The Petroglyphs Path project’s mission is to provide a comprehensive, digital archive of the historic petroglyphs on the summit trail of Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain is located approximately 16 miles East of Atlanta, Georgia and rises over 800 feet above the surrounding Piedmont landscape. The Summit Trail is littered with hundreds of petroglyphs – text and imagery that were carved by hand into the face of the mountain. Time, the elements, soil deposition, and foot traffic inevitably impact the petroglyphs, and they are slowly eroding – many are illegible or have disappeared completely. The Petroglyphs Path project was created to digitally preserve the petroglyphs in perpetuity. Petroglyphs recorded on the Summit trail date from the 1860s to the present. 650 petroglyphs were recorded during the survey.


Each petroglyph was recorded and geotagged using an android-based data collection system and Qstarz 818XT GPS data loggers.

Petroglyphs consisting of text were noted to the best of the surveyor’s ability, with care taken to match case and punctuation. Fragmented records were indicated with underscores (“___”) to indicate the presence of illegible text. Conditions of the petroglyphs were recorded as “well defined,” “eroded,” or “indistinct/severely eroded” based on legibility.

Each petroglyph’s height (measured parallel to the trail) and width (measured perpendicular to the trail) were recorded in centimeters. Orientation was recorded as uphill (with the ascent of the trail), downhill (with the descent of the trail) or oblique (facing away from the trail in either direction).

Each petroglyph was photographed with and without a centimeter scale, and additional photographs were taken as needed for large or clustered petroglyphs. If petroglyphs could not be photographed individually due to the proximity of other petroglyphs, the record indicates a cluster where multiple petroglyphs were recorded as a single line item. Petroglyphs that obscure or intrude on another were noted as overlapping.

The Stone Mountain Petroglyph survey was initiated by Matthew Tankersley in December, 2017. Pam Enlow took over the project in January, 2017. The survey was completed in April, 2017 with the gracious help of New South Associates employees and volunteers. 

Thanks to:

New South Associates, Inc. for time, manpower and equipment and The Modern Heritage Foundation for image hosting.

Surveyors Jared Aguayo, Summer Ciomek, Fray DeVore, David Diener, Katie Dykens, Sara Gale, Robbie Jones, Joe Joseph, Michael McCaffery, Scott Morris, Sydney Schoof, Cori Rich, Erin Smith, Patrick Sullivan, Matthew Tankersley and Ellen Turco.

Naomi Thompson, Education Supervisor, Stone Mountain Memorial Association, for coordinating access to Stone Mountain Park.

Fray DeVore for design aid, Josh Blackmon for technical support and Matthew Tankersley for eagerly passing the project off.