Mound Builder Artifacts of North America
Copper Falcon effigy, ca. 1-350 a.d. This effigy, made of pure native copper from the northern shore of Lake
Superior, was found as part of an elaborate deposit of Hopewell objects at the Mound City Group, located near
Chillicothe, Ohio. Its existence indicates relatively advanced capabilities in the areas of metalsmithing and
metalworking, more advanced than previously supposed.
Image from National Park Service.
|Carved ceremonial pipes These
specimens include an owl, a
toad, and a raccoon.
Image from Ohio History Central.
Serpent made of pure mica. Mica was one of the numerous minerals unique to the
American southeast that was an important resource for craftwork or for trade. Image
from The University of Misssouri-Kansas City.
There have been many copper artifacts found throughout several Wisconsin sites. The implements that
have been uncovered include awls, spear points, fishhooks, knives and harpoons. Copper spuds have
been found as well. The spuds are especially interesting because of the large number found and because
they appear to have had an implemental, as opposed to ornamental, use.
Ornamental artifacts include beads, a clasp or clip, bracelet, rings, crescents and celts. Sixty beads, found
at the Reigh Site, were strung together in what appears to be a necklace. All copper artifacts were
covered with a heavy green patination due to the formation of copper salts.
Wisconsin State Historical Society
This rare Intrusive Mound culture
human head effigy was found in a
gravel pit by Henry Ward of
Pickaway Co., Ohio, in 1930. This
specimen is a textbook example of
this extremely rare artifact.
Converse has reported that these
effigies "are usually highly stylized
portrayals rather than life-like
images of the human head.
A human head effigy manufactured from limestone.
A human effigy made of limestone, this remarkable artifact is part of the
collection given to the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History by the Cincinnati
Art Museum. Originally collected by Thomas Cleary in the late 1800's, this
rare sculpture is similar to other human head effigies found with Intrusive
Mound burials in Ohio. It's provenience is listed as Tennessee
One such copper breastplate was
found buried with an individual in
Etowa Mounds .- Birdman
Strings of small and large copper
beads, shell beads, a
crescent-shaped earring and finely
polished stone artifacts were found
at the Augustine Mound site. They
are shown here in the bowl of a
large mortar stone from another
Red Bank site.
|A Moundbuilder pictograph
of the likeness of an
unbridled horse in Picture
Canyon, Cirnarron County,
Oklahoma, which shows
that Indians in early times
were acquainted with
horses. This picture
appeared in October 1955
Indented gorget from Mercer Co., Ohio.
An Indented Gorget
Indented gorgets are rare. Quite often they are broken and
many exhibit signs of extensive wear and use. Many of them
are engraved or have undecipherable incised lines. A number of
them are made of red slate or banded slate with contrasting
lines. This indented gorget was first collected by Raymond
Vietzen and was later in the Dr. Stanley Copeland collection. It
was found 5 miles south of Celina in Mercer Co. near the Darke
Co. line. It is 5 3/4 inches long and is made of dark maroon/red
slate. As can be seen from the color plate, it shows evidence of
An Intrusive Mound human head effigy crafted
from sandstone.- Ohio
These are usually highly stylized portrayals rather than life like images of the human head. From the few that are
known or have been published certain characteristics can be observed. The eyes are usually carefully scooped out
hollows with no indication of the eye itself or the eyelid. The brows curve symmetrically into a projecting nose
which is ridge-like with neither nostrils or nose holes shown. The mouth is also a projecting ridge bisected by a
straight line forming the lips.
The hair or hairline is sometimes prominent or may be indicated only by an indented line. These effigies are often
made of fine-grained sandstone although other materials such as the quartz-like stone of the Shipley specimen
(Fig. 1) was sometimes used. Most of the known examples are drilled from the bottom with one or two half-inch
holes which are about two inches deep The holes were probably for mounting on some sort of staff or handle.
Because these intriguing effigies are so rare - there are probably less than ten published examples - the
observations made here are only general but the sculptural traits noted seem to follow a pattern.
Mounds - Illinois
Unfortunately for the archaeology record, most of the vast numbers of ceramic
artifacts found at the Crable site in Fulton County, Illinois, were removed by
collectors and commercial diggers in the early part of the last century. Some
have found their way into institutions like the Illinois State Museum, Dickson
Mounds Museum and Western Illinois University. Many more have been hidden
away, scattered, sold and traded among collectors over the last 75 years. It is
unusual to find large groups of these vessels in one place. Most of the time one
or two turn up in a collection, auction or antique store.
Princess of Aztalan, Wi
At the center of the Princess Mound at a depth of about 4 feet below
the surrounding terrain or about 10 feet below the assumed original
summit of the mound was found the burial of a young woman. She was
perhaps 20-25 years age. The grave measured about 8 feet long and
about 3 feet wide at the bottom.
The body was found on it's back and in the extended burial position.
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|Moundville, Alabama, ceremonial disk (diameter
|Mound Builder Artifacts of North America
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