Friday, July 11, 2014

Track Rock Petroglyphs

After we went to Brasstown Bald we took another side trip to see the Track Rock Petroglyphs. On the trail up to the petroglyphs we saw these tiny purple pinwheel flowers.

Unlike Native American petrographs we've visited in the past, petroglyphs are carved into huge soapstone boulders not drawn or painted on the rocks. Petroglyphs or rock engravings occur throughout the world and are associated with prehistoric peoples. The petroglyphs at Track Rock were found to be made over several hundred years beginning approximately 1000 AD. The engravings at Track Rock were made by either direct carving or pecking with another object pounded on the boulder.

Track Rock is considered a place of power within a sacred landscape. In numerous Cherokee stories, rocks with footprints and tracks signify an area of transition, a doorway or threshold into the domain of dangerous spirit beings.

One Cherokee story or legend about Track Rock says a giant, Tsulkalu  'Master of the Game', came from the land of the dead spirits from the West to visit the Cherokee, stayed awhile as a friend and helper, and later returned West.

For a detailed description of each boulder, please click the link. For a detailed description of the figures on the boulders, please click the link.

Boulder four originally thought to be a figure of a spear thrower is now thought to represent a map. Now that I've read more about the Track Rock Petroglyphs I'd like to go back to visit them again. I have a new respect for the meaning behind this sacred site of my ancestors. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Really interesting to see your photos of the petroglyphs. It is rather wonderful and moving to think of the hands that carved those lines in the rock all those years ago. Whilst meaning and interpretation can be lost, there is a precious thread of humanity that remains.

  2. Aren't these glimpses into the past fascinating? And they stir my mind to ask more questions always. Which is a good thing.

  3. Petroglyphs are fascinating, and so is the analogy between the petroglyph and the wampum belt.

  4. Hi Peter, thanks, yes we can only imagine or learn from the passing down of stories what meaning lies behind the carvings; wonderful to see all these years later since they are 'carved in stone'. I can just imagine ancient peoples sitting there and carving and carving into the stone.

    Hi Elephant's Child, thanks, I too yearn to learn and wonder about the past and the future.

    Hi Joanne, thanks, similar drawing one on rock one on a belt from two different areas of the country, fascinating.


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