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Jeffers Petroglyphs
27160 County Road 2
Comfrey, MN 56019

Hours

Memorial Day Weekend-Labor Day:
Mon 10 am-5 pm
Wed-Sat 10 am-5 pm
Sun Noon-5 pm
 
Open Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day, 10 am-5 pm
 
September:
Sat 10 am-5 pm
 
Call for group tours.

Admission

  • $7 adults
  • $6 seniors and college students
  • $5 children ages 6-17
  • Free for children age 5 and under and MNHS members.

Contact

507-628-5591

2015 Sep 1

Weather Forecast
 

Archaeology

Petroglyphs are images carved on a rock face. The word comes from the Greek "petra" meaning stone and "glyphe," meaning carving. Petroglyphs are found worldwide.

Careful study and interpretation of the carvings at Jeffers had identified approximately 2,000 individual petroglyphs on a part of the rock face 50 yards wide and 300 yards long. Adjoining rock was covered with lichen, an organism that is part alga, which needs sunlight to make food, and a fungus that anchors itself to the rock. 

Beginning in 2006, a plan was made that would naturally remove the lichen with the least impact on the petroglyphs that might be underneath. The effort took more than five summer seasons and included covering the lichen with sun-blocking black plastic membranes, removing their source food via sunlight, and removing dead lichens with careful and repetitive mopping. 

The outcome? The number of identified carvings at Jeffers Petrglyphs more than doubled, from 2,000 to 5,000.

Collections

The Minnesota Historical Society contracted with the University of Minnesota's Evolutionary Anthropology Lab in 2011 to scan a portion of the petroglyphs using zero impact white light. The resulting 3-D images form a unique collection that helps preserve the story of the petroglyphs. Legacy funds allowed staff to catalog the 2,117 images and make them accessible as master digital files at the historic site and through the Society's Collections Online.
 
A new website is now available that provides information about the history of the petroglyphs and the various ways they've been interpreted and documented over the years. The images of individual carvings will serve as an archival record, a research and conservation resource and an educational tool. 
 
Learn more about the Society's Archaeology Collection.
 

Research

A research team is assembled at Jeffers Petroglyphs and is charged with gathering together to further the understanding of the people who interacted with the carvings, their history and culture, and the meanings of the carvings. Members are made up of Dakota, Arapahoe and Cheyenne elders, state and university archaeologists, and conservationists. 

Publications 

Related Resources

Red Rock Prairie by Nature Conservancy.

Rock Ridge Prairie by the DNR