Judaculla Rock Jackson County

Judaculla Rock is the best known petroglyph site in North Carolina.  The site was donated to Jackson County by the Parker family and may be visited by the public.  The soapstone boulder is covered in glyphs of circles, lines, cupules, crosses, anthropomorphs, and other undetermined shapes. Long grooved lines, referred to as rills or " power lines ", seem to connect different glyphs.

The meaning of the Judaculla petroglyphs remain a mystery to us.  In the late 1800's ethnologist James Mooney documented the Cherokee legend of Tsul'kalu', a slant eyed giant. Tsul'kalu' was considered a great hunter who lived in nearby mountains.  As legend describes, the giant leaped down off his mountain to a creek below where he scratched the rock with his 7 fingered hands.  Other versions say he scraped it with his toes. Over time the name Tsul'kalu' evolved to Judaculla.

Outcropping soapstone boulders behind Judaculla Rock show evidence of prehistoric quarrying scars where stone bowls were carved from the soft stone.  A limited archaeological excavation in 1993 revealed quarrying tools as well.  In the Southeastern U.S., soapstone bowls were being manufactured between the Late Archaic Period (3000 -1000 BC) to the early Woodland Period (Sassaman et al), (1000-200 BC), and so by association the glyphs may date to this period.