Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Strange Rock Carvings
Mesa Verde, MS> Halfway up the old road across the famous Christmas Place there is a red gate that you can drive under on a fourwheeler very easily. This gate leads into the area known as the T-field. There is great hunting there, but directly across the road is a thick area of young pines, honeysuckle, and a jungle of twisting vines and thorns. If you fight your way through this for a few hundred yards, you will drop off the end of a long hollow going away from you that leads down and meets another bigger hollow through the heart of the area.
If you work your way down the extremely steep slope to the bottom, you see that it is very flat and about 40 yards across, with the sides almost straight up and down. A lot of cane and hardwoods are in the hollow but it is rather open anyway. A narrow little dry creek wanders down through there that only has water during big rains. There are several easy deer trails down through the middle and you can follow those for another 200 yards or so.
Once you make it this far, you will see a large rock outcropping poking out of the side of the hill. This rock face juts out almost to the edge of the creek. A trail will take you right up against it. The rock is mostly flat and a portion facing you is about 10 feet high and 20 feet long as you brush against it. Pay attention, because if you look closely, you can see strange writings carved into the stone. There are no carvings of local Indians or the type thing an early man would carve. There is a carving of Thunderhoof though. The flat surface has strange symbols and holes obviously cut very carefully and carved deeply into the stone. The only thing that you can read, says August 14, 1842. What do the symbols mean? I only have part of the answer but I think that I will know the rest, very soon.
Like many people over the years (I suppose), I have spent a lot of afternoons drawing or just staring at the symbols to see if I could figure out what they mean. You stare, then move to a different angle, study some more, move to a different angle and study some more until you almost have the answer and then it mysteriously slips away. The rock face has a way of pulling you back to it over and over again. I have hunted there, but never did have any luck. I guess my mind was on the carvings. I have even traced them out in chalk for a clearer view. I imagine people have been trying to figure it out for over a hundred years.
I was there on a summer afternoon just looking them over for the hundredth time and suddenly a symbol on the very right end seemed to jump out at me. I studied it carefully and realized that maybe I had found a key that would solve the mysterious writing. Looking back up the hollow and then walking down another 300 yards to check, I counted eight ridges (4 on each side) that jutted into the hollow I was in. I had never noticed it before but at the end of the top of each ridge a large cedar tree grew. Now this could have been coincidence but I was suddenly convinced that they were planted a long time ago to match the carving on the rock face. I walked down to the third one on the right and climbed up the hill until I reached the top and stood under the gigantic cedar tree. I knew exactly what to do, and 30 minutes later I had returned with my metal detector and a shovel. A few passes and I heard the buzzing that meant a metal object was buried there. Pretty deep from the sound, but something was damn sure there. I dug, deeper and deeper, working through roots and checking the hole with the detector to make sure I was right until finally, after some hard work, I hit the edge of something that sounded hollow. I cleaned the hole out, pulled out my pocketknife and carefully dug some more. This is what emerged. I slowly pulled out a small clay jar with the top sealed with a thick layer of wax.
I studied it carefully. It was slightly cracked but solid. I sat down and carefully used my knife to remove the seal. Prying off the clay lid, I peered inside.
When I looked in the clay jar, I could see that it was stuffed with an oily and tough canvas I took to be oilskin for waterproofing. Pulling it out, I could tell that it was wrapped around a heavy object; I laid it out and unwrapped it.
This is what I found. It is metal (brass and iron), and about 6 inches long. I do not know what it is or what it is for, but there is a lot of unknown writing still on the rock face and I think that this will help me finally unlock the rest of the mystery. You can help me this summer when you come down to visit.