Bushberg-Meissner Cave Rock Art Site (23JE627)

This important rock art site is situated inside the mouth of a tube cave 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.

The Bushberg-Meissner Cave site was reported to the Archaeological Survey of Missouri in 1968 by Father Benedict Ellis and Frank Magre. Photographs of the site were taken in 1977 by Vernon J. Suche, a member of the St. Louis Society of the Archaeological Institute of America. Warren Suche graviously donated his father's slide collection to the St. Louis Society for research purposes. The man with the hat making the hand gesture is Frank Magre. The fieldtrip to the site was organized in 1977 by the Mayan Society of St. Louis.

Suche's 1977 photograph records a faint red pictoraph on the north wall near the entrance of the tube cave. Carl Masthay (white shirt) is leaning against the north wall of the cave, next to the pictograph.

Suche's 1977 photograph records the female symbol on the south wall near the entrance of the tube cave.

Color image of the pictograph taken in 2015.

Enhanced image using DStretch of the pictograph.

Enchanced image using DStretch of the pictograph. How to explain the Sacred Cross symbol with an IHS inscription? I suspect that this pictograph was created in the 1700s by a Native American convert to Catholicism.

Carol Diaz-Granados (1993:464) reports that the cave includes both petroglyphs and one pictograph. She describes that a number of cupules and grooves are carved into the south wall near the entrance of the cave. A dominating motif among the pits and grooves is a prominent "female symbol."

Historic graffiti extending back to 1851. Some of these may relate to railroad work crews visiting the cave in the 1800s and 1900s.

Photograph of the cave passageway from the rock art towards the back of the cave - a distance of 14 meters.

The mouth of the tube cave is 2.3 meters above the level of the surrounding ground.
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 Unpublished dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis.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 Amereica: 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.




Designed by Neathery and Michael Fuller,
St. Louis Community College
Webpage created 16 October 2015
Webpage updated 15 December 2015