All Posts in Alabama

April 23, 2019 - No Comments!

Cherokee Syllabary found in an Alabama Cave

Cherokee syllabary in Manitou Cave near Fort Payne Alabama. The writing says "We are leaders of the ball team 1829 their month of April." Alan Cressler and Marion O. Smith discovered the writing.

Ancient Art Archive board member Jan Simek has published an article in Antiquity detailing Cherokee syllabary found in Manitou Cave, Alabama. The Cherokee were the only Native American group to develop an indigenous written language. Some of the first examples of the writing were found in Manitou cave by Alan Cressler and Marion O. Smith.

Sequoya's Son, Richard Guest's name along with Cherokee Syllabary in Manitou Cave, Fort Payne Alabama

Historic graffiti has long been known in Manatou and it was during a visit to the cave to look for historically significant signatures that Cressler and Smith first noticed what they thought could be Cherokee writing.

Lead author on the paper Beau Carol from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation quickly confirmed the writing's authenticity. The writing is associated with the time of Cherokee eviction from the Southeast at the beginning of the Trail of Tears.

Download a pdf of the Antiquity article here.

The Ancient Art Archive has been working to 3D model Manitou cave to both digitally preserve the writing and make it accessible. In some instances, the writing is in very hard to reach places or in one case backward as if it were written from inside the rock.

3D modeling is the ideal method to present the writing. Please help us continue this work with a donation.

June 20, 2017 - No Comments!

Painted Bluff, Marshall County Alabama

 

serpentine painting

Serpentine figure Painted Bluff, Marshall County Alabama circa AD 1400

Painted Bluff is one of the most significant open air rock art sites in the Southeastern United States. It's red ochre paintings occupy a towering, 400-foot high limestone bluff with commanding views of the Tennessee River. For centuries the site has acted as a beacon drawing prehistoric and historic travels along the Tennessee River corridor. Although often marred by spalling and historic graffiti, the site contains over 80 individual images.

"Painted Bluff Towers of the Tennessee River"

One of the most impressive is a long serpentine red ochre painting that overlays a previous and very faded circle. On top of both the circle and the serpentine figure is a clear human form.

Carbon 14 analysis of a river cane torch recovered from the bluff yields an approximate date of AD 1400 and the assumption is that most of the older painting come from that era. However, the bluff is a conspicuous stopping point and passageway along the river corridor. Painting and drawing clearly continue into modern times.  Read more