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More precious elements than gold have recently been found near Pickens

PICKENS — Yes, gold has been found not only in Pickens County but within the city limits of Pickens itself. At the current price of nearly $1,300 per ounce, just finding a little of the precious glitter would please most people.

According to a news flash in a local newspaper, “Mr. W.A. Lesley has discovered gold on his place lying partly inside the corporate limits of Pickens.”

Sadly no, not recently. This was reported on Thursday, May 30, 1878.
Secondly, “a glittering array of diamonds were discovered west across the Keowee, at a new community called Seneca City,” according to another article on Thursday, June 16, 1881.
Yes, the beautiful, ice blue mountains of Pickens County surely have their share of glittering gold and silver deposits.

Another article notes on Thursday, October 14, 1897, that, “Mr. Joseph C. Dodgens says he has a rich gold and silver mine on his land on the headwaters of Cane Creek in Pickens County. His post office is Hazel, SC.”

And lastly, another local paper said on September 2, 1897, “Mr. W.S. Kirksey is building a mine on the Easley Road (now S.C. 8) south of Pickens, has hired a mineralogist and indications are there is gold there.”

Now while gold and diamonds are extremely precious in today’s monetary world, Pickens County has just recently been found to be the depository of something far more valuable, especially in our world of culture and our history of human civilization down through the ages — the fantastic storehouse of Native American petroglyphs that have been discovered here. In other words, prehistoric, primitive art carved into stone.

And there could be far more examples of this rare stone art as we look closer in the future at sites we already know contain many drawings in stone revealed more precisely in “Discovering South Carolina’s Rock Art.” This new book by retired SC Archaeologist Tommy Charles is now available and is a must for anyone interested in the almost unbelievable wealth of artwork done through the early ages of man’s civilization right here in Pickens County and the entirety of our Palmetto Upstate.

The book, loaded with photographs and lucid descriptions of various primitive artworks, where and how it can be easily seen, is a “great find” for all South Carolinians, thanks to Charles. He plainly discusses the wonderful storehouse of petroglyphs existing now in the upstate, especially the recent find at Hagood Mill just above Pickens. Here are so many petroglyphs in one location that plans are under way to build a permanent museum there to protect them forever. Right on our doorstep? Can you believe that?
Charles says there could be other undiscovered sites across the upstate as well, and that should any of our readers think they have found examples of “Rock Art,” they can contact him via e-mail at tommy.charles601@gmail.com or Dr. Terry Ferguson at Wofford College: fergta@gmail.com.

The price for the 127 page, 7”x 10 ½” book is $29.95 plus tax. Copies can be purchased at the Pickens County History Museum in downtown Pickens or at the Hagood Mill State Historical Site store, Poor Richard’s Books in Easley or online from the publishers, The University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC 29208, or at e-mail www.sc.edu/uscpress.


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