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When I was about ten--fifty-eight years ago--my dad obtained a load of dirt for his garden from the banks of the Arkansas River in Little Rock. I found an interesting object in that load of dirt. I believe it was used on a sword to keep the user from dropping the sword--highly engraved, in Spanish style. Since Hernando de Soto visited the region of what is now Arkansas, I wonder if it could possibly be an artifact from his visit. The Smithsonian Institution indicated it was pre-American Revolution, and European.
Don Nixon
Little Rock, AR

The “Crow Mountain Petroglyphs” were first attributed to Native Americans, then the Vikings, but a recent study suggests that they were carved by the clergy who accompanied de Soto. De Soto retreated to this area after an ill-fated skirmish with the Tula Indians. He overwintered in this area and licked his wounds. (Carrion) Crow Mountain is a mesa-like mountain where he found refuge and could graze his remaining horses and pillage the gardens of Carden Bottoms, just south of there. Skip Stewart Abernathy found relics of the period there.
The carvings were done by educated men, probably the clergy, Cistercian monks. They are aligned with the North Celestial Pole. The Eucharist was important at that time. The circle in the center is the symbol for the Knights Templar. Somebody in recent history has tried to make it into a peace symbol.
The three holes below the circle represent the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The "V" shaped symbol at the bottom is "the cup" or grail. Parallel lines at the top are unexplained.
The petroglyphs are on private land, but people are invited to visit them. A "bluff shelter" is located across the creek from the petroglyphs.

Donald E. Rickard
Professor Emeritus of Physical Science at Arkansas Tech University


Donald Rickard
Russellville, AR