Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Far-Flung Figurines Volume 56 Number 5, September/October 2003
by Eric A. Powell

[image] (Courtesy Sam Noble Natural History Museum, University of Oklahoma) [LARGER IMAGE]

A new, nondestructive sourcing technique has determined that sophisticated red figurines like the one above, found in sites across the American South, were made of flint-clay mined near the great twelfth-century town of Cahokia in today's Illinois. University of Illinois archaeologist Thomas Emerson, who heads the sourcing project, speculates that the objects were distributed along trade networks in the late thirteenth century together with Cahokia's political and religious ideas, which might have later become the foundation for the widespread symbolic system known as the "Southern Cult" ("Myths and Monsters," July/August 2002).

© 2003 by the Archaeological Institute of America