watersheds.org the world in your watershed search
homewhat's newabout ussite mapcontact us
 

History Traces of the Ancients

Traces of the Ancients 

mystery rock formation If you know where and how to look for them, you can find signs of Native Americans all over the Ozarks. Arrowheads are common; so are chips of stone that came from the making of arrowheads. The reason these are so plentiful is that even before this rugged country was the chief hunting grounds of the Osage tribe, it also provided food, shelter and clothing to their ancestors. People have lived in the Ozarks for thousands and thousands of years, and they have left signs of their lives even though most everything they made has since decomposed and returned to earth. 

One sign that still remains a mystery to modern researchers is a large rock formation on the top of a bald hill near Wasola. It's actually 365 rocks - some large, some small - that indigenous (native) people used to outline the shape of a paw. Each of the six tips of the paw, which is 52 feet wide, point to six different hills in the distance. At the base of each hill is a fresh water spring. 

Experts have estimated the Native Americans could have placed the rocks there as long as 3,000 years ago or more. The owner of the property suspects it could have been a ceremonial ground. Others, such as a representative of the American Indian Center in Springfield and a spokeswoman for the Osage Indian Tribal Museum in Oklahoma, suggest it was a compass that the native people built to indicate to others the best route to take and where the drinking water was. No matter the interpretation, it is clear that life in these hills is very old. 


Written by Patty Cantrell. Source: "Calendar or compass--Indian rock formation a mystery" by Steve Koehler, The Springfield News-Leader1A, June 10, 1998. Graphic from The Springfield News-Leader.

Top