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"P" is for Petroglyphs

South Carolina from A to Z logo

"P" is for petroglyphs. Petroglyphs [rock carvings] and pictographs [drawings or paintings on rocks] are collectively referred to as “rock art.” The first example of rock art in South Carolina was a petroglyph discovered in Greenville County in 1979. In 1996, the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of South Carolina began an extensive survey of possible sites. The survey discovered forty-four additional petroglyph sites, thirty-three probable carvings, and three pictographs. Rock art has been discovered in Kershaw, Lexington, and Richland counties, but the great majority occurs in Greenville, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, and Spartanburg counties. The age of South Carolina’s prehistoric rock art have not been established. Not amenable to radiocarbon dating, their cultural placement remains speculative. The oldest historic rock art in the state dates to the late 18th century.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.