A TWO-CAVE SYSTEM OF NATIVE AMERICAN POLYCHROME PAINTINGS, TOGETHER WITH 43 ACRES OF SURROUNDING LAND
Western Mississippian, present day Missouri, USA, 800-1100 CE
Understood to be an ancient hallowed site for sacred rituals, astronomical studies, oral tradition, vision quests, and described as “the most important rock art site in North America”. The two cave system boasts massive panels of over 290 prehistoric glyphs making it the largest collection of indigenous people’s polychrome paintings in Missouri. Considered to be one the most significant North American archeological sites, Picture Cave’s importance has been described by scholars as rivaling that of Cahokia and Chaco Canyon. The quantity and complexity of the wall images, like the renowned depiction of Red Horn, are unmatched compared to other prehistoric sites. For an extensive library of images and additional information related to Picture Cave, see the work of Professor Michael Fuller and the photography of Alan Cressler.
Picture Cave’s subterranean system is nestled within 43 acres of undeveloped land in Warrenton, MO. Primarily used as hunting grounds by the landowner family since 1953, the rolling hills are covered by a forested landscape and home to a variety of animal species and a natural spring.
Picture Cave is host to a rare indigenous colony of Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) which are listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Several educational institutions and biologists have interest in the study and recovery of the species. To learn more, visit the National Wildlife Foundation.
Literature: Picture Cave- Unraveling the Mysteries of the Mississippian Cosmos Authors: Carol Diaz-Granados is Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at Washington University, where she has taught for over thirty years. She is also Adjunct Professor at Webster University. James R. Duncan is an archaeologist and anthropologist who studies the Osage and Native American ethnography and is former Director of the Missouri State Museum. F. Kent Reilly III is Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Arts and Symbolism of Ancient America at Texas State University. Foreword by Patty Jo Watson. Photographer: Alan Cressler. Publisher: University of Texas Press; Illustrated edition (June 15, 2015). Hard back copy containing 360 pages | 8.5 x 11 | 269 black & white photos, 35 black & white illustrations, 26 color illustrations, 7 maps, 185 color photo
Interview with Bryan Laughlin & Amelia Jeffers on future stewardship of Picture Cave & auction
August 24, 2021
Explore the Land within which Picture Cave exists
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