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The "Marked Rock" in Manchester, KY
Page 1: The Rock


[image ALT: A more or less rectangular boulder, appearing to be sandstone, and measuring roughly 1.5 meters high, 7 meters long and 0.8 meter thick; it sits under an open metal shed in a small chain-link enclosure on a well-tended plot of grass with trees in the background. It is an overall view of the so‑called 'Marked Rock' in Manchester, Kentucky (central eastern United States).]

On December 7, 1994, the large chunk of sandstone you see here broke off from its cliff and fell on Kentucky State Highway 66 near Eriline, a small settlement in Clay County. Two days later, the boulder found a new home in this park in the county seat of Manchester, in a straight line of sight from the front door of City Hall, about a hundred yards away. Not very many people in town are aware of it; when asking directions, ask for the town hall and fire department.

It was not just any rock. Just five years before, in September 1989, it had been listed as #89001183 on the National Register of Historic Places, as the Red Bird River Shelter Petroglyphs (15CY52). Measuring about 6 meters long, 1.5 meters tall, and maybe 80 cm thick, the rock bears several dozen incised markings, clearly artificial; and for some time — just how long is one of the many open questions — had been known to local people.

We need not see any hanky-panky in the fact that the Eriline rock broke off so soon after being listed in the Register, after having weathered the location for millennia; but if you are inclined to suspicion, go ahead, indulge yourself: in dealing with the unknown, a healthy dose of it does no harm. . . .

Before giving you opinions and commentary — whether mine or those of others — here are my best views of this curious rock. The four overlapping photos that follow cover all the markings to be seen on it, from left to right. The grey paint is modern: we notice that it has been used to line out no more than a third of the markings, if that.


[image ALT: zzz. It is a segment of the so‑called 'Marked Rock' in Manchester, Kentucky (central eastern United States).]

[image ALT: zzz. It is a segment of the so‑called 'Marked Rock' in Manchester, Kentucky (central eastern United States).]

[image ALT: zzz. It is a segment of the so‑called 'Marked Rock' in Manchester, Kentucky (central eastern United States).]

[image ALT: zzz. It is a segment of the so‑called 'Marked Rock' in Manchester, Kentucky (central eastern United States).]

In page 2, we'll look at the markings from a bit closer; reserving page 3 for the theories.


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Page updated: 20 Aug 06