I’m back in the vault today with Eric Singleton, Ph.D., our Curator of Ethnology. He’s giving me, and you, a sneak peek at some cool things from our upcoming exhibition “Spiro and the Art of the Mississippian World.”
Tim: Last time you told me that the Spiroan and the Mississippian people were living right near here over a thousand years ago.
Eric: That’s right. In Spiro, Oklahoma we discovered objects that revealed Spiro was the center of a vibrant political, religious, and artistic society and culture. You can visit SpiroMounds.com for more details if you’re interested.
Tim: But first everyone needs to finish reading this interview. Lol! Then you can visit SpiroMounds.com. What is this cool piece?
Eric: This is a copper Human Head Effigy plate from around AD 1200–1450. It was discovered in Le Flore County, Oklahoma at the Spiro site. The Ohio History Connection was kind enough to allow this unique piece to be part of this exhibition.
Tim: Was copper a common metal they used?
Eric: One of the most interesting things about their choice of using copper is that while Native American copper mining can be traced back almost 8,000 years, any copper found in Spiro would have had to travel over 1,200 miles to get here.
Tim: How would it have gotten here?
Eric: It would have been by boat or on foot, most likely. Can you imagine a 1,200-mile journey during that time period?
Tim: That is pretty amazing especially a thousand or so years before you could just get copper delivered to your door with some sort of phone app. Lol!