ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Rock Eagle Effigy Mound, Georgia
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Rock Eagle Effigy Mound, Georgia
Rock Eagle Effigy Mound
The famed Rock Eagle Effigy Mound is located near
Eatonton, Georgia. Built in the shape of a gigantic
bird, it is thought to be some 2,000 years old.
Rock Eagle Effigy Mound
One of at least two surviving
effigies near Eatonton, the
stunning mound is a Georgia
An Effigy of Stone
The amazing effigy rises
more than 8 feet high and is
more than 100 feet in both
width and length.
Tower at Rock Eagle
Visitors can ascend a unique
stone tower for a view of the
magnificent effigy from above.
Rock Eagle Effigy Mound - Eatonton, Georgia
Ancient History in Georgia Stone
2,000 Years of History
The massive effigy mound is
thought to have been built in
the shape of an eagle or
some other large bird by
people who lived in the area
some 2,000 years ago.
Just off U.S. Highway 441 north of Eatonton,
the famed Rock Eagle Effigy Mound is one of
Georgia's most stunning ancient landmarks.

Although there have been many theories over
the years, archaeologists currently believe
the massive effigy was build during the
Middle Woodland period, which is usually
dated to 100-300 A.D. and is one of only two
confirmed stone effigy mounds east of the
Mississippi River. The other, called the
Hawk or Little Rock Eagle Effigy, is located
east of Eatonton and is in Putnam County as

What prompted the early inhabitants of
Middle Georgia, who lived in a time long
before the rise of the later Mississippian,
Creek and Cherokee cultures, to build these
massive effigy mounds is still something of a
mystery. They obviously hold ceremonial
significance and the Rock Eagle seems to
have been expanded from a large dome-
shaped central mound.

Archaeological excavations into the mound
over the years have found a surprisingly
small number of artifacts other than the
stones from which it was built. A 1950s
research project did find a single quartz tool
a Rock Eagle, along with evidence of
cremated human burials in the mound.
Otherwise, the structure has revealed very
little about its intended purpose.

Early settlers of the region thought it might
cover some fantastic buried treasure and
dug into it from time to time, but 20th century
archaeologists found only that the eagle was
built atop a natural rock outcrop. Theories as
to the reasons for its construction currently
range from the need for some central burial
place by the ancient inhabitants of the area to
the possibility that the people of Rock Eagle
were sending a message to God.

Although dating of the mound remains
tentative (with some suggesting a much
older date), most scientists now concur that it
was probably built shortly after the time of
Christ. This was an era with earthen effigy
mounds were build in the Midwest in large
numbers. It should be noted, however, that
the earthworks at the much older
Point site in Louisiana also appear to form
the shape of a gigantic bird. That site is
thought to date back 3,000 years.

The people of Georgia and Putnam County in
particular have long had a commendable
interest in preserving the stunning effigy. As a
result, it became the focus of a public works
project during the Great Depression.
Workers from the Civilian Conservation
Corps (CCC) restored the mound and built
the beautiful stone tower that now overlooks
it, as well as walkways and other features.
A unique aspect of the walkways around the
mound is that historic grind stones from
gristmills were included in spots.

The stone tower build by the CCC workers in
the 30s provides a stunning view of the Rock
Eagle and is a must for anyone visiting the
site, although the stairs can be strenuous. A
paved pathway circles the effigy and there are
interpretive panels to explain the significance
of the site. The park is beautifully maintained.

The Rock Eagle Effigy is surrounded by Rock
Eagle 4H Center, built during the 1950s and
thought to be the largest such 4H center in
the world.  Access is designed, however, so
that visitors can tour the Rock Eagle Effigy
without disrupting or intruding upon the
activities of the young men and women at the

To reach the Rock Eagle Effigy Mound from
downtown Eatonton, take combined U.S.
Highways 441 and 129 north for 6.7 miles
and turn left on Rock Eagle Road at the
entrance to Rock Eagle 4-H Center. Travel for
.7 miles to the first paved road to the right.
Turn right and then watch for the first paved
road to your left, which leads to the effigy. The
route is well-marked.

There is no cost to visit and the site is open
to the public during normal business hours.
Copyright 2010 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
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