Uncovering MN’s History Through Ancient Petroglyphs

COTTONWOOD COUNTY (WCCO) — In Cottonwood County, tribes of Native Americans left simple carvings over thousands of years that recorded their lives. They’re called petroglyphs and a recent discovery at the historic site in western Minnesota has anthropologists looking for more.

Tom Sanders manages the Jeffers Petroglyph Historic Site in Comfry, home to a large slab of surface rock, which is the size of three football fields. Native Americans gathered there over the past 10,000 years.

“It was a ceremony to create them, like communion,” said Sanders.

It became a sacred site where they carved symbols, including things like stars, people, tools and animals. There are also a lot of elk and buffalo.

A rough estimate put the number of carvings at close to 2,000.

For centuries, a heavy lichen cover obscured the rocks, covering up thousands more of the petroglyphs. That is, however, until they discovered a process that help reveal the carvings.

After covering the lichen with heavy tarps for a period of months, it dies and is swept away. To make them easier to see they’ll redirect sunlight using plywood and a mirror…this buffalo hoof print pops to life!

It’s a University of Minnesota grad student Jenny Immich’s job to now record the new findings. They’ll be scanned and entered into a registry for later study,

“It’s preservation, conservation and just using technology in a new way to learn about this site and what we have here,” said Immich.

More from Bill Hudson
  • Kristina

    Can’t wait to see them. Thanks for the information.

  • Cool

    Good article on the ancient history of our state. Way to go ‘CCO!

  • Denise

    Good story. I’ve been there many times. By the way, Comfrey is spelled is with an “e”, not Comfry. Just sayin…

  • http://minnesotafamilyroots.net/2011/10/01/native-americans-left-ancient-writings-in-cottonwood-county-minnesota/ Native Americans left ancient writings in Cottonwood County, Minnesota | minnesotafamilyroots.com

    […] http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2011/09/29/uncovering-minnesotas-history-through-ancient-petroglyphs/ This entry was posted in Family, Minnesota History. Bookmark the permalink. ← Allouez Catholic Cemetery Worker Accused of Stealing From the Departed […]

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