Detail View of Mining Tunnel
Last Updated: June 9th, 2013

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Concept by Robert S. 'Bo' Smith, Painting by Jerry Newton ( , Digital Image by Bo Smith

The mine site depicts a mining tunnel discovered in the early 1950s by modern day miners who were conducting "mucking" operations in a ravine at the aboriginal mining works at the Sink Hole Mica Mine in Mitchell County near Bakersville, North Carolina. The mucking (reworking previously mined area to find mica sheets left behind by the initial miners) was conducted by using a dozier to move material in the ravine which exposed the tunnel opening.. The tunnel was located in the side of a ravine that we believe had been worked by aboriginal miners about 2,000 years ago. The research documenting this will be discussed in the Back Story and Research webpage.  A pile of mica, twelve mine tools and an axe (hammer) head were found on the floor near the back wall near a "played out" mica vein in the mine tunnel.
Mica from the Sink Hole Mine has been found in the form of ornamental objects and in sheets of mica lining the inside of "burial mounds" of the Hopewell Tradition Native Americans in Ohio. We have added the Native American miner in the mining site of the painting.. The miner represents two possible viewpoints; either that local Native Americans were active traders with the Hopewell "Mound People" to the north in Ohio or that the Hopewells came to the area, set up temporary camps and did the mining themselves.  Archeological studies have been conducted in the past and are  currently underway which may determine which of these viewpoints is more likely.  The earring is made of copper and is Hopewell in origin.  The loin cloth may or may not have been worn.  The ankle high single piece moccasins are typical of the Mid-Woodland period.
 The painting is mixed media consisting of acrylic, oil, and natural materials.  High quality Muscovite Mica and highly weathered mica vein Feldspar and clay material from the Sink Hole Mine were used in the mine portion of the painting.

Hopewell"  Hand"

Hopewell ornamental mica   sculpture made out of Muscovite Mica mined in western North Carolina

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