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The Myth and Mystery of the Piasa Petroglyph

Event Type
Lecture
Sponsor
Museum of the Grand Prairie
Location
Museum of the Grand Prairie
Date
Apr 6, 2014   2:00 pm  
Speaker
Dr. Duane Esarey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey
Cost
Free
Contact
Valerie Hall, Curator
E-Mail
vhall@ccfpd.org
Phone
(217) 586-2612
Views
7
Originating Calendar
Illinois State Archaeological Survey: Events

Lost accounts and contradictory details have made painted images on the rock bluff at Alton, Illinois, an enduring source of mystery.  Jolliet’s original 1673 drawing was supposedly lost, the paintings disappeared before authoritative renderings were captured, and local accounts of the images’ meaning were badly confused. This presentation verifies a contemporary drawing fitting the description of Marquette’s account as coming from Louis Jolliet and uses a Peoria Indian culture-hero account to decode the long-lost meaning of the Piasa. In the process, a new supernatural character shows how similar imagery from Mississippian and earlier cultures must be reinterpreted.

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