Etowah Man Revisited


Etowah is an archeological site located in the Southeastern United States. It is associated with the Moundbuilder society. Little is known of the moundbuilder societies' ancestors or its' children.

I wanted this man to be an image of what a Southeastern tribal man might have looked like 500 years ago. The spirits of the animals were and are very important to the tribes in the South. The Eagle Eye or sometimes called Forked Eye motif has been etched around the eyes of the piece to give the warrior the eyesight of the eagle in flight. Rattlesnake tails have been etched along the jawline and a real rattle hangs from the lock at the top of the forehead. The rattlesnake was respected for his strength and power. The earspools are made from nugget copper that has been pounded into thin sheets and then cut into the Cross of the Four Directions pattern. This can be seen on the right ear in the image above. In the center of the cross is a hole representing man with the four arms reaching out toward the four directions. The warrior is singing. I often times stare at the piece and try to hear the songs of the Old Ones coming from deep inside.

Etowah Man is based on actual pottery heads discovered and on historical and archeological data gathered from the tribal stories and excavated mounds in the Southeastern United States. It is uncertain how the Moundbuilder culture first arose in the South or whether any one particular tribe are the direct ancestors of this society. I have my theories but they will remain with me. Tribes throughout the region displayed motifs and ornamented themselves in many of the same ways as the Moundbuilder people.

I will create three other pieces representing the major tribes forcibly removed on the Trail of Tears. These effigy pieces will be representations of ancient Chickasaw, Choctaw and Cherokee people. A fourth piece that I have already created called Ani-Coosa, which represents the Creek people, has already been placed in a private collection. I want each piece to sing and tell the story of the old life, wailing those lost but at the same time celebrating the future of the Southeastern tribal people.



Etowah Man Revisited Photo

Medium: Hand coiled native clay, pit fired. Copper, freshwater mussel shell, feathers, rattlesnake tail.

Description: 9"HX9"W. Highly polished and fired to a gunmetal finish. Etched with tattoo markings around the eyes and along the jawline. The ears are ornamented with copper earspools and earrings made of leather, copper nuggets, freshwater mussel shell and snail shells. A dangling hair lock is ornamented with feathers, clay beads and a rattlesnake tail. One in a series of effigy heads representing tribes in the Southeastern United States.

(Private Collection)

Inquiries welcome concerning purchase of other vessels in the series. US $1,500.00