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Jeffers Petroglyphs to be featured at CCHS event

The Jeffers Petroglyphs sign is shown in this undated photograph. (Submitted Photo)

By Samantha Casper, Daily Globe

WINDOM -- What better way to celebrate Archaeology Week than by exploring a piece of Minnesota history?

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The Cottonwood County Historical Society (CCHS) will host a two-night event tonight and Thursday featuring the Jeffers Petroglyphs. Tom Sanders and Charles Broste, who are both employed at Jeffers Petroglyphs, will lead the event, scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight and 6 p.m. Thursday.

The Jeffers Petroglyphs are comprised of historical rock carvings and located in the midst of 160 acres of native and historical prairie. Carved on Sioux Quartzite, the older petroglyphs date back 7,000 years, while as the newest are around 150 years old.

There are more than 5,000 American Indian carvings, with 3,000 just uncovered in the past two to three years, Sanders explained. After years of studies, to ensure there would be no harm done to the 300-plus species living on the prairie, archeologists have been able to remove the lichens covering the newly found carvings. There have been multiple spears, spiritual and ceremonial carvings seen, but the newly uncovered petroglyphs include elk, which had never been viewed.

"Jeffers Petroglyphs really is the place of Minnesota history," Sanders said. "It's a place for all of us to touch our roots. Whether we're Native American or not, it's a part of who we all are. The petroglyphs are historical and spiritual recordings, and still to the day a place of prayer."

Tonight's event in the CCHS meeting room will feature an illustrated lecture on the carvings found in the past year. A guided tour to showcase the petroglyphs will be Thursday.

The event is free and open to the public. The Cottonwood County Historical Society is located at 812 Fourth Ave., Windom, and the Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site is three miles east of U.S. 71 on Cottonwood County 10, then one mile south on Cottonwood County 2.