Cave Inscriptions Shed Light on Cherokee History, Religion and Culture

Posted on May 15, 2019 6:33 am

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April 30, 1828: A group of Cherokee men gathered inside a cave near present-day Fort Payne, Alabama, for a secret ritual before a game of stickball. To record the event, team leaders inscribed words and phrases on the cave walls, using a writing system invented by the Cherokee visionary Sequoyah. In a recent article in the British academic journal Antiquity, “Talking Stones: Cherokee syllabary in Manitou Cave, Alabama,” Cherokee and non-Native scholars interpret the inscriptions, explaining the significance of the ancient game. “The early Cherokee were really smart,” said Beau Duke Carroll, co-author and member of the Eastern Band of