(ODD)yssey

Georgia’s Rock Eagle Effigy, a fascinating native relic

Sweetums and I visited the Rock Eagle Effigy in Putnam County, Georgia, with no idea what to expect. It’s difficult to picture exactly what a “Rock Eagle Effigy” might look like.

No one was around when we arrived and we were pleased to find a well-kept and protected site. The effigy itself, made of small pieces of quartz to form a bird 102 feet long with a 120-foot wing span, was surrounded by a fence to prevent vandalism. At the tail of the bird, a tower allows visitors to get an aerial view of the native formation.

Here is a little of what we learned:

  • The mound likely dates to the Middle Woodland Period,  a pre-Columbian era with Native American occupations dated between 500 BC and AD 1100.
  • A similar rock mound, known as the Hawk Effigy, is located in eastern Putnam County.
  • The Rock Eagle Effigy is maintained by the University of Georgia. The adjoining property is used for a 4-H camp.
  • It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • A stone tower was built by the Works Progress Administration so people could see the formation in its entirety.
  • Archaeologists think the quartz formations had religious meaning, according to the Georgia Encyclopedia. “Small amounts of cremated human bone were found at the Rock Eagle site during excavations there in the early 1950s,” the Encyclopedia wrote.
  • Visitors can see the effigy anytime. It is located 9 miles north of Eatonton on U.S. 441/129. For more information, call 706-484-2831.
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The Rock Eagle Effigy mound in Putnam County, Ga. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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The Works Progress Administration-constructed tower at the Rock Eagle Effigy mound in Putnam County, Ga. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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The Works Progress Administration-constructed tower at the Rock Eagle Effigy mound in Putnam County, Ga. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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The Works Progress Administration-constructed tower at the Rock Eagle Effigy mound in Putnam County, Ga. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Marker on the observation tower. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Another marker at the Rock Eagle Effigy site. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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We have no idea what these wooden circles were used for but they were preserved in the stone walkway at the Rock Eagle Effigy site. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

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