Sunday, May 11, 2008

Standing Stones in Jeffersontown

Once upon a time, the area that's now the city of Jeffersontown, KY was teeming with wildlife, especially bears, deer, wildcats, and buffalo. Some of the existing paved roads today began as ancient traditional trails and pathways blazed by buffalo as they stomped the same path year after year to the salt licks. These pathways were
etched into the wilderness by the buffalo long before humans set foot on this soil.

Over the years, there have been persistent rumors about an American Indian civilization, or several civilizations, that once erected standing stones in Jeffersontown, KY. Some versions of the myth describe them Stonehenge-style, while other reports describe them carved as totems, to resemble animals and strange beasts, possibly to commemorate these same critters that ruled this region and created the first corridors through these woods.

Both types of Indian-related stonework are common in Kentucky and its surrounding "dark and bloody ground" area. Although there's little traces today of these civilizations and their standing stones, we do have some possible glimpses into the past.

Following the roads towards Jeffersontown's Northeastern edge, we were intrigued by the large interestingly shaped rocks that dot the landscape. Much of this land today is occupied by an industrial park, but its tenants are spaced far apart and plenty of open green areas remain.
Many of the stones appear to have been moved into their current position as roadside decoration, but others are off the beaten path and some are now almost entirely buried with only a small bit protruding. It would appear that the stones were originally here when the industrial park was built, and then some of the stones were simply made use of as decoration.

A few visits to local businessmen in the area seem to confirm this: we couldn't find anyone who knew for sure about the prehistory of the giant rocks in their factory's front yard, but many could say with some degree of certainty that the rocks were not shipped in for decoration but pre-existed on the property when the buildings were

The stones themselves certainly lend themselves to the myth of the Jeffersontown indian totems - many have a strikingly obvious resemblance to animals - especially turtles and bears, which would in fact be two of the key animals one would likely expect to be represented. These more exciting examples tend to be ones that have been moved out into the front yards for display, but the nearby area is pockmarked with plenty more that are hidden, and are probably still in their original locations.
Unfortunately, there's no really dependable way to know for sure. After all, there's no point in carbon dating a rock. Erosion from weather and creeks can make many a rock look zoomorphic with the passage of enough time and water. In fact, some say the Native Americans would actually seek out such large stones peculiarly shaped by water flow, either using them as is or using them as the starting point for their own additional sculpting. The presence of Amerind markings and petroglyphs would help, but even that doesn't actually prove anything in a concrete (no pun intended) scientific way.

In the meantime, we can continue the search for more relevant artifacts, and enjoy these curious stones for what they are, at face value.

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