N.E. GEORGIA’S EARLIEST STORIES – TRACK ROCK PETROGLYPHS. Kitty Stratton

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N.E. GEORGIA’S EARLIEST STORIES

TRACK ROCK PETROGLYPHS.

Kitty Stratton

 

Petroglyphs or rock carvings can be found all over the world.  We are fortunate in N.E. Georgia to have a well preserved collection of petroglyphs at Track Rock Gap close to Blairsville GA.  Track Rock is considered one of the most significant sites of Native American rock engravings in the Southeastern United States.

Track Rock Gap is situated near Blairsville, Georgia in the Blue Ridge Ranger District of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.  The site has been well taken care of and a trail leads up from a small parking lot to the huge soapstone boulders that contain over a hundred carvings of different shapes and figures.

 BOULDER WITH CARVINGS AT TRACK ROCK

Boulder at Track Rock showing carved symbols

As far back as 3600 years ago Native Americans were using the soapstone at Track Rock to make bowls and other items.  Starting around AD 1000 different Native American Tribes have carved figures and symbols in the soft soapstone.  It is likely that the Cherokee people carved some of the images.

Some of the stories handed down over the years, linked to Cherokee legends, give various ideas for why the carvings are at Track Rock.  Some of the stories indicate that the carvings on the stones are Hunter’s carvings.  Other stories tell of a great flood that left the rock soft and the animals left their tracks on the soft stone.  Additional stories tell that the Track Rock area was the dwelling of a Great Spirit.

Regardless of which story or combination of stories tells the truth of Track Rock, it is obvious that it was a special and sacred place to the people living and passing through the area.  It is also very possible that the rocks were used to commemorate battles between warring tribes.  South of Track Rock Gap at Slaughter Gap near Blood Mountain there was a battle between Creek and Cherokee Tribes.

 TRACK ROCK HISTORICALMARKER

TRACK ROCK HISTORICAL MARKER

Regardless of how or when these carvings were made they should be preserved for future generations.  For more information on the area and a map to find Track Rock visit the USDA Forest Service website. There are pages with photographs of the boulders and maps that explain the different symbols and possible meanings of the drawings.  A wealth of excellent information can be read about Track Rock at http://www.fs.usda.gov

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