North-Central Section - 46th Annual Meeting (2324 April 2012)
Paper No. 14-1
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-1:20 PM


LARICK, Roy, Bluestone Heights, Shore Cultural Center, Euclid, OH 44123 and HANNIBAL, Joseph T., Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland, OH 44106-1767,

In 1854, quarrymen discovered a soil-buried petroglyph on a Berea Sandstone bluff in Independence, Ohio. The glyph was likely a unique Whittlesey period (1000-1650 AD) rock-art survivor. Part of the artifact was built into a sandstone wall of a local church soon after discovery where it is preserved today; the outcrop was quarried away. Masonry and petroglyph lithology (fine-to-medium grained quartzose sandstone) is consistent with nearby stream and road cuts and rock exposed in nearby quarries. The petroglyph appears to be on a weathered bedding surface; its original orientation would have been horizontal or sub-horizontal. Berea Sandstone at a nearby outcrop, and that used for church building stone, show distinct horizontal color banding that is unusual for the Berea facies used for building stone. The petroglyph slab, preserved on-edge, is cut by two subparallel raised linear features oriented perpendicular to a major crack that presumably occurred when the slab was removed from the outcrop; these features appear to reflect an overall joint system.

Three levels of outcrop physiography may indicate Native American cultural geology and geography: 1) eroded joints reached deep into the sandstone unit; 2) the outcrop faced a prehistoric trail with cliff-face occupation possibilities; and 3) the site overlooked the Cuyahoga Valley, a Lake Erie-Ohio River passage. Additionally, iron precipitates (“ocher”) were available nearby, where Berea Sandstone joints intersect a basal-Berea conglomeritic pyrite layer. The petroglyph may have functioned in an upland landscape visual marking complex relating to the subsurface spirit world, regional land tenure, and inter-regional passage. Its preservation today is due to its having been carved into a horizontal surface, its having been buried, and the wise thinking of the men who had this slab saved and built into the church wall, and the tenacity of Berea Sandstone (a quartzose sandstone primarily cemented by silica) as a building stone.

North-Central Section - 46th Annual Meeting (2324 April 2012)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 14
Geoarchaeology and Cultural Geology: Exploring the Geological Aspects of Archaeological and Cultural Materials and Settings II
Dayton Convention Center: Room 204
1:00 PM-3:00 PM, Monday, 23 April 2012

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 44, No. 5, p. 22

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