Michael Fuller

Three mace petroglyphs photographed in 1979.


Three maces, bird track and ballpayer petroglyphs photographed in 1979.


Thunderbird with open beak. Photographed 29 June 2022 (a few days after summer solstice).


Wyatt (n.d.: 10) reports he recovered, in 1959, pottery sherds belonging to a plate and a vertical walled bowl very close to the petroglyphs at Washington State Park B. He identified the plate as Powell Plain ware (dating from AD 1100 to 1275); the shell tempered sherds were found at a depth of 7 inches below the ground surface. A surface survey by Wyatt, a few feet away from the petroglyphs, also discovered material culture: 33 fragments of shell tempered pottery (St. Clair ware), the tip of a projectile point, several mussel shell fragments and numerous flint/quartzite waste flakes. It is possible that a Mississippian structure (house, temple/shrine) stood near the petroglyphs OR that offerings were brought to site and left on the exposed bedrock. Carol Diaz-Granados and Jim Duncan (2000:113) analyzed aspects of the Washington State Park Site. They identified the following themes in the rock art at the site: ceremony, games/sport, myths/oral tradition, fertility, and narrative.

Digitized sign board drawing. The original term for the scepter like images may have been something like the term ke-xtha-tse (Osage "war club") and the ball player image may have been described by a term such as Ta-be' Do-do (Osage "Ball warrior"). 


Map of the Site B (23WA020 petroglyphs installed in 2012 by the Department of Natural Resources.



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

Chapman, Carl H. and Eleanor F. Chapman
1964 Indians and Archaeology of Missouri. University of Missouri Press, Columbia.

Chapman, Carl H. and David R. Evans
1977 Investigations at the Lilbourn Site 1970-1971. Missouri Archaeologist 38.

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 Unpublished dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis.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.

Diesing, Eugene H. and Frank Magre
1942 Petroglyphs and Pictographs in Missouri. Missouri Archaeologist 8(1): 8-18.

Hamilton, Henry W.
1952 The Spiro Mound. Missouri Archaeologist. 14. 

La Flesche, Francis
1932 A Dictionary of the the Osage language. Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 109.

1995 The Osage and the invisible world: from the works of Francis La Flesche. Edited by Garrick A. Bailey. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.

Wyatt, Ronald
1959 Summer Fieldwork at Washington State Park, Missouri. Missouri Archaeological Society Newsletter 134:7-10.
n.d. A Study of Three Petroglyph Sites along Big River in the Eastern Ozark Highland of Missouri. Manuscript on with with the Division of American Archaeology, University of Missouri - Columbia.

Professor Carl Chapman (1980:Figure 6-5) points out the similarity between the mace petroglyphs at 23WA2 and maces excavated from Spiro Mound, Oklahoma to Leonard Haslag (center) and Ronald Wyatt (right). The photograph was taken in 1959.


The petroglyphs at 23WA2 are open to the public for viewing; the petroglyphs, plants, soil sediments and all artifacts are protected by the Missouri State Parks. The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. This site belongs to the "Big Five" group defined by Diaz-Granados and Duncan (2000:112 - 119) as comprising Washington State Park A, Washington State Park B, Wallen Creek, Three Hills Creek, and Maddin Creek.


Mace, crowned with feathers  on October 23, 2012.  North 38 degrees 05.010' and West 90 degrees 40.452' The mace measures 37 cm in length and 13 cm wide at crown. Scale is 10 cm. The "visibility" of the petroglyphs varies with the amount of cloud cover, time of day, and season of the year. My experience is that the petroglyphs are best viewed in the morning and late afternoon; the angle of the sun creates the subtle shadows that help define the images.


Left: Mace petroglyph (wet from rain). Scale is 20 cm. Photographed 15 September 2012.

Right: Mace petroglyph (wet from rain). Scale is 10 cm. Photographed 16 May 2020.

Cliff Richey, an independent researcher living at Pueblo de Oro on Mindanao in the Republic of the Philippines, made an excellent observation that the several of the petroglyphs at Washington State Park collect rainwater "intentionally." It is a very interesting thought that some/many of the petroglyphs were meant to collect rain water as part of a sacred ritual. In fact, the mace petroglyph was almost impossible to recognize when I visited the site on a dry afternoon.


23WA02 - Washington State Park Site B