Monday, February 25, 2013

Rock Eagle Effigy

You might recall me saying at one point that I love venturing off the beaten path; that I have this unusual fascination with even the most mundane of things. Case in point, the Rock Eagle Mound. Located just inside the northern boundary of Putnam County Georgia, on the border with neighbouring Morgan County, lies this unassuming but no less significant monument to ancient Georgia history.                                  

Prior to the coming of "The White Man," much of the United States of America was occupied by the improperly named native American "Indians." (thanks a lot Columbus). The State of Georgia was home to two major groups, the Cherokees and the Creek (Muscogee) Indian nations, the Creeks in Southwest Georgia and the Cherokees basically everywhere else.

The mound itself, one of two in Putnam County alone, and one of the only two surviving structures anywhere east of the Mississippi, was said to have been constructed somewhere between 1000 and 3000 years ago (a time that obviously predated even the Creeks and Cherokees). The purpose of these structures is entirely unknown to science at this point but it's believed that they are burial mounds.

Personally I like to think these mounds were used for something a bit more kinky but that's just my opinion.

There really isn't much to see out there to justify the two hour drive from Atlanta but the site is relatively close to Lake Oconee if weekend watersports is your thing. I personally, have always been fascinated by anything even remotely ancient or historic in nature so it was well worth the drive as far as I was concerned.

The mound itself is basically an 8 foot high, 120 foot wide mound made up of thousands of pieces of quartz, formed to resemble an eagle in flight as if being viewed from below.

It's been said that the mound was a waypoint along a major indian footpath that criss crossed the state and that it may have also had some ritual significance as well but at this point, who knows. There are two more such sites in Putnam County; one a mere 13 miles away known as Rock Hawk which I'll go looking for at some point. It's certainly not as well taken care of as it's much more famous cousin Rock Eagle but I suspect it'll be worth the trip.

 Lastly there is what is believed to be a third effigy called Rock Snake but that has officially been lost to time.

The mound apparently is 8 to 10 feet high at the chest but tapers out to only a couple feet near the wingtips.

Rock Eagle herself in all her glory. 
In just a few more weeks, I suspect I will be touring the Rock Hawk site either during my walking tour of downtown Madison, or when I (hopefully) participate in Georgia's annual Antebellum Tour this year. Only time (and Bank of America) will tell.

Rock Eagle Effigy 
350 Rock Eagle Road
Eatonton, GA 31024


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