersey. The small boulder was removed from the Delaware River Valley. Designs resemble humans and animals.Access: Open daily, Mon-Sat., when the University is in session. Admission free. Handicapped accessible.Directions: Take the New Jersey Turnpike to Exit 15W. Follow directions for 280 West. Take Exit 10, West Orange/South Orange. Proceed to the first light and turn left onto Northfield Avenue. Go three lights and turn left onto Gregory Avenue. Continue straight to the end of Gregory Avenue. (Gregory Avenue becomes Wyoming Avenue). At the end of Wyoming Avenue, turn left into South Orange Avenue. Drive through the Village of South Orange; the campus is approximately 1.5 miles on the right.

For More Information: Contact Seton Hall University, Fahy Hall, South Orange Ave., South Orange, NJ 07079. Phone: (201) 761-9543.

NORTH CAROLINA
Judaculla Rock (petroglyphs)
Description: Judaculla Rock is one of the best known sites in the Southeast, and offers a viewing platform and interpretive panels. The petroglyphs are made on a steatite boulder that includes hundreds of cupules and deep grooves, as well as a number of designs which resemble humans, footprints, and geometric shapes. Judaculla Rock is legendary among the Cherokee. It is said to be the place where the giant Judaculla landed when he jumped from the mountain. At the base of the stone two massive footprints can be seen.Access: Open daily, all year. Admission free.Directions: From US 74, take Exit 85, and follow Business 23 through East Sylva. In 1.3 miles, turn left onto NC 107. Drive 5 miles to Western Carolina University, and then 3 miles south on NC 107. Look for a silver sign about Judaculla Rock on the left, which will direct you to turn east onto county road 1737. Drive 2.5 miles, and then turn left onto a gravel road at the Judaculla state sign. In 0.45 mile, on the right side of the road is the trail to Judaculla rock.

For More Information: Contact the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, 4617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-4617 by phone, 919/733-7342, fax 919/715-2671, or e-mailmsouthern@ncsl.dcr.state.nc.us .

 

OHIO
Inscription Rock (petroglyphs)
Description: Discovered in 1833, the Inscription Rockconsists of a large limestone boulder on the shore of Kellys Island. The carvings resemble animals, tracks, and humans, and can be seen from a viewing platform under a pavilion. The Ohio Historical Society suggests that the petroglyphs may date between AD 1200-1600.Access: Open daily, all year. Admission free. Kellys Island is accessible by ferry from Marblehead daily from the first Sat. in April until Sun. prior to Thanksgiving. Call the Neuman Boat Line at (419) 626-5557 for ferry schedule.Directions: Inscription Rock is located on Kelleys Island, in Erie County, in Lake Erie, eight miles north of Sandusky. Ferries depart from Marblehead.

For More Information: Contact the Ohio Historical Society, Site Operations Department, 1982 Velma Ave., Columbus, OH 43211. Phone: 1-800-686-1535.

Leo Petroglyphs
Description: Located on the edge of a ravine, the Leo Petroglyphsite consists of a sandstone boulder with 37 carved designs, which resemble animals, humans, and tracks. Petroglyphs can be viewed from a circular platform beneath a small pavilion. The Ohio Historical Society suggests that the petroglyphs may have been made between AD 1000-1650.Access: Open daily, all year. Admission free. Limited handicapped accessibility.Directions: From Jackson on US 35, drive 5 miles north on OH 93 to Coalton, then northwest on OH 337 to Leo. The site is on an unpaved road northwest of Leo.

For More Information: Contact the Ohio Historical Society, Site Operations Department, 1982 Velma Ave., Columbus, OH 43211. Phone: 1-800-686-1535.

Turkey Foot Rock (petroglyphs)
Description: Turkey Foot Rock is now located at the Fallen Timbers Memorial Park in Monclova. It was once located about 2.5 miles from the park at the foot of the rapids at Maumee City on Presqueisle Hill. The stone was salvaged during road construction in the 1830s. The age and cultural affiliation of the stone is uncertain, but it is believed to been made in the eighteenth century. According to the local legend of the Battle of Fallen Timbers, Turkey Foot, an Ottawa chief, stood upon the rock exhorting the warriors to be brave and strong when he was shot and slid from the rock to die. Turkey tracks were carved on the stone to commemorate his death.Access: Open daily, all year. Admission free. Handicapped accessible.Directions: From I-475 in Toledo take HWY 24 southwest to the Timbers Memorial Park in Monclova, Lucas County.

For More Information: Contact the Ohio Historical Society, Site Operations Department, 1982 Velma Ave., Columbus, OH 43211. Phone: 1-800-686-1535.

PENNSYLVANIA
Indian God Rock (petroglyphs)
Description: Indian God Rock on the Allegheny River is perhaps one the best known sites in western Pennsylvania . The site has attracted the attention of writers since the mid-eighteenth century. The site entered the annals of history 1749, when Reverand Bonnecamps wrote of the petroglyphs during French expedition of the upper Ohio Valley. The prehistory of the petroglyphs, however, began long before French explorers discovered them. Dr. James Swauger, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, studied the carvings since the early 1960s. He believes that the petroglyphs were probably made by the ancestors of the Shawnee between AD 900-1650. Unfortunately, this site has also attracted the work of many vandals over the years. In recent years, however, the Venango Museum of Art, Science & Industry and the Allegheny River group has been instrumental in helping preserve the site. Much of the prehistoric record can now be viewed from a deck overlooking the rock. Interpretive panels discuss the cultural and historical significance of the site and aid in locating specific petroglyphs. Images are carved in sandstone and include animals and humans in “x-ray” form, as well as many geometric designs.Access: Open daily, all year. Admission free. Handicapped accessible viewing platform; interpretive panels.

Directions: The site is on the right-of-way of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad on the east bank of the Allegheny River two miles upstream from Brandon in Venango County.

For More Information: Contact the Venango Museum of Art, Science, and Industry, 270 Seneca Street, Oil City, PA 16301. Phone: (814) 676-2007.

TENNESSEE
Montgomery Bell State Park: Mace Bluff and Mound Bottom Archaeological Area (petroglyphs)
Description: There are a number of rock art sites along the Harpeth River, just west of Nashville. In Montgomery Bell State Park, Mace Bluff can be reached by hiking. The petroglyphs are on a limestone bluff and consist of a large mace and a smaller bird-like image. There are only ten other sites in the Southeast that feature the mace in the rock art, very few of which are open to the public. Mace Bluff provides a great view of Mound Bottom across the Harpeth River. Mound Bottom, a state-owned archaeological area, lies in a horseshoe bend of the Harpeth River. It consists of a large Mississippian civic or ceremonial center with a number of earthen temple mounds dating to the Late Prehistoric Period (AD 900-1350).Access: Montgomery Bell State Park is open daily, hiking permit required. Mound Bottom is a restricted area which can only be visited by guided tour. Tours are from 8:00am-4:30pm. Admission Free.Directions: For Mace Bluff access from Nashville, go west on I-40. Take the Montgomery Bell exit, and go north on Highway 70 to Cedar Hill Road. On Cedar Hill road drive 1.5 miles to Scott Cemetery and the Mound Bottom historic marker. The trail head begins at the foot of Mace Bluff, which is only a short walk south from the cemetery. The trail ascends the bluff summit, and can be considered moderately difficult.

To reach the Montgomery Bell State Park headquarters take I-40 West from Nashville, to Exit 182, left on Highway 96 to junction with Highway 70, right on Highway 70 to the park entrance.

For More Information: Contact Montgomery Bell State Park, P.O. Box 39, Burns, TN 37029 by phone, (615) 797-9052 or fax, (615) 797-4428.

WEST VIRGINIA
Ceredo (petroglyphs)
Description: The Ceredo petroglyphs were covered by 15 feet of silt until 1975 when a construction crew accidentally dredged the boulder up while mooring for barge traffic. The discovery took place approximately 40 feet from the West Virginia shore line. The petroglyph boulder is now housed at the Ceredo Historical Museum. The petroglyphs are carved on sandstone and resemble birds, human and animal stick-figures, as well as various geometric designs. Dr. James Swauger, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, studied the carvings and believes that the petroglyphs were probably made by the ancestors of the Shawnee between AD 900-1650.Access: Open Tuesday & Thursday, 9 AM – 4 PM, all year except holidays. Admission fee.Directions: From I-64 in Ceredo drive northwest to Main Street exit north. Continue to 501 Main Street. The museum is on the corner of Main Street and 8th Street.

For More Information: Contact Carol Connor, Ceredo Historical Museum, 501 Main Street, Ceredo, WV 25507. Phone (304) 453-3025.

WISCONSIN
Roche-a-Cri State Park (petroglyphs and pictographs)
Description: Roche-a-Cri s derived from the French phrase meaning “crevice in the rock.” The site is located in the state’s “drift less” area which escaped the southern front of the last glaciation. The rock art is distributed along the base of a bluff, and resemble birds, tracks, canoes, and other geometric designs. The site can be viewed from a platform, and presents interpretive panels.Access: Open daily, from the last week of May-October. Admission fee.Directions: From Friendship, drive north 1 mile on WI 13 to park entrance. Inquire about the rock art at the visitor center.

For More Information: Contact the Roche-a-Cri State Park at (608) 339-3385.