Years ago, L.E.M.U.R.'s Joshua P. Warren and Robert McGhee noticed something peculiar near the rock. Perhaps ten feet away, a small stone, imbedded in the ground, had a single petroglyph: an arrow.
Given the abstract nature of the marks on Judaculla Rock, it was obvious that the arrow was not put there by the same artisans. But what could it mean? Jerry Parker, whose family owned the property for decades, had no explanation. Though many have surely seen the arrow over the years, Warren and McGhee happened to observe the site when the leaves were off the thick trees. In the distance, the arrow pointed north toward a looming mountain with what appeared to be caves near the top of its steep, rocky cliff.
Could one be the legendary cave of Judaculla, the slant-eyed giant? Parker said a couple attempts to reach the apparent caves had failed over the years, as the explorers got lost in the dense wilderness.
After a great deal of preparation, including mapping and logistics, L.E.M.U.R. organized a team to search the area for lost artifacts and to reach the apparent cave. The expedition finally left the morning of Sunday, April 2, 2006. We were divided into two groups, a base camp for GPS guidance (Gold Team) led by Joshua P. Warren and a survey team to conduct the ground search (Blue Team) led by Micah Hanks. Each team was composed of the following:
1. Micah Hanks
2. Brian Irish
3. Casey Fox
4. Caleb Hanks
5. Corey Fox
6. Jay Zgavec
7. Jessica Zgavec
8. Agnes Cheek
With commendable efficiency, over dangerous ground, in a period of 6-7 hours on foot, the Blue Team reached the cave (3,316 feet) and returned safely to Base Camp (2475 feet) with only scratches and a few insect bites.
The cave was actually quite small and narrow. They approximate its opening was around 2-3 feet tall and it descended around 10-15 feet into the mountain. Unfortunately, they found no petroglyphs or artifacts inside. Though we doubt this is the "cave of Judaculla," at least we have solved one mystery. We know what was inside THAT cave! There are probably many more to be explored in the area, and we sincerely thank Jerry Parker and Glenda Bell for giving us permission to conduct this research on their private properties.
We next hope to arrange a valuable excavation of the area, at our own expense, with the permission of Jackson County.