Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Moundville: Part II

Shard from Stepped Square Vessel, hand and eye motif. Moundville, circa AD 1300-1450.

Photos by Jan Riser.

Knives by Brian Barker

A folder and rifleman's knife I just finished up. The rifleman's knife has a birdseye maple handle with brass fittings and a sheath made from bark tan deer hide. The folder is a mid nineteenth century style with brass bolsters and elk stag for the scales. Both knives are made from 1084 carbon steel.

Copy and folder supplied by Brian Barker.

Monday, February 27, 2017


Moundville Archaeological Park, is a Mississippian culture site on the Black Warrior River in Hale County,  near the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Extensive archaeological investigation has shown that the site was the political and ceremonial center of a regionally organized Mississippian culture Chiefdom polity between the 11th and 16th centuries. The archaeological park portion of the site is administered by the University of Alabama Museums and encompasses 185 acres (75 ha), consisting of 29 platform mounds around a rectangular plaza. 

Building on top of the Chief Mound

View from the Chief Mound

The walls in one section are woven matts.

The carved diorite bowl from the site depicts a crested wood duck.  It is now displayed at the Jones Archaeological Museum on-site, on loan from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian since May 2010.



Chief in Training

Medicine Man

The Vulture Effigy Bowl
Limestone, Moundville AD 1250-1500

Carved from limestone, this effigy bowl is thematically linked to the larger and more famous “Moundville Duck Bowl”.  Both vessels depict a supernatural creature rendered by combining bird and serpent elements.  Excavated by C.B. Moore in 1906, the Vulture Bowl is a superb example of that Moundville crafting tradition that combined functionality with representations from the natural and supernatural world.  Like its green stone counterpart, the Vulture Bowl is unique in its execution and form.  The vessel embodies a bird whose head and beak extend from the lip of the vessel in a low arch and reunite with the vessel itself with the tip of the beak touching the side of the bowl.  The side of this limestone bowl carries carved representations of wings.  The overall effect of the bird’s bill attached to the bowl at wing level is of a bird preening its plumage.  The arched neck carries the same motifs that are carried on the neck of the supernatural on the Duck Bowl.  The tail of the avian extends from the back of the bowl in a form that is also highly reminiscent of the more stylized, but less expansive tail on the Duck Bowl.  When the vessel is examined from the underside, this bird’s clawed feet can be seen emerging from in front of the tail appendage.

Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institute, Cat No. 170020

Copy from Moundville display and Wikipedia with photos by Jan Riser.