Missouri cave paintings give ancient insight--near Columbia

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Missouri cave paintings give ancient insight--near Columbia

Postby Ernie Coffman » Jun 21, 2009 11:18 am

Just about an hour away from Columbia, you'll find this cave, and the story here is interesting to say the least.

Archaeology/Remains - Sites Uncovered/Locations
By Michael Gibney
Columbia, Missouri (AP) 9-08

The story begins, as many do, with curiosity.

About 20 years ago, two men exploring a place known as Picture Cave found paintings on the rock walls and sent hand-drawn reproductions to archaeologists Jim Duncan and Carol Diaz-Granados.

“These things are fake!” Duncan remembered thinking at the time.As it turned out, the nature and location of the drawings contradicted widely held beliefs about Mississippian culture.

The figures on the walls of the cave in east-central Missouri now provide crucial details of the prehistoric timeline of the region. And there’s recent evidence that the paintings in Picture Cave predate the Cahokia Mounds as the birthplace of what archaeologists refer to as the Mississippian period.

According to archaeological records, the Mississippian period saw the creation of some of the first large towns and city centers north of Mexico. The conventional belief has been that this period started around 1050 A.D., but the drawings in Picture Cave indicate the period began earlier and in a different location.

http://indiancountrynews.net/index.php? ... &Itemid=72
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Re: Missouri cave paintings give ancient insight--near Columbia

Postby John Lovaas » Jun 23, 2009 10:25 am

Dawn and I attended a talk at the Art Institute of Chicago last year on that cave. Or at least I think it was this cave; it was named Picture Cave(how many Picture Caves does MO have? A few, I bet), and they were looking at the relationship between the art in that cave and Great Plains and Cahokia themes. Very cool stuff.

I've always been impressed by the reach and scope of the Cahokia culture. They had an outpost near Madison, Wisconsin! I had an archaeology professor at SIU who mused (and this was in the early '80s, so a lot of new data is on the table) that if you looked at Cahokia itself, as well as the surrounding 'suburbs' that supported it in the American Bottoms, you might have had a total population of 250,000 people. Even without these 'suburb' population estimates, Cahokia was probably the most populous city on the planet for hundreds of years, if not a thousand years.
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Re: Missouri cave paintings give ancient insight--near Columbia

Postby Dangerjudy » Jun 23, 2009 8:59 pm

Any weblinks to photos of the art? I would love to see some!
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Re: Missouri cave paintings give ancient insight--near Columbia

Postby Teresa » Jun 24, 2009 9:03 pm

Dangerjudy wrote:Any weblinks to photos of the art? I would love to see some!

No weblinks I know of, but you can buy The Petroglyphs and Pictographs of Missouri by Carol Diaz-Granados (U of Alabama) and see some of them, including the water monster Mishupishu (a piasa) in the cave. It is truly the strangest Amerindian image I've ever seen-- the eyes follow you, just like some of the Renaissance portraits do. I've got drawings of the thunderbird, frog, and a couple geometrics from the walls on a rawhide rattle I made. No, I don't have any photographs. It's a place where photographs can't really capture what is there. The images will take the civilization right off you if you let it raise the chill hackles on your neck to begin with. Diaz=Granados and Duncan's work on the ethnology is really, really fascinating, and it's the real deal. No Hollywood need apply.
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