Barnesville Historical Society Visits the Barnesville Track Rocks Preserve, Ohio

During a September visit, members of the Barnesville Historical Society gather around one of the Barnesville Track Rocks still showing signs of painting done before the Conservancy had acquired the site. Visible are deer tracks, stars or stretched hides, and enigmatic quadrupeds. It contains over 100 carvings or petroglyphs likely done possibly  by the Adena People.  The Conservancy acquired the site in 2000 through a donation from Consol Energy. The site is in Belmont County in eastern Ohio.

Another view of the rock above, with Deer tracks most visible.

While the paint was done in the past to make the glyphs stand out, it prevents any analysis of trace residues within the glyphs, causes unknown chemical changes, and makes alternate interpretations of glyph design difficult.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources archaeologist John Boilegh (in blue cap) speaks extemporaneously about the track rocks to the interested group.



Midwest Regional Director Paul Gardner (center), listens to John (blue hat) while feeling the effects of four hours of brush-cutting. An usually wet spring and summer left the rocks overgrown by six foot pokeweed, and needing clearance to be visible again.

Deer and possible large cat tracks mostly free of paint. Cat tracks could also be interpreted as dog tracks.


Human and more possible large cat tracks.


Turkey and Human Prints crossing. 

Last year Dr. Robert Bednarik of the International Federation of Rock Art Organizations conducted a micro-erosion study of the perplexing elephant petroglyph. The study looked at crystal erosion within the glyph, indicating that the glyph dates to the early 20th century (see  Back Issues American Archaeology Winter 2013/14)

Alleged Elephant Glyph with eroded paint.

Fittingly mysterious an Eye of Providence, one of the 20th century additions to site, watches over the preserve. Although Belle Coule Rockshelter, Wisconsin and the Dwyer Rockshelter at Silver Mound, Wisconsin have a few glyphs, Barnesville Track Rocks is the only Midwestern preserve created principally to preserve rock art.


Learn more about 2013 Experts investigating the Rock Art at Barnesville


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