Petroglyphs: Nacoochee Stela

White County, Georgia

The Nacoochee Stela once stood beside the ancient trail between the head of trade canoe navigation on the Tugaloo River and the intersection of several trade routes in the Nacoochee Valley. The stela probably marked the boundary of a province. It is quite different in shape than the other petroglyphic boulders in the Georgia Gold Belt, even though it shares many of the same symbols. It is a quarried spear-shaped monument, not a potato-shaped boulder that always laid on the ground. The 12-feet (3.66 m) stone slab was carved from volcanic stone. It is now located on the campus of the university of Georgia.

What is particularly intriguing about this petroglyphic monolith is that it is similar to the Bronze Age stelas in Scandinavia and Pictish of Scotland, which evolved over the centuries into Iron Age runestones. According to the Ninth Century Anglo-Saxon scholar, Venerable Bede, both the Picts and the Angles originally lived in southern Sweden. Note, however, that the Nacoochee Valley stela was sculptured into a symmetrical shape, whereas its contemporaries were monoliths that were merely erected and carved on.

The Scottish stela was originally a spear shape.

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