Celts, Hatchets, “Ceremonial Axes”, “Hoe-Shaped Implements”, etc.:


Large polished celt or hatchet in Peabody Museum. Cahokia (pags. 138 y 285, Moorehead (reprint of his 1923 work):


This was chipped from very fine, highly colored flint—dark brown and yellow, with a suggestion of pink in the coloring. The specimen was then carefully ground and polished until all depressions made by flaking were removed. Mr. Charles C. Willoughby, Director, called my attention to this specimen. The catalog stated that it was secured from Monks Mound about 1873. This was six years prior to Professor Putnam's visit to the mounds.” (p. 139, “The Cahokia Mounds”, by Warren K. Moorehead et al, Edited by John E. Kelly, 2000, The University of Alabama Press, 432 pp.)




The rest of figures correspond to the earlier XX Century work of Clarence Bloomfield Moore (“The Moundville Expeditions of Clarence Bloomfield Moore”, Edited by Vernon James Knight, Jr., 1996, The University of Alabama Press, 224 pp.):


Ceremonial axe of stone. Mound C. (Length 6.5 inches, page 49)


“At a depth of 9.5 feet from the upper level, or 3 feet below the lower one, where certain pits were, was an interesting ceremonial axe of plutonic rock, with flaring edge, about 6.5 inches in length. This axe, which much resembles one found by us in the famous mound at Mr. Royal, Florida, had red oxide of iron adhering to it at one place. About 2 inches of the upper part, away from the blade, where the handle had been, was not polished like the rest of the implement, being finished more or less in the rough.”


Ceremonial axes of copper. Moundville (page 51)


“In the same pit, but not immediately with the bones, was a ceremonial axe of copper, to which fragments of a wooden handle still adhered. This axe, like most copper objects found in the mounds, was encased in decayed material—wood, in this instance. The length of the axe is 6.4 inches; it is 1.5 inches across the blade, and I inch in breadth at the opposite end. The breadth of the space covered by the handle is 1.25 inches; 1.5 inches of the axe projected behind the handle (in Fig., picture D)”.           


Ceremonial axe of copper, with part of handle in place. Mound C. (Full size, page 50)


“Four feet below the surface, with a few, soft fragments of human bone, was a ceremonial axe of copper, 8 inches long, 3 inches across the blade, and 1.75 to 2 inches broad in other parts. Remains of a wooden handle, 2 inches in width, still adhere to the metal, showing that 1 inch of the implement projected behind the handle. C. C. Jones (''Antiquities of the Southern Indians," p. 226 et seq.) describes a somewhat similar axe from Georgia and rightly places it in the ceremonial class, calling attention to its light weight and delicate structure”.


Monolithic hatchet from Moundville. (Length 11.6 inches, page 31)


Some years ago, a colored man, ploughing near one of the larger mounds at Moundville, found a superb hatchet and handle carved from a solid mass, probably amphibolite (All determinations of rock in this paper and in the three which follow it, have been made by Dr. E. Goldsmith, of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. As it has not been deemed advisable to mutilate specimens for analysis and for microscopical examination, Doctor Goldsmith has not always been able to identify materials with the exactness he otherwise could), and highly polished. This hatchet was procured by Mr. C. S. Prince, from whom it was obtained by the Academy of Natural Sciences. The hatchet, 11.6 inches in length, with a neatly made ring at the end of the handle (not clearly shown in the reproduction), resembles, to a certain extent, the one found by Dr. Joseph Jones, near Nashville, Tenn., and described and figured by him ("Explorations of the Aboriginal Remains of Tennessee," p. 46). C.C. Jones describes and figures ("Antiquities of the Southern Indians," p. 280; Plate XII) this same hatchet, and speaks of the finding of another exactly similar in South Carolina. Gen. Gates P. Thruston also describes and illustrates ("Antiquities of Tennessee," p. 259) the Jones hatchet, and refers to the South Carolina specimen, and to still another, somewhat ruder in form, as coming from Arkansas. It is interesting in this connection to note the presence of "celts" with stone handles in Santo Domingo (J. Walter Fewkes, "Preliminary Report on an Archaeological Trip to the West Indies," Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Quarterly Issue, Vol. I, 1904. Plate XXXIX), though these hatchets are much inferior to the specimen from Moundville. The monolithic hatchet from Moundville seems to be much more beautiful than the one discovered by Doctor Jones, for it leaves nothing to be desired as to finish, and the graceful backward curve of the part of the handle above the blade seems more artistic than the form of the corresponding portion of the Jones hatchet, which is straight.             


Ceremonial axe of copper. Mound C. (Length 13.75 inches, page 54)


“Near a dark line, probably left by decayed bones, was a ceremonial axe of copper, 13.75 inches long, 1.9 inches across the flaring blade, and .4 inch wide at the opposite end. This implement, encased in wood, as usual, has no handle remaining upon it, but it plainly shows where a handle has been, with part of the body of the axe behind it”.           


Ceremonial axe of copper. Mound D. (Length 14.25 inches, page 72)


“Eighteen inches from the surface, with no human bones remaining nearby, completely inclosed in decayed wood, was a ceremonial axe of copper, 14.25 inches in length, with flaring cutting edge 1.5 inches broad, varying in breadth between .5 inch and 1 inch, with a maximum thickness of .4 inch where there is a kind of offset made by the hammering of the copper. Part of a wooden handle still adheres to the metal”.


Ceremonial axe of igneous rock. (Full size, page 201)


“Two "hoe-shaped implements" of igneous rock were met with on our second visit, one with a burial, the other in ground aboriginally disturbed. One of these (the one shown here) is of great beauty, having a convexity of blade and fluke-like projections below the shank in place of the usual ones which extend somewhat more at an angle. The "hoe-shaped implement" is a ceremonial axe, as was recognized by many before the publication of our paper on the subject” ("The so-called 'Hoe-shaped Implement.' " Amer. Anthropologist, July-September, 1903.)


Ceremonial axe. Trench near Mound B. (Length 5 inches, page 40)


“The only object of interest met with among the usual midden debris was a hoe-shaped implement of granitic rock, 5 inches long by 4.75 inches wide. An attempt at perforation has been almost carried through on one side, but has been barely started on the other side. In a paper by us, published in 1903, we adduced considerable evidence to prove, what others had suggested before, that the so-called hoe-shaped implement is a ceremonial axe” ("The So called ' Hoe-shaped Implement,' " Amer. Anthropologist, Vol. V, pp. 498-502, July-September, 1903).


''Celt." Mound D. (Full size, page 72)   


“A small, roughly made "celt"; a "celt" of greenstone or kindred rock, with cutting edge at either end, and beveled”.


Ceremonial weapon of chert. Mound O. (Full size, page 110)


“Near the surface of a pit containing several burials at greater depth, was a ceremonial weapon of cherty material”. 




Winged, Horned Rattlesnakes:


Vessel No. 30. Decoration. Ridge north of Mound R. (About half size, page 131)       


“Vessel No. 30 consists of the lower part of a water-bottle, found in a pit near disturbed human remains. The decoration, which is most interesting, represents the head, tail and wings of an antlered and winged rattlesnake”.             

Vessel No. 34. Ground south of Mound D. Decoration showing head, wings and tail of the horned or plumed serpent. (About one-third size, page 181)  


“Vessel No. 34 from the ground south of Mound D, is a water-bottle bearing an incised decoration showing the head, wings, and tail of the horned or plumed serpent, displayed separately—a design similar in the main to one found by us on our first visit to Moundville”.              


Vessel No. 17. Decoration. Ridge north of Mound R. (About half size, p. 127)


“Vessel No. 17, a broad-mouthed water-bottle, found at the head of a skeleton, bears on opposite sides an engraved design representing an antlered and winged rattlesnake with forked tongue extended. This design, suggests the winged and crested rattlesnake shown by Holmes (p. 91 of: Holmes, William H. 1903 Aboriginal Pottery of the Eastern United States. Twentieth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1898-99, pp. 1-201) as on a vessel from Arkansas, and referred to as "one of the most remarkable ever obtained from the mounds." "There can be little doubt," says Professor Holmes, ''that the figures of this design are derived from the mythologic art of the people."           


Vessel No. 33 Original


Vessel No. 33. Decoration showing the plumed or horned serpent. (About two-thirds size, pag 182)


“Vessel No. 33 from the ground south of Mound D, is a bottle bearing two engraved representations of the horned or plumed serpent”.           


Vessel No. 42. Decoration. (About half size, page 184)


“Vessel No. 42 from the ground south of Mound D, is a bottle bearing around the neck marks of long-continued abrasion as by a cord for suspension. The decoration on two opposite sides consists of engraved representations of horned and winged rattlesnakes”.


Vessel No. 44. Ground south of Mound D. Decoration showing the merging of the two serpents, being the first step toward a conventionalized design. (About one-third size, page 185)


“Vessel No. 44 from the ground south of Mound D, is a badly broken bottle carefully put together since its discovery. The engraved decoration is doubly interesting. In the first place, the tail of a bird is shown, to which rattles have been added. But the most noteworthy feature is that of the union of the two serpents around the vessel, being the first step toward a conventionalized, decorative serpent-design”.       


Vessel No. 6. Decoration showing winged serpent with leg-symbols (About half size, page 180)


“Vessel No. 6 from the ground south of Mound D, a bottle, bears engraved on two opposite sides representations of the winged rattlesnake, in this case without horns, crest, or plumes. Leg- symbols, however, are clearly represented. The leg-symbols present on the winged serpent found by us on our first visit to Moundville (Fig. 152 of our report), and seen on some of the plumed serpent designs of Peru, is a most popular symbol on the pottery of the northwestern Florida region (''Aboriginal Remains of the Northwest Florida Coast," Parts I and II. Journ. Acad. Nat. Sci. of Phila., Vols. XI and XII, respectively), whence it extends somewhat northward ("Mounds of the Lower Chattahoochee and Lower Flint Rivers," Figs. 15 and 16. Journ. Acad. Nat. Sci. of Phila., Vol. XIII), and is even found incised in the open-work effigy-vessels (Ibid. Fig. 8). Finally, we find the symbol used apart from the animal and placed around vessels as an ornament simply (Northwest Florida Coast, Part I, Figs. 7 and 25)—this custom reaching far down the Florida coast ("Miscellaneous Investigation in Florida," page 306. Journ. Acad. Nat. Sci. of Phila., Vol. XIII).     




Moundville in North-America and Hindi “Swastikas” and Asian “Ying-Yang”:


Water-bottle from Moundville. (Diameter 6.12 inches, page 35)


Vessel from Moundville. Decoration. (About half size, page 36)     


Vessel from Moundville. Detail of Decoration. (About half size, page 36)


“In the museum of the University of Alabama, near Tuscaloosa, is part of a water-bottle, said to have been found at Carthage, which place, the reader will recall, is now known as Moundville. This vessel, which was courteously lent to the Academy of Natural Sciences by Prof. E. A. Smith and Mr. James A. Anderson, bears upon the base an incised design. Around the body of the vessel, which is somewhat broken, have been four designs similar, in the main, to that on the base. Near the head, in certain instances, where space has allowed it, and on each tail, is a swastika enclosed within a circle. Professor Putnam writes us "This design [the bird-figure] shows the characteristic duplication of parts in a most interesting manner. In the centre of the figure we notice the symbol which is common to many of the shell gorgets from Tennessee and which corresponds to the symbol on the Korean flag as well as to the well-known Chinese symbol indicating the positive and negative, or male and female." Professor Putnam next points out how, from this central symbol two heads of a bird which he identifies as a woodpecker, extend and how on each side of these heads a symbolical wing of the bird is seen. Then on the right and left of the central portion are two tails of the bird, on each of which is the symbol of the swastika. "Altogether," say's Professor Putnam, referring to the whole design, "this is a beautiful symbolic figure and in general workmanship and design it resembles some of the sculptures on bone from the Ohio mounds."  The bird shown in the design has been identified by Mr. Witmer Stone, of the Academy of Natural Sciences, as the ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis Linn.), a bird now found in one part of Mississippi and in parts of Florida, but having ranged well north of Moundville in former times. The aboriginal artist shows the tongue of the bird extended to a somewhat exaggerated degree, although the thrusting out of the tongue is a habit common to woodpeckers. Emerging from within the open bill are various symbols, perhaps emblematic of bird-speech. The call of the ivory-billed woodpecker resembles that of a young child, according to Wilson. The tail of the woodpecker, when spread, is fan-shaped and the individual feathers at the extremity are pointed—peculiarities carefully shown by the aboriginal artist. When spread, the tail of the woodpecker is used by the bird to prop itself up and thus steady it at its work. This feature would no doubt strike the aboriginal eye and thus cause it to attach more importance to the tail of the woodpecker than to its wings. Among the wonderful objects of wood found by Cushing at the settlement of Marco, Island of Marco, one of the Ten Thousand Islands, which lie off the southwestern Florida coast, is the picture of a bird painted in colors on a tablet of wood (Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Phila., Vol. XXXV, No. 153, Plate XXXIV, p. 98 et seq.) Mr. Cushing believes the painting to be that of a jay or kingfisher, "or more probably still, of a crested mythic bird or bird-god, combining attributes of both." Four contiguous circles in line are represented as leaving the open bill of this bird, which Mr. Cushing believes to be speech symbols. The ivory-billed woodpecker was held in high esteem by the aborigines. Its head, modelled in gold, has been found in Florida.(Rau, Smithsonian Report, 1878, p. 299) Cateshy ("The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands," London, 1731, Vol. I, p. 16) tells us that "the Bills of these Birds are much valued by the Canada Indians, who make Coronets of 'em for their Princes and great warriers, by fixing them round a wreath, with their points outward. The Northern Indians having none of these Birds in their cold country, purchase them of the Southern People at the price of two, and sometimes three Buck-skins a Bill." ”




Moundville in North-America and “la Region Calchaquí” (in Argentina):


Disc of stone from Moundville. (Diameter about 12.5 inches, pag 34)              


Some years ago Prof. E. A. Smith, State Geologist of Alabama, visited Moundville and received as a gift a disc about 12.5 inches in diameter, said to be of sandstone, of the same well-known type  as the one referred to as being in Peabody Museum (Rau, Archaeological Collection of the United States National Museum, p. 37 et seq. Also Holmes, "Art in Shell," Second Rep. Bur. Eth., 1880-81, Plate LVII, p. 277 et seq.). This type is characterized by marginal notches or scallops usually with incised, circular lines on one side below them. The disc obtained by Professor Smith, however, like the one in the Peabody Museum, has an interesting incised decoration on the side opposite that bearing the incised circles, in which it differs from the ordinary discs of this type. The disc in question has on the reverse side an incised design of two horned rattlesnakes knotted, forming a circle, within which is a representation of an open human hand bearing an eye upon it (Our friend Señor Juan B. Ambrosetti, Curator of the National Museum, Buenos Aires, who, it may be said, incidentally, has been much impressed by certain points of resemblance in the aboriginal culture of Argentina and that of the United States, in his "El Bronce en la Region Calchaquí," Anales del Museo Nacional de Buenos Aires, Tomo XI (Ser. 3a, t. IV), pp. 286, 287, describes and figures a disc of bronze, 33 1/2 cm. in diameter, now in the National Museum of Buenos Aires, around the margin of which two serpents form a circle). This disc was lent to the National Museum, where it remained a long time, but is at present in the Museum of the University of Alabama, near Tuscaloosa, where we had the pleasure of examining it in company of Professor Smith, through whose kindness and that of Mr. James A. Anderson of the Geological Survey of Alabama we are able to give a photographic reproduction of it (in the Fig. Shown here). This interesting disc is described and figured by Professor Holmes (Holmes, William H. 1883 Art in Shell of the Ancient Americans. Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 1880-81, pp. 179-305, Plate LXVI, fig. 6, p. 278),1 who, as any cautious archaeologist would have done at that time, rather discredited its genuineness. In view of discoveries made since, however, the disc may be accepted without suspicion, and such is Professor Holmes' opinion at the present time”.




Moundville in North-America and the Mexican Huicholes:


Shell gorget. Decoration showing highly conventionalized (page 204)


“A fragmentary gorget of shell is of interest in that upon it stand two birds facing each other with a shrub or bush between. This same design was found by us on a shell gorget from a mound on the Alabama river ("Certain Aboriginal Remains of the Alabama River," Fig. 55. Journ. Acad. Nat. Sci. of Phila., Vol. XI.), above the city of Montgomery, and is found at the present day among the Huichol Indians (Dr. Carl Lumholtz, "Decorative Art of the Huichol Indians," Figs. 436 and 437. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. Memoirs. Vol. III), descendants of ancient Mexicans”.              


Idolatrías comunes de los pueblos prehispánicos del Continente Americano comparadas con las de Canaán

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