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Newly translated Cherokee cave writings reveal sacred messages


Added 04-16-19 09:16:01am EST - “Cherokee inscriptions highlight the tribe's rituals nearly 200 years ago in what's now a tourist cave in Alabama.” - Sciencenews.org

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Sciencenews.org: “Newly translated Cherokee cave writings reveal sacred messages”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

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TEAM SPIRIT  A Cherokee inscription inside an Alabama cave likely refers to rituals conducted in 1828 before a spiritually significant athletic contest similar to modern-day lacrosse, researchers say.

Shortly before being forced out of their homeland in the 1830s, Cherokee people of the southeastern United States left written accounts on cave walls of secretive rituals. Now researchers have translated some of those messages from long ago.

Cherokee inscriptions in Alabama’s Manitou Cave, now a popular tourist destination, describe religious ceremonies and beliefs using written symbols for 85 syllables — enough sounds to replicate the Cherokee spoken language. Cherokee scholar Sequoyah devised this writing system not long before his tribe’s banishment down the Trail of Tears, a series of forced relocations of Native Americans to the west.

An historian and a cave photographer first recognized the inscriptions, some of which are written in charcoal, in 2006. A team led by archaeologist Beau Duke Carroll of the Tribal Historic Preservation Office of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, N.C., describes what the writing says in the April Antiquity.

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