Prehistoric Petroglyphs of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana

Adrianne, Ohio Bigfoot Research Manager

The Indian Burial Mounds are the most common known monuments of the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana’s Native American history, but throughout the states are mysterious images that have been carved into the soft rock surfaces. They are fascinating images of animals, humans, mythical creatures and geometric designs. These are called petroglyphs. Petroglyphs are designs that have been carved, chiseled or chipped into soft rocks. 

Since most of these state’s rocks are soft sandstones and limestones, most of the early prehistoric petroglyphs would have been worn away from the wind and rain. Only those that were protected from the elements have survived. Most documented petroglyphs in this area belong to the late prehistoric period. Most symbols that are commonly found relate to spiritual beliefs and are still recognized by the Native Americans today.

In Ohio there are fifty- six locations of such rock art, Kentucky has an estimate of twenty and Indiana has two known thus far. Most of these sites are only known to professional archaeologist and the locals of the area.

In Ohio there is one such petroglyph location that may hold the interest of the Bigfoot researchers, The Barnesville Petroglyphs in Belmont County. At this location there is a large boulder that has a total of 115 different designs. There are 73 which have been determined to be the tracks of various animals and birds that the Indians would have encountered in that region. There are also 12 geometric designs which are common of the Native American petroglyph sites of that region. There are 5 human faces which have noses and 16 human –like foot prints. Noses on the faces are not common in other petroglyphs of the region. There are other designs such as snakes, outstretched animal pelts, and some yet to be determined. The Native Americans were obviously carving the track prints of all the animals that they had seen in the woodlands around them. My guess would be that it may have been a teaching tool of sorts for those learning to hunt. Could the human-like footprints also have been something they had seen in the woodlands around them? Could they be ancient evidence of Bigfoot’s existence?

There are petroglyphs of human-like footprints scattered throughout Ohio and Kentucky. The number of toes and the sizes vary. The petroglyph found in Powell County Kentucky only has 4 toes on each foot.(figure 1.)

The pictograph located in Edmonson Kentucky is also very interesting. (figure 2) A pictograph is different from petroglyphs. It is a design that has been painted on the rock surface instead of carved. Most that still exist today are found in caves or in area that they were protected from the elements.

There is also another fascinating pictograph that I would like to mention even though it is not in the tri-state region. This particular pictograph is located at the Tulle River Indian Reservation in California. It is of a Bigfoot or “Hairy Man” family. It has an adult male, female and a baby Bigfoot. The Indian lore that has been passed thru the generations confirms this fact. They were all painted with the colors of black, white, yellow and red. There are no other known pictographs of this kind.(figure 3)

(Note: A special thanks to our partners at Kentucky Bigfoot for the use of their photos. (figures 1 & 2))