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.
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.