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May 14, 2010

Help preserve ancient rock carvings in Pickens County

A new campaign is underway to preserve more that 40 rock carvings or petroglyphs carved into the Upstate landscape by prehistoric American Indians, perhaps more than 1,000 years ago. The goal of the $300,000 fund-raising effort will be to construct the South Carolina Rock Art Center for Pickens County's Hagood Mill Historic Site and Folklife Center.

"Preserving a Place of Ancient Voices" is spearheaded by local residents and the Pickens County Cultural Commission.

Native American petroglyphs were discovered in 2003 on a large, 30-foot-long rock at Hagood Mill. The set of depictions includes more than 40 carvings ranging in size from about 6 inches to more than a foot high. There are 17 human figures plus a number of abstract motifs.

More than 300 petroglyph sites are located in South Carolina, with the majority being found in the upstate counties of Oconee, Pickens and Greenville. Many of the Upstate rock carvings are at high elevations and are hard to reach for the general public, making the easily accessible ones at Hagood Mill all the more important. Some of the high-elevation petroglyphs are on the Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area at Jocassee Gorges in northern Pickens County, managed by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Make a tax-deductible donation to the South Carolina Rock Art Center by sending a check payable to The Pickens County Museum, 307 Johnson St., Pickens, SC 29671. Find out more by contacting the museum at (864) 898-5963 or via e-mail at picmus@co.pickens.sc.us.

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