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Piney Creek West Site

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An Introduction to the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex

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The Piney Creek West Site is a prehistoric rock art site located north of Piney Creek in Piney Creek Ravine State Natural Area in Randolph County, Illinois. The site consists of four petroglyphs painted on the inside of a rock shelter and a pictograph painted on the outside. The interior petroglyphs include an abstract shape, two curved lines, and a serpentine line with a pit at one end; two of the petroglyphs are filled in with ochre pigment, representing the only intact example of this painting technique in Illinois. The pictograph, which has deteriorated badly, depicts a human left hand; nearby flecks of paint from an unrecognizably faded figure likely indicate the site of the right hand. The paintings were likely added during the Late Woodland period, which lasted from 450 to 900 A.D. The serpentine figure inside the shelter suggests that the site had spiritual significance, as it resembles other prehistoric rock art depicting shamanic trance states.
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