How often do we zip down the highway on the way from one destination to another, paying no attention to the interesting places just beyond our sight? This week, I was on my way home but not in any hurry. When I saw the sign for Rock Hawk Effigy, I turned onto the quiet paved road to see what was there.
The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Rain, sun, wind...insects, birds, flowers...meteorites, rocks...seasonal changes...all are worthy additions to the bucket. Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.I had seen the better-known, and better-preserved Rock Eagle Effigy, located some twenty miles away. This was a chance to see the companion artifact.
Rock Hawk Effigy is in Putnam County in central Georgia, about a dozen miles east of the town of Eatonton, just north of Georgia Highway 16. The site is near Lake Oconee, and is on land maintained by Georgia Power Company.
Take the short hike on this fine sunny day, and see what's out there. Pictures were taken April 1, 2014.
A short paved trail leads to the effigy site.
Instead of writing a lot of text on a subject I know little about, I'll let the experts who designed the trail markers tell you. I've put some excerpts in blockquotes. Photos are in lightbox mode. Click on images for a better view.
Due to the lack of artifacts in and around the effigy, archaeologists are unsure when the effigy was created. Humans have been in the region a long time, and there is no real consensus on the age of Rock Hawk. Some estimates place the age at around 2,000 years. The Creek Indians inhabited the area when Europeans arrived.
By the time Europeans arrived in the area, the Creeks had organized into a confederacy of towns. A large permanent Creek town, called an Italwa, was surrounded by a number of smaller towns called talofas.
The early settlers were not kind to this land. According to the marker:
Much of the topsoil was removed by poor soil conservation practices of planters and small farmers during the early days of cotton agriculture and into the twentieth century. An average of seven inches of topsoil was eroded from this region, and major gullies formed in places where soft soils were exposed to the intense summer rains.
Rivers often ran red from eroded clay.
The ground-level view of the effigy just looks like a pile of rocks.
Fortunately there is a viewing tower.
From halfway up, an image begins to take shape.
From the top of the tower, a clearer picture emerges.
Unfortunately the location was not preserved over time, and some of the details were lost. Historical drawings contain enough differences that some historians wonder whether there was a second effigy nearby that has been covered up or destroyed.
Here is another view from the tower. The dogwoods are beginning to bloom. The tree on the right with new leaves is a northern red oak. The big leafless tree to the left is a white oak. In the background are shortleaf pines.
A better view of the dogwood, with the obligatory reminder that those white flower "petals" are actually modified leaves.
A holly displays its pricky leaves.
A hiking trail beckons, but I had miles to travel. Perhaps another day.
That's my latest report from middle Georgia. The floor is now open for your comments and observations.
"Green Diary Rescue" is Back!
After a hiatus of over 1 1/2 years, Meteor Blades has revived his excellent series. As MB explained, this weekly diary is a "round-up with excerpts and links... of the hard work so many Kossacks put into bringing matters of environmental concern to the community... I'll be starting out with some commentary of my own on an issue related to the environment, a word I take in its broadest meaning."
"Green Diary Rescue" will be posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page. Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary.