Bushberg-Meissner Rock Art Site (23JE367)

This important rock art site is situated along the banks of the Mississippi River in Jefferson County, Missouri. The site is situated on private property and is not open to the public.

Only one petroglyph as "out of the water" during December of 2015. It is very water worn, but appears to be a bent arm figure with a possible lightning trail leading out of it. The petroglyph is between the meter scale and the mud.

Petroglyph outlined in yellow using photoshop based upon a tracing made on clear plastic sheeting.

Only one petroglyph as "out of the water" during December of 2015. It is very water worn, but appears to be a bent arm figure with a possible lightning trail leading out of it. Scale is 20 cm.

Outline in yellow (using Photoshop) of the one petroglyph "out of the water" during December of 2015. It is very water worn, but appears to be a bent arm figure with a possible lightning trail leading out of it. Scale is 20 cm.

The site was reported to the Archaeological Survey of Missouri by Benedict Ellis and Frank Magre in 1968. Color slides were taken of the rock art when the site was visited in 1977 by Vernon J. Suche, a member of the St. Louis Society of the Archaeological Institute of America. Warren Suche graciously donated his father's slide collection to the St. Louis Society for research purposes. The 1977 fieldtrip to the site was organized by the Mayan Society of St. Louis.

Digital outlines of the footprint and cupules on one of the 18 boulders at the site. Diaz-Granados (1993:465) notes that the motifs at the site include cupules, pit and groove, serpents, anthromorphs, human foot, concentric circle, outlined cross, spinning cross, bi-lobed arrow and spiral. The boulder with the footprint and cupules also has a very distinct vulva petroglyph. Ellis (1969:52-58) published a description of the site in the Central States Archaeological Journal.


Drawing of the footprint published by Ellis (1969).

One of the most significant petroglyphs at the Bushberg-Meissner site is a spinning cross (also called a broken cross or swastika) and an outlined cross. This image (a digital scan from a slide taken by Suche) shows chalk outlining of the spinning cross and outlined cross. This practice is no longer approved for documenting rock art site.

Drawing of the swastika and outlined cross published by Ellis (1969).

One of the boulders at the site is decorated with a meandering pattern that could be interpreted as serpents. Another possibility is that it represents the pattern of the Mississippi River. It is important to note that the Bushberg-Meissner rock art site is very similar to the Commerce rock art site in terms of iconography and its situation along the banks of the Mississippi River.

Drawing of cupules at the Bushberg-Meissner rock art site published by Ellis (1969).

Drawing of a open hand figure at the Bushberg-Meissner rock art site published by Ellis (1969).

Photograph of a human figure that Ellis (1969) suggested could be a shaman at the Bushberg-Meissner rock art site.

Location of a decorated boulder along the west bank of the Mississippi River. This site can only be visited during months when the river is very low.

Location of a decorated boulder along the west bank of the Mississippi River during December of 2015.

Boulders with petroglyphs just below the water behind Professor Michael Fuller during December of 2015.
A thousand thanks to Eric Smith, President of the Three Rivers Chapter of the Missouri Archaeological Society, for his assistance locating and photographing the site. Thanks to Jeffrey Chosid for being part of the fieldwork and trying to get drone photography of the site.


Bibliography


Diaz-Granados, Carol
1993 The Petroglyphs and Pictographs of Missouri - a distributional, stylistic, contextual, temporal and functional analysis of the State's Rock Art. Unpublished dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis.

Diaz-Granados, Carol and James R. Duncan
2000 The Petroglyphs and Pictographs of Missouri. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.
2004 Reflections of Power, Wealth, and Sex in Missouri Rock-Art Motifs. The Rock-Art of Eastern North America: Capturing Images and Insights. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa

Duncan, James R. and Carol Diaz-Granados
2004 Empowering the SECC: The "Old Woman" and Oral Tradition. The Rock-Art of Eastern North America: Capturing Images and Insights. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.

Ellis, Benedict
1969 Rock art in Missouri: a new discovery. Central State Archaeological Journal 16(2):52 - 58.


Designed by Neathery and Michael Fuller,
St. Louis Community College
Webpage created 16 October 2015
Webpage updated 16 December 2015