Site #3YE958

Site #3YE958Address Restricted - Yell
Address Restricted
Listed in National Register of Historic Places on 11/8/06

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The 3YE958 site is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, under criterion D that this property has yielded or is likely to yield information important in prehistory or history, and also under criterion C, specifically in that it possesses high artistic values. It has statewide significance. It is located within the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission�۪s Dardanelle Rock Natural Area. 3YE958 contains nine pictographic elements that are executed in red pigment. The time period during which this prehistoric site was occupied is currently unknown. There is some evidence that it may be from the Mississippian Period, based on similarities of one motif found at the site to those on Mississippian ceramics found in this region of Arkansas (Jerry Hilliard personal communication 9-12-2005). Future analytic techniques may be able to determine the age of the art, and as a result this site may prove important to rock art research in the state of Arkansas. Avenues of research include the study of religious symbolism and of local Native American history, and attempts to determine which cultural groups originally created these works (George Sabo III personal communication 8-23-2005).

Rock art sites in the Eastern United States are rare and the small but significant number of them in Arkansas are an important cultural resource in this state. Most rock art sites in Arkansas have been found in the Ozark Mountains and in the vicinity of Petit Jean Mountain. On a broad scale, prehistoric Arkansas rock art can provide insight into several realms of human behavior and history through the use of archeological methods and rock art recording techniques. Art is an important mechanism of human communication, and the study of these pictographs and others will be useful in determining the types of messages the producers of this art were portraying. The study of variations in symbolism between different forms of art media used in this region may help us to discern who the intended audience for this rock art was. Within rock art research there are several important foci of study, including: the techniques and methods of creation, regional differences in style, cultural boundaries, dating techniques for the art, and the reasons for the art�۪s creation (G. Sabo and D.R. Sabo 2001). Studies of the 3YE958 pictographs could provide useful information in any of these areas.

Potential rock art research includes study of the art and the processes involved in its production. There are three major forms of rock art found in Arkansas: pictographs that are created with paint, petroglyphs that are pecked or carved into the rock, and those elements that use a combination of both techniques. Pictographs are made using the following methods, brushing the paint on, daubing it or using ones fingers, and stenciling. Petroglyphs are made with one of two techniques, incising with a sharp object and pecking at the rock with a harder rock. Within these categories, rock art researchers in Arkansas recognize four types of motif based on the motifs already found in the state, these are: anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, geometric, and indeterminate designs. They also recognize some more specific motifs that have been seen regularly, including: circles/ovals, sunbursts/rayed figures, masks, spirals, mammals, reptiles, hand/footprints, arrows, and etc.

The integrity of the 3YE958 site is good. These pictographs are still in their original locations, and their designs, materials, and workmanship have not been modified except by graffiti and natural processes. The rock shelter likely has a similar feeling as it did originally and the site is still associated with Native Americans. This rock art provides tangible evidence of the enduring presence of local Native American peoples in this area for modern members of these Indian Nations, like the Caddo, Quapaw, and Osage, and for other contemporary residents of this area. All of these aspects of integrity make this rock art site significant and allow it to yield potentially important information about prehistoric lifeways and culture in the state of Arkansas and the region.

The 3YE958 site is being nominated for the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria C and D. This site is being added to the 1981 thematic nomination for rock art in Arkansas when 28 rock art sites were placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The site is a Prehistoric pictograph site of currently undetermined age, although it is likely Mississippian, and it is significant under the categories: Prehistoric Archeology, Art, Communication, Native American Ethnic Heritage, and Religion. The nine pictographs at 3YE958 are likely to provide important information in these areas of significance at the state level.


Arkansas Archeological Survey
2001 Rock Art in Arkansas, Electronic Document. 8-25-2005. Arkansas Archeological Survey.

Fritz, Gayle J. and Robert H. Ray
1982 Rock Art Sites in the Southern Arkansas Ozarks and Arkansas River
Valley. In Arkansas Archeology in Review. Edited by Neal Trubowitz and Marvin D. Jeter. Arkansas Archeological Survey Research Series No. 15. Arkansas Archeological Survey, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Reilly, F. Kent III
2004 People of Earth, People of Sky: Visualizing the Sacred in Native American Art of the Mississippian Period. In Hero Hawk and Open Hand: American Art of the Ancient Midwest and South, edited by Richard F. Townsend and Robert V. Sharp. The Art Institute of Chicago and Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.

Rolingson, Martha Ann
2004 Prehistory of the Central Mississippi Valley and Ozarks after 500 B.C. In Handbook of North American Indians: Southeast, Vol. 14. Edited by Raymond D. Fogelson. Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

Sabo, George III and Deborah Sabo, eds.
2005 Rock Art in Arkansas. Arkansas Archeological Survey Popular Series 5. Arkansas Archeological Survey, Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

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