Human female effigy jar   Save
Human female effigy jar
Description: This ceramic, shell-tempered hooded water bottle was molded somewhat abstractly in the shape of a human female. The opening of the bottle is in the back of the figure's head. The eyes and lips are molded and have small indentations. The nose was formed by pinching the clay into a raised, somewhat triangular shape. Projections on each side of the head probably represent the ears. There is a knob above the left eye that may represent hair and an incised line at the hairline. There is a tiny hole pierced through each ear from front to back. There is an indentation at the flat base that suggests knees, with legs folded underneath the body. A smaller indentation on the opposite side represents the buttocks. The relatively thin, molded arms are flexed so that the hands rest on the knees, and fingers are represented by incised lines. There are two bumps on the chest area that may represent breasts. This piece is from Mississippian Culture. Between about A.D. 700 and 1600, people living in the central Mississippi River valley developed a lifestyle that archaeologists refer to as Mississippian. Mississippian farmers raised the same crops as their Woodland ancestors. However, they relied more and more on corn, squash, and beans. It is believed that the Mississippian people had to move to new sites, perhaps every ten years, as their soil became less fertile. Most Mississippian groups lived on single farms or in small villages, but, because their food supply could support more people, their villages grew in size and density. Some archaeologists believe the Mississippian cultures developed chiefdoms in which certain persons held a great deal of power. In many of the larger towns and regional centers, the Mississippian people built flat-topped pyramid-shaped mounds of earth that served as bases for buildings. Archaeologists believe that these buildings may have been the homes of leaders or places for public rituals. What happened to the Mississippian cultures is not clear, but there was a decline or disruption of their lifestyle beginning in some places as early as A.D. 1350. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: A4345_001872
Subjects: Mississippian culture; Mound-builders; Pottery, Prehistoric; Effigies
Places: Human female effigy jar