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
Comments

One Comment

  1. Kristina says:

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

  2. Cool says:

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

  3. Denise says:

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From WCCO | CBS Minnesota

Goin' To The Lake
The Leaderboard
Best Pride Events

Listen Live