Fall has arrived!
A millennium ago, a group of Native Americans known today as the Shenks Ferry People would have gathered on Little Indian Rock to mark the start of a new season as they viewed the equinox sunrise between these two squiggly lines.
Experimental archaeology suggests it takes about 20 minutes to make a dime-sized impress in the hard schist using a round hammerstone and quartz chisel. These massive carvings, likely serpents, probably took several days to complete.
This isn’t the only pictogram on Little Indian Rock, either. The bedrock boulder is completely covered on the upstream side, making it the best panel of rock art east of the Mississippi River. You would have to travel to the Southwest to see anything better. Try to imagine the time and energy involved in creating something this elaborate. Undoubtedly, these carvings possessed spiritual and cultural significance for these indigenous people.
Learn more on Saturday, September 30, from 9 a.m. to noon, at Safe Harbor Dam for a morning of family fun that includes tours inside the 92-year-old megastructure, a fishing derby, food vendors, and educational booths. I will display photographs of the 1,000-year-old petroglyphs of Safe Harbor and historic reproduction maps of the area from the 1800s. Click here to read more about the event here.