City officials search for answers in Cooke Foundation mystery stones

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By Kallie Drake (staff writer)

City of Madison groundskeepers noticed something unusual inside Cooke Fountain in Town Park on Monday, December 22. Going about their normal cleaning activities, the groundskeepers did not anticipate uncovering two round pieces of granite that, according to them, appeared to be placed carefully in the pool of the fountain.

Etched on both sides of one of the granite pieces is the seal of the state of Georgia. The other piece includes the same double-sided etching, only with the seal of the Georgia Department of Agriculture instead.

City of Madison officials and the Madison Police Department have reached out to local sources and to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and no one seems to know where these pieces came from or how they got in the Cooke Fountain.

“We’re just trying to find out where they came from. We aren’t sure if maybe someone is trying to donate them or what, but we want to decide what to do with them,” said city manager David Nunn.

Nunn also stated that the pieces are essentially flawless and were obviously expensive to make. Police Chief Bill Ashburn noted that the pieces appear to have been professionally done and made for display in a place where both sides would be visible since the etchings of the seals are featured on both sides of each piece.

Ashburn spoke with Commissioner Gary Black of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and Black was unfamiliar with the pieces. The police have checked locally, and they currently have no leads on where the pieces came from.

Everyone that hears about the uncovering of these pieces seems puzzled by their sudden appearance, begging the question of how long they may have gone unnoticed in the fountain. The fact that they are perfectly intact and show no signs of wear and tear have those involved mind-boggled and stumped on what their purpose might be.

The discovery of these granite pieces can be compared to what is often referred to as an “American Stonehenge”, the Georgia Guidestones monument. Standing over 19 feet tall, these six slabs of granite are found in Elbert County, Georgia with 10 engravings translated into several different languages. These inscriptions include ideas on how an ideal society should operate and what it would be composed of.

Maybe Madison’s “Great Stonehenge Mystery” will not necessarily create a perfect society, but the police department is eager to find out how the pieces got there and what to do with them, potentially including returning them to wherever they belong.

“We currently do not have any leads, so if anyone has any information about the pieces, they can contact the police department, and we would be glad to return them,” said Ashburn.

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