Bourbeuse site (23FR152)

A pictograph site under a shallow overhang along the Bourbeuse River was discovered by R. Bruce McMillan during 1963. The site is situated on private property and is not open to the public.



Professor Neathery Fuller (far right) discusses the pictographs with the property owners under the shallow shelter at the site. The red pictograph of the eagle can be seen on the right quarter of the photograph.



Red pictograph of the eagle. Cathy Spahn (World Bird Sanctuary, St. Louis) suggests that the chevron pattern in the tail fathers could indicate a juvenile (2 to 3 year old) Bald Eagle or Golden Eagle.



Side by side comparison of the 1963 photograph and the 2014 photograph of the Eagle. R. Bruce McMillan surveyed and conducted test excavations for the University of Missouri - Columbia under a National Park Service contract during the fall, winter, and spring of 1963-1964. The research was in conjunction with the proposed Union Reservoir on the Bourbeuse River. The reservoir was not constructed.



DStretch image using the YRE enhancement of the eagle. The DStretch plugin to the ImageJ program was written by Jon Harman for rock art researchers who wish to enhance images of pictographs. The talons extended and hackles showing depict an "Eagle Striking" in the sense of an Eagle in the process of attacking.



DStretch image using the YRE enhancement and labels for chevron tail feathers, back head feathers, face and talons. The raised feathers on the back of the head are called "hackles" and they will show when a bird is defending its food or attacking.


The second distinct pictograph at the site has been identified as a snake. It is situated 1.2 meters above the sloping ground surface.



DStretch image using the YRE enhancement of the snake. A second, snake-like pictograph is situated above the sinous snake.



Closeup of the Dstretch image usring the YRE enhancement of the snake appears to show wings.



Closeup of the DStretch image usring the YRE enhancement of the snake with labels. The possibility of feathers was hinted in the ink rendering by Carol Diaz-Granados (1993:31, Figure 6.1b) based upon R. Bruce McMillan's slide photograph. Winged serpent imagery is rare, but has been documented at a few sites. Two interesting parallels are broken shell cups from Spiro Mound in Oklahoma.



Small red pictograph situated above and between the snake and eagle pictographs.



DStretch image using the YRE enhancement of the small red pictograph situated above and between the snake and eagle pictographs. I would appear to contain a 5 pointed "Asterisk" star and an "x" sign that have been smeared.



Red pictograph situated 7.6 meters west of the snake pictograph and situated 2.2 meters above the sloping ground surface.



DStretch image using the YRE enhancement of the red pictograph situated west of the snake pictograph.



Very faded red pictograph situated 13.2 meters west of the snake pictograph.



DStretch image using of the YRE enhancement of the very faded red pictograph situated 13.2 meters west of the snake pictograph.



Professor Michael Fuller (STLCC) photographs at the site. Photograph taken by Professor Neathery B. Fuller. The snake pictograph is visible to the right of the camera.

The Roubidoux site is discussed by Carol Diaz-Granados (1993:467, 531) and Diaz-Granados and Duncan (2000:57, 62, 129, 195, 197, Figure 6.3a and b). The style of the bird of prey and the snake clearly place it in the Middle Mississippi Period (ca. AD 1200 - 1450). The bird of prey pictograph stylistically resembles the Malden Plates (Chapman 1980: Figure 6-28).

Many thanks to Neathery B. Fuller for helping me relocate and photograph the site. Special thanks to the landowners for guiding me to the site. The research on the site was greatly aided by Dr. R. Bruce McMillan who shared his original photographs and notes from the site. Special thanks to Cathy Spahn, naturalist at the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, MO.

Chapman, Carl H.
1980 Archaeology of Missouri, II. University of Missouri Press, Columbia.

Diaz-Granados, Carol
1993 The Petroglyphs and Pictographs of Missouri: A Distributional, Stylistic, Contextual, Functional and Temporal Analysis of the State's Rock Graphics. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Washington University , St. Louis, Missouri.

Diaz-Granados, Carol and James R. Duncan
2000 The Petroglyphs and Pictographs of Missouri. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.



Webpage constructed 23 February 2014