In 1885, a Professor J F Brown of Berea College (Kentucky, USA) discovered a set of apparently human footprints among those of other creatures in a road cutting at Big Hill, Jackson County (also Kentucky). The deposit in which they were found was a limestone apparently dated to the Carboniferous Era; they were described as being “good-sized, toes well spread, and very distinctly marked” (A E Allen in The American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal 7 (1885), 39).

The real problem for this observation is that the prints of other creatures included some identified as a bear and something resembling a large horse; mammals did not exist at the time the deposit was supposedly laid down and one must ask whether they were definitely in the limestone or in a more recent but heavily compacted soil above it or even whether they were simulacra (natural objects that resemble other things) rather than genuine prints. Without an image of these footprints, we are left guessing.

Jackson County footprint petroglyph

A panel of petroglyphs at Peter Cave in Jackson County: a footprint can be seen near the centre. [Source]

Jackson County petroglyphs

There are petroglyphs in a rockshelter at Peter Cave in Jackson County that include “footprints”. The site is said to be south-east of Flat Top Church, on Peter Cave Branch, on the Parrot Quadrangle. There are two human prints, a bear track and bird prints in a panel that covers about a square metre. The “prints” are clearly carved, not impressions in the rock. Other markings could be taken for the footprints of different creatures, but there are also initials carved by visitors in recent times and marks superimposed over some of the “prints”. Although the petroglyphs were first officially discovered in May 1993, I wonder if these are the “prints” discovered by Professor Brown.