A Pair of Classic Sea or Lake Monsters from the Ancient American Mound Builder Culture?

Posted by Chris Parker
Jul 15 2010

Photo:These pieces are showcased in the book: “The antiquities of Tennessee and the adjacent states, and the State of Civilization Represented by Them”, written by Gates Phillips Thruston and published in 1890

The author’s descripton of the pieces follows below after a brief description of the Mound Builder cultures so that we can try to pinpoint the time period in which science currently believes these various cultures thrived in the Americas. More specifically, these pieces are from a Stone Grave culture (literally from the graves) which some experts group with the Mound Builders and some do not.

Various types of Lake Monsters have long been described by various “Native American” cultures (several hundred years in the literature) and it appears that they may have appeared in the art of ancient cultures even prior to that of the “Native Americans”…

But what do you think?….s8int.com

Mound Builder Cultures

Photo:These pieces are showcased in the book: “The antiquities of Tennessee; One monster to another? Mound builder monster vs Memre. Click for Higher Resolution.

“The group of cultures collectively called Mound Builders were prehistoric inhabitants of North America who constructed various styles of earthen mounds for burial, residential and ceremonial purposes. These included the Pre-Columbian cultures of the Archaic period; Woodland period (Adena and Hopewell cultures); and Mississippian period; dating from roughly 3000 BCE to the 16th century CE, and living in regions of the Great Lakes, the Ohio River valley, and the Mississippi River valley and its tributaries.

As a comparison, beginning with the construction of Watson Brake about 3500 BCE in present-day Louisiana, indigenous peoples started building earthwork mounds in North America nearly 1000 years before the pyramids were constructed in Egypt.

Since the 19th century, the prevailing scholarly consensus has been that the mounds were constructed by Indigenous peoples of the Americas, early cultures distinctly separate from the historical Native American tribes extant at the time of European colonization of North America.

The historical Native Americans were generally not knowledgeable about the civilizations that produced the mounds. Research and study of these cultures and peoples has been based on archaeology and anthropology”….Wikipedia

Author’s Description of the Objects in Plate VIII

Photo:These pieces are showcased in the book: “The antiquities of Tennessee; Comparison of mound builder artifact with “classic” sea monster. Click for Higher Resolution.

“A number of fine types of pottery are illustrated in Plate VIII (one-fourth natural diameters). All are from the cemeteries of Middle Tennessee, excepting the dark polished jar, ornamented with the scroll pattern, which is from Mississippi, as its appearance indicates.

The three legged jug was recently obtained from a stone grave in a mound on the George P. Allen farm, about six miles southwest of Clarksville, Tennessee. The handsome ” idol pipe,” of serpentine, illustrated in the next chapter, was found in an adjoining grave.

Photo:These pieces are showcased in the book: “The antiquities of Tennessee; Mound builder (Stone Grave) self portraits. Click for Higher Resolution.

The jug is ornamented with well-painted circles, but they have faded, and were very indistinct in the photograph. The light colored ”water jug,” with the elaborate head-dress, is from a grave in the Byser farm cemetery, on White’s creek, near Xashville. Many fine objects have been obtained from this ancient settlement.

The other vessels in Plate VIII are from the Noel cemetery. They are all fine pieces of ware, especially the bowl-shaped vessels. The little cup with the excellent face has a hole in the pointed cap, for hanging. We have had separate engravings made of the finely executed medallion bowl, to show its grace and
exactness. Vessels with rude medallion faces have been found in the mounds of Arkansas,* but not of this form, or so artistically modeled.

The Mississippi jar and the light ” water jug ” with the label on it belong to the fine collection of the Tennessee Historical Society, at Nashville. The lower bowl with the medallion faces is from Mr. Otto Giers’s collection. The remaining seven pieces are from the author’s collection.” ….The Antiquities of Tennessee…

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