The Human Family

Puebloan roomblocks

Architectural terminology in Southwestern archaeology

A short post created essentially to help me start to learn Southwestern ethnologists’ terms of art. Many thanks to Matt Taliaferro for fielding my confused queries about some very basic architectural vocabulary. And many apologies to him if any of the following is incorrect!  (more…)


Moundville (1Tu500): plaza and two signature artifacts

Landscape, Duck Effigy, Rattlesnake Disc

Moundville Archaeological Park and the Jones Archaeological Museum are a wonderful half-day to full day visit if you have any interest whatsoever in archaeology, American Indian history, landscape, or art. The scope of the grounds and collections are expansive enough to impress but not so massive or flashy as to overwhelm. Entrance and admission to the museum was $8 when I visited on March 31, 2017 which I consider more than reasonable.

This post is a place for my photos of the site’s plaza and two signature artifacts, the so-called Duck Effigy Bowl and Rattlesnake Disc. I hope they pique your interest enough to convince you to pay a visit yourself someday.


Tlaltecuhtli monolith below Tenochtitlan’s Great Pyramid

Exhibition photos from el Museo del Templo Mayor

On January 15, 2017, I was privileged to make a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and onsite museum in Mexico City’s Historic Center. I was doubly privileged in receiving a guided tour from Johannes Neurath, Carlos Mondragón, and Anahí Luna.

This blog post touches on the contents of a single room, that dedicated to the massive sculpture depicting the Aztec Earth Lord and a selection of the offerings placed beneath. (more…)

Pinturas Rupestres Banzhá

Rock art in Hidalgo, Mexico

This past Friday I made a day trip out of El DF into rural Hidalgo state at the invitation of Rocío Gress and Ana Díaz. Carlos Mondragon, my gracious host for my week long stay in Mexico, was doubly gracious to serve as our driver out of the capital’s morning rush hour traffic and onto some bumpy country roads.

Our Banzhá rock art visit was by far the highlight of my week in Mexico. And I say that 1) after having had been wowed by the Aztec Templo Mayor on the previous Sunday, the Museo Nacional Nacional de Antropología on Tuesday, and Teotihuacan on Wednesday, and 2) despite finding myself in the middle of a nasty head cold on the day of the visit. (more…)

Mississippian dot and concentric circle motif

My Wednesday post occasioned a most informative and enlightening Facebook thread. Contributors included Jay Franklin, Lynne Sullivan, Chris Rodning, and (especially) Adam King.

Adam pointed out the resemblance of motif seen on the cazuela rim sherds recovered at 40Wg143 to the so-called eye of the snake element that dominates Brakebill, Carter’s Quarter, and Citico style gorgets. A set of concentric circles (indicated in the paired images below via yellow ovals) surround an open dot (indicated in the paired images below via maroon ovals). A ring of dots (indicated in the paired images below via black arrows) sits in the space between the outermost engraved/incised circles.  (more…)

Rattlesnakes in Cherokee ethnology

(Proto)historic records from excavation, archives, and ethnography

Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of participating in the Winter 2015/16 ETSU Archaeological Field School at a multi-component site on the Nolichucky River. One of the more eye-catching finds was a finely-wrought cazuela with a coiled rattlesnake motif punctated amidst the rim incising.


Rattlesnake cazuela recovered at 40Wg143 in January, 2016. Photo courtesy of Jay Franklin.


Lithic preforms

Unfinished points and knives

I’ve been working as a crew member on a Section 110 survey in the Southern Piedmont for the past few weeks. This past Friday (06 November 2015) I walked down to the water’s edge to take my lunch and spent a couple of minutes poking around on the surface before I sat down on my screen to eat.

archaeological survey

The beach where I took lunch. I recovered the preform on the surface under the evergreens in the center of the purple oval.


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