Judaculla Rock - recording, conservation, and site management project
The Late Woodland to Early Nineteenth century petroglyphs that have been pecked over much earlier Late Archaic soapstone quarry scars at Judaculla Rock, Jackson County, western North Carolina, have increasingly been threatened by twentieth century developments. Whereas silt that eroded from upslope agricultural and road construction activities slowly started to cover the boulder, inappropriate visitor behavior (marking the petroglyphs and climbing on the rock) threatened the integrity of the numerous petroglyphs. The major challenges facing the neighboring landowner (the Parker family), Jackson County, and concerned stakeholders (the Eastern Band of Cherokees and archaeologists), resulted in various attempts to protect the rock. The construction of a cinder block house in the 1960s, a pavilion in the 1970s, and a walkway in the 1990s did not solve the problems of silting or visitors defacing the rock. It is not until 2007, at the instigation of Scott Ashcraft and Lorie Hansen from the North Carolina Rock Art Survey, that careful consultation, mapping, recording, condition assessment, and management aimed at solving the silting and visitor behavior issues were initiated. In consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokees, the US Forest Service, the North Carolina State Archaeologist, and the Caney Creek community, the North Carolina Rock Art Survey arranged for Jackson County to fund background work and the necessary infra-structural changes. Stratum Unlimited, LLC was contracted to do the petroglyph recording and archaeological excavations of the surrounding deposits (assisted by Douglas Frink and Scot Shumate), while Equinox Environmental Consultation and Design did the landscaping and installation of the viewing platform. With improved drainage and interpretive infrastructure having been completed in 2011, silting and vandalism have ceased to be major problems at the site.