History Etched in Rock at Jeffers Petroglyphs

By Explore Minnesota

Jeffers HandprintMinnesota's recorded history begins at Jeffers, where American Indians for thousands of years have traced life stories in rock carvings (petroglyphs). The Jeffers Petroglyphs site is marked by over 2,000 carved images of human figures, tools, and animals such as bison, salamanders, turtles, elk and thunderbirds.

The meaning of the petroglyphs is intriguing and unknowable, but the symbols and stories suggest this was a sacred place, and it remains so for American Indians. The earliest carvings here are thought to be 7,000 to 9,000 years old, and the most recent were made about 250 years ago. Visitors can explore the ancient rocks and native prairie by following two nature trails with views of petroglyphs, prairie grasses, flowers, and a buffalo rub: Sioux Quartzite rock polished smooth over thousands of years by the rough coats of buffalo.

A site guide provides tours, and the visitor center offers hands-on exhibits and a multimedia presentation. Family programs explore American Indian culture, prairies, and archaeology. A sheltered picnic area is available. Jeffers Petroglyphs is open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, Thursday through Monday. Jeffers Petroglyphs is located in the southwest countryside between Redwood Falls and Windom. Check the website for hours, admission fees, programs, and directions.

Jeffers Petroglyphs is one of more than twenty sites and museums that are managed by the Minnesota Historical Society.

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