The Ancient Stone Maps
by William and Marilyn Kreisle
When my wife first entered my name on the membership rolls of the Midwestern Epigraphic Society (MES), I was definitely an Epigraphic agnostic, but after several trips to Kentucky's Red River Gorge where I saw inscriptions left on sandstone walls by ancient visitors, and after considerable research into the early history of navigation and cartography, I became less skeptical. More recently I have examined some artifacts from Burrows Cave 1 in particular two pocket sized stones, each of which have carved into their surfaces a map of a river system with major tributaries. Both maps, although differing slightly, I believe depict the Mississippi River Valley. After studying these maps and comparing them to the very early history of the Mississippi River and its tributaries, I became convinced and now believe both stone maps to be at least 2000 years old or older.
Both of these stone maps (mapstones) are similar in size, approximately 3½ by 4½ inches, weight about 6 ounces, and could easily have been carried in a knapsack. These two small maps cover the same territory and include the same major tributaries: The lower Ohio, Illinois, Missouri (Platte), Arkansas, White, and the Yazoo or the Big Black River. The Wabash is also shown with what appears to be the Skillet Fork - - a continuation of the Little Wabash in central Illinois. On the West Bank of Skillet Fork, near Burrows Cave, both maps show the symbol which may indicate a town.
(Mapstone 1) and (Mapstone 2), the latter now in the possession of Dr. John White III of Columbus, Ohio and traced by former MES President Beverley H. Moseley from the below photograph.