This petrographic site is located at the area identified as (44AR6) on the Potomac River. It lies approximately 35 meters south of the confluence of Gulf Branch and the Potomac River. The site was first reported to Scott Silsby by his father in the 1950s. The area was used for quarrying stone for buildings in the early days of the federal city. Since its location and age remain to be studied, the site has not been named or given a state site number.

 This site’s geography is the same as the Difficult Run Rockart site, which was reported in Hranicky (2001). Both sites occupy high elevation overlooking the flow of the river. Both have ledges around the site. Both sites are located in Pleistocene stream beds that have cut the stream channel to the Potomac River. And, both glyph panels are on large flat rock faces. Difficult Run’s glyphs are on metaquartzite. Gulf Branch’s glyphs are located on a meta(hard) schist.

Site Description:

The Gulf Branch panel consists of four stick-like designs. The design appears to be character rather than zoomorphic as would be expected in a Native American context. The glyph panel measures 2 ¼ inches wide by 1 ¾ inches high. The glyph panel is located approximately 115 feet above the river. Glyphs are located 18 inches down and 62 inches from the bottom of the boulder. The panel is located on the northwest side.

Williams Cave, Bath County, Virginia

 Sheppard’s Rock

Difficult Run Petroglyph Site, Virginia, Fairfax County, Virginia

The Harrison County Petroglyph Site (46H51) was investigated by the Virginia Rockart Survey in 1995 and reported in the ASV Quarterly Bulletin. It was first published by Holmes (1890) with work by Mayer-Oakes (1955), Norona (1955), and James Swauger (1975). The site is a winter solstice site or ceremonial site. The site contained three deer/dog glyphs, snake glyph, and miscellaneous glyphs. The cave is 5 meters deep, 6.5 meters long, and 1.5 meters high.

A, B, C, & D = Incised designs, parts of a slab on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, Page County. Designs overlap, but are separated here.

Reference: Harter, J. C. (1966) Incised Sandstone Slab from Page County. ASV Quarterly Bulletin, Vol. 21, No. 2.

 E = Design on top of a top of a pipe bowl from Goochland County.

Reference: McCary, Ben C. (1968) An Unusual Engraved Amulet Found In Virginia. ASV Quarterly Bulletin, Vol. 23, No. 1.

 From: Data Sheet No. 110, Paul Cresthull (1975)

Human Art Forms

Located in Nottoway County, the Little Mountain Pictograph Site (44NT13) is a winter solstice observation site. It was recorded and published by the Virginia Rockart Survey (Hranicky 1992). The glyphs are located inside a cave or shallow shelter. The glyphs are in shadow all year except during the winter solstice. The sun travels far enough south to illuminate the inside of the wall containing the glyphs. The site probably dates post-1400 AD and is Mississippian. Site was initially recorded by Howard MacCord on 12-18-1989. Cave measures 12.5 feet across the mouth, and 12.5 feet to the interior wall. Height is approximately 8 feet.

The hand glyph occurs also at Short Mountain, Spout Run, and the sun (?) glyph occurs at Paint Lick Mountain.

Dale Collins Chalking A Glyph

Infrared Photograph

Gary Eyler showing glyphs – he monitors the site year round (November 2009). He discovered the site.

Little Mountain Pictograph Site, Nottoway County, Virginia

Jack Hranicky with Site Drawings

Gulf Branch Petroglyph Site

Site is a small shelter cave on a bluff overlooking the left bank of the Nottoway River. It is 3.6 miles SSW of Blackstone. Cave is south-facing at base of rocky pinnacle, known locally as Little Mountain. Site overlooks a broad floodplain, and hills to the north are at the same level as the shelter. Area is presently wooded.

Harrison County Petroglyphs, West Virginia

Left: Herbert J. Moore

and right: Jamer L. Swauger (1970s)

Description: depth, soil, collecting conditions. The glyphs have been drawn with the fingers on a thin veneer of mud over a rock face. They occur in two areas or levels. The glyphs consist of curvilinear and rectangular designs. Carbon 14 dates on material on the floor indicate that the cave was entered by prehistoric people during the 10-11 centuries A.D.


N 38° 05’ 37”W 79° 39’ 08”

Sheppard’s Rock was reported by James Sheppard of Roanoke in 1916. It has a site number of 44MY419. Members of the ASV, Dan Vogt. Elizabeth Paul, and David Rotenizer, were able to locate it; however, the Rockart Survey investigated the area three times and were unable to locate it. Reportedly, it is on the North bank of Stroubles Creek, Prices Fork section in Montgomery County (USGS Quad Blacksburg). It is north of Moon Hollow. It is considered to be historic rockart.

The rockart section contains the following pages:

Rockart at Difficult Run Petroglyph Site (44FX2380) is an ethnographic example of a tool assembly of the atlatl (hook and board) and spear (point and shaft). For a site report, see Hranicky (2001). Rockart sites are another example of Indian sacred places. Glyphs are very difficult to photograph. The panel is composed of four glyphs.

Gary Eyler (Alexandria) found the site in 1983. He reported it to the National Park Service in 1986, The Survey became involved with it shortly thereafter.

 No artifacts have been found on the site, but two Halifax points and one Piscataway point have been found near the site.

Williams Cave (44BA477) is a rockart site in a cave in Bath County, Virginia. It is a ceremonial site that has radiocarbon dates of 950-1240, 1000-1240, and 1020-1260 AD (Simek, et al. 2004). Robert Strukenrath of the Smithsonian Lab reported 890 +/-70 and 955 +/- 75 in 1083. The glyphs are drawn with fingers on mud walls of the cave. They occur in two areas of the cave. Color slides are available at the DHR. Initially reported by William Boyer and Charles Faulkner (1979 and 1982).