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New Technology Reveals Ancient Carvings in Alabama

Alabama’s native American history was recently highlighted with the news that new technology, hi-tech 30 photogrammetry, has enabled scientists to photograph and piece together ancient carvings known as mud glyphs on the ceiling of Cave #19 Unnamed Cave, so described to protect the site location.

This newly developed process has allowed largely obscured ceiling drawings to be rendered visible. Archeologist Jan Simek and photographers Stephen Alvarez and Alan Cressler spent arduous hours crawling through low-ceilinged areas of the cave and using special photographic equipment to capture 16,000 pictures that overlap to map the cave ceiling. Caves were considered sacred places, and the artwork is found in the deepest and darkest part of the cave. The images depict giant humanoid figures, as well as serpents, insects, birds, abstract shapes, and swirling lines. It is estimated that the drawings were created during the Midland Woodland Period (500 BC – 1100 AD).

You can view the story of how Cave 19 was explored and photographed by reading Alabama Cave Reveals Mysterious New Images Traced by Ancient Hands at While Cave 19 is located in northern Alabama, not in the Wiregrass, it is indicative of the centuries-long native American habitation of Alabama.

For enlightening and entertaining stories about Creek history in the Wiregrass, check out Wiregrass Chronicles – Long Rows to Hoe and Wiregrass Chronicles – Bluebirds, Sharpshooters, and the Lure of Faraway Places.

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