Pottery Ossuary from Azor

Pottery Ossuary from Azor

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Ossuaries and Sarcophagi

Ossuaries are small chests in which the bones of the dead were placed after the flesh had decayed. Sarcophagi are body-length coffins made of stone or marble, clay and marble, which were used for primary burials (the term is from the Greek meaning "flesh-eater"). The earliest ossuaries found in Ereẓ Israel are from the Chalcolithic period. Ceramic ossuaries have been found at �rah, Bene-Berak, Azor, and Peqi'in. Some are shaped like a four-legged receptacle with a vaulted roof, a door with a bolt in the facade, and windows in the rear, and are thought to resemble dwellings of the period. The ossuaries have painted decorations and some of their facades are given the appearance of a human face. Ceramic anthropoid coffins dating to the transitional period between the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age, which imitate the shape of Egyptian mummies, have been found at Deir el-Balah (near Gaza) and at Beth-Shean. During the Iron Age neither ceramic nor stone coffins were used for burial purposes.


Known in Ereẓ Israel particularly from the Second Temple period and onwards, elongated sarcophagi decorated with plant motifs have been uncovered in "Herod's family tomb" and in the "Tombs of the King" in Jerusalem, and also in a large tomb on The Mount of Olives. Especially remarkable is the ornamentation of the vaulted lid of a sarcophagus from the "Tombs of the Kings," which is carved with plants common to the country, vine and olive branches, etc. Wooden coffins from this period have been found at Ein-Gedi, one of which was inlaid with bone. In the Roman period, many carved sarcophagi made of marble were introduced into the country from abroad. A sarcophagus discovered near Caesarea portrays a battle between Greeks and Amazons, another from Turmus Aiya is carved with representations of the seasons. Sarcophagi are also known from tombs in Samaria (in a third-century C.E. tomb), one depicts peasants taking their produce to market. A sarcophagus with mythological scenes (Achilles among the daughters of Lycomedes Leda) was found in the Bet Sheɺrim cemetery (possibly in secondary use). Lead coffins which were cast in Tyre, Ashkelon, and Jerusalem were common in the third-fourth centuries molds were employed for their decorations. Early Christian sarcophagi bear reliefs depicting scenes from the Bible and the Gospels. In the Byzantine period, the use of sarcophagi died out.


Small stone chests, used for the secondary interment of human bones, were extremely popular among the Jewish population during the Second Temple period, i.e., between c. 40 B.C.E. and 135 C.E.. Ossuaries found by Hachlili at Jericho are dated to a more restricted time period: 10� C.E. They are mainly known from tombs in the vicinity of Jerusalem, but examples are known from Galilee (e.g., Nazareth), the Shephelah (e.g., Modi'in), and the lower Jordan River region (e.g., Jericho). A typical ossuary had a length of about 2.5 ft., so that it might accommodate the long bone of an adult leg, which is the longest bone in a human body. The ossuaries taper slightly toward the bottom some stand on four low legs they are made of soft limestone with flat or vaulted lids. Many contain scratched inscriptions on their sides in cursive Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, or in two languages (a few inscriptions were made with charcoal). In most cases only the name of the deceased or his family status is given, e.g., "Mother" some inscriptions, however, are longer, e.g., "Dostos our father – do not open," or "The bones of the sons of Nicanor, who made the doors" (i.e., those of the *Nicanor gate in the Second Temple). In some cases (mostly in the burial of small children) one ossuary served for the bones of more than one body. The chests are sometimes decorated with a red or yellow wash of paint, but the usual decorations are chip-carved and chiseled decorations, with some designs executed using a compass. The surface of the ossuary was generally divided into two fields by square frames formed by a wavy line between two straight ones. The squares were filled with a rosette motif, usually with six leaves, but there are considerable variations in its form, as well as in the decoration of the surrounding surface, by the use of dots, wreaths, etc. The double-rosette motif is a very common decoration on ossuaries, and Wilkinson has suggested they might have been symbols used to invoke cherubim – the winged creatures on the inner curtain of the Tabernacle (Ex. 26:31). Some ossuaries are decorated with representations of plants, buildings, or parts of them (columns, capitals), gates. Various cross-like scratches and other marks sometimes appear on ossuaries and their lids (erroneously regarded by early scholars as Judeo-Christian symbols), and these were probably made by the stone craftsmen who carved the chests and wished to ensure their proper closure.


Y. Brand, Kelei ha-𞉎res be-Sifrut ha-Talmud (1953), ch. 12, 20 Clermont-Ganneau, Arch, 1 (1899), 381ff. R. Schutz, in: MGWJ, 75 (1931), 286ff. L.H. Vincent. in: RB. 43 (1934), 564ff. Watzinger, Denkmaeler, 2 (1935) Galling, Reallexikon, S.V. Sarkophag, Ossuar Frey, Corpus, 2 (1952), 245ff. A.G. Barrois, Manual dɺrchéologie biblique, 2 (1953), 308ff. Goodenough, Symbols, 1 (1953), 110ff. 3 (1953), nos. 105� Perrot, in: Atiqot, 3 (1961), 1ff. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: E.M. Meyers, Jewish Ossuaries: Reburial and Rebirth (1971): I. Singer (ed.), Graves and Burial Practices in the Ancient Period (1994) L.Y. Rahmani, A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries (1994) R. Hachlili and A. Killebrew, Jericho: The Jewish Cemetery of the Second Temple Period (1999) Y. Billig, "The Use of Ossuaries for Secondary Burial During the Second Temple Period," in: Judea and Samaria Research Studies, 13 (2004), 51� A.M. Berlin, "Jewish Life Before the Revolt: The Archaeological Evidence," in: Journal for the Study of Judaism, 36 (2005), 453ff.

[Michael Avi-Yonah /

Shimon Gibson (2 nd ed.)]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

About Uzbekistan

Earlier, the Samarkand Museum of Culture History was next to Registan, but in 2010 it was demolished, since the museum building, built in 1978 in the USSR times, strongly reminded of this very USSR. Therefore, the Soviet museum was moved to a new building, it is located halfway between Registan and the railway station on the so-called Povorot (Turn), every taxi driver in Samarkand knows this place, although hardly anyone knows about the museum.

The museum is very decent, although small, a collection of ancient artifacts occupies one floor in it. The exhibits include jewelry of bronze age, Zoroastrian ossuaries and worship items, few thousand of original paintings of well-known Uzbek artists from the beginning of the 20th century, and tragically famous film of M. Kayumov &lsquoOpening the Tomb of Tamerlane&rsquo that was shot on the eve of the WW II in 1941.

The museum possesses a vast collection of antique and medieval ceramics, metal and glass, and also ganch décor. The numismatics fund of the Museum counts more than 30,000 coins from the times of the first states of the Central Asian region, from around the Black Sea territories, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Among the rare exhibits there are three silver cups of 5-6th centuries found in the settlement Chelek in Samarkand.

Ethnographic collection has about 20,000 items of national clothing, gold-embroidery, and carpets mainly of 19-20th centuries.

A copy of the friso depicting musicians from the Buddhist temple in Ayrtam, Surkhandarya, II century. BC. The friso is in the State Hermitage Museum

Burial from Chakka, XIV century. BC. The Samarkand region.

The lid of the reliquary, II-IV centuries. Zartepe hillfort, Surkhandarya region.

Columns of the temple from the settlement of Erkurgan, Kashkadarya, III-VI centuries.

The foundation of the stupa from Karatepe, II-I centuries. BC (Surkhandarya) and the inspector of the museum.

Terracotta friso from Erkurgan, Kashkadarya, III-VI centuries.

The head of the deity with solar signs from the settlement of Erkurgan, Kashkadarya, III-VI centuries.

A copy of the friso depicting musicians from the Buddhist temple in Ayrtam, Surkhandarya, II century. BC.

Buddhist images from the ancient settlement of Kuva, VII-VIII cc. Fergana region.

Terracotta images from Afrasiab (Samarkand), II century. BC. - IV in. AD Apparently, this is some kind of female deity, for example, the famous Goddess Mother.

Reconstruction of the Bukhar Khudat Palace - the rulers of the Bukhara oasis in Varakhsha, the VI-VII centuries. Bukhara region. As it is easy to see, the palace is stylistically similar to the architecture of Mesopotamia.

Hall in the palace Bukhar Khudat. An ancient settlement of Varakhsha, VI-VII centuries.

Fragment of the architectural decoration of aivan from the palace in Varakhsha, VI-VII centuries

Fragment of the architectural decoration of aivan from the palace in Varakhsha, VI-VII centuries

Terracotta image of female deity from Varakhsha, Bukhar Khudat palace - rulers of Bukhara oasis, VII-VIII cc.

Terracotta images from Varakhsha

Fragment of decor from Varakhsha.

Side wall from ceramic ossuaries. V-VI c. Afrosiab, Samarkand.

Terracotta ossuary. Mullakurgan, VII-VIII century. Two female deities are depicted on its cover.

A fire temple and two priests are depicted on the side of the ossuary. In the ossuary, the bones of people were stored after the "processing" of corpses in dahmas, where the flesh was devoured by birds and dogs. Interestingly, in Persia itself they practically didn&rsquot use such decorated boxes for keeping bones, i.e. this funeral custom was peculiar to Central Asia. In this case, the ossuary from Sogdiana has a similarity with ossuaries from Judea in the times of the Second Temple.

Fragment of the wall of the ossuary with solar symbols and male figures, V-VII cc. Samarkand region, Urgut.

Ossuary with a human head, V-VII centuries. The Samarkand region.

Ossuary in the form of a horse, V-VI centuries. The Samarkand region.

Terracotta head, on the top of the cover of the ossuary, VI-VII cc. Taylyak, the Samarkand region.

Ossuary with a cross from Kafir-Qala near Samarkand, V-VII cc. The cross image is found on many ossuaries (and in general different objects from Sogdiana), which indicates the enormous influence of Christianity in Central Asia in the pre-Islamic era.

Top cover of the ossuaries in the form of a human figure, V-VII cc. The Samarkand region.

Ceramic images from Afrosiab (Samarkand), V-VII cc. On the right, a half moon is seen on the character's head, he was often portrayed on the crown of the Sassanid rulers in Persia.

A strong man from Afrasiab, an anthropomorphic vessel, V-VII cc.

Dish from Afrasiab, X-XI centuries.

Fragments of pottery from Afrasiab, X-XII centuries.

Images on glazed dishes, Afrasiab, X-XII centuries.

The art of glazed ceramics came to Central Asia together with the Arab invasion. Afrasiab (present Samarkand) became the main center of its production.

Children's toy dishes from Afrasiab, X-XI centuries.

Ceramic ware from Afrasiab, IX-X cc.

Hum, Konka settlement, XII century. Tashkent region.

Figures from bone, IX-XII centuries. The ancient settlement Afrasiab, Samarkand.

[note critique]

Milevski Ianir. A New Fertility Figurine and New Animal Motifs from the Chalcolithic in the Southern Levant : Finds from Cave K-1 at Quleh, Israel. In: Paléorient, 2002, vol. 28, n°2. pp. 133-141.

A New Fertility Figurine and New Animal motifs from the chalcolithic in the southern levant finds from cave k-l at quleh, israel

: Chalcolithic, Iconography, Fertility figurine, Burial beliefs and practices. Mots Clefs : Chalcolithique, Iconographie, Figurine de fertilité, Croyances et pratiques funéraires.


Quleh, ca. 15 km east of Tel Aviv (fig. 1) is best known for its medieval archaeological remains1 . Recent development activity on the site led to the discovery of an extensive cemetery dating to the Chalcolithic period (fig. 2). To date, eight

1. An Arab village existed near the site until 1948 (KOCHAVI and BEIT- ARIEH, 1994 : Site 285). For Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine-Early Islamic remains see AVISSAR and SHABO, 1998 MILEVSKI and SHABO, 1998.

caves have been excavated in a series of salvage excavations by the author on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority (hereafter IAA) in and around Quleh : Areas E and I (March- April 1997), Area J (November 2000), and Area К (February- March 2001). An other cave, excavated 1 km north ofQuleh, nearby Mazor West, has been used as a tomb and as a dwelling as well.

Cave K-l (figs 3 and 4) measured 13.00 x 7.00 m and was preserved to a height of ca 4.00 m. An opening (ca 1 m in diameter) existed in the center of the ceiling of the cave, but it is unclear whether or not it was the original entry. The cave

Early Ossuaries and Shaft Tombs: Burial in Ancient Israel

During the Chalcolithic Period (the “Copper Age,” roughly beginning 5000BC), a new kind of burial started appearing along the coastal plain, at sites like Azor, Bene-Berak, and Hedera. This marks the first appearance of ossuaries, which will become a key element in the treatment of the dead. These early ossuaries are made of clay, and often designed to resemble a small house. The diversity of styles and shapes indicate that the ossuaries were made to resemble to homes of the deceased, which may suggest a sense of continuity between life and death.

Ossuary of “Joseph Caiaphas” (Wikimedia Commons)

Ossuaries are not meant to contain entire bodies, but only the bones. Along with the discovery of the skulls of Jericho, they show the increasing use of two-stage burials. In the first stage, a person is either buried or placed in a niche or cave until the flesh decays, leaving only the bones. In the second stage, the bones are collected and reburied, or gathered into these boxes and placed in niches dug out of sandstone. The openings of the ossuaries were large enough for a skull (the bone with the largest circumference) to be placed inside. Miniature ossuaries have been found in larger ones as some kind of offering. Doors were sometimes fitted to these openings, and some of these contained decorations representing human faces, in either paint or relief.

In November 1990, twelve ossuaries were found in a cave in south Jersusalem. Two bore the name Caiaphas, and the most ornate (pictured) was inscribed “Joseph, son of Caiaphas” twice. Inside were the bones of a male in his 60s. Many speculate that these are the remains of the Caiaphas, the antagonist of Jesus from the Gospels.

At roughly the same time the first ossuaries appeared, people in the Levant began using cist burials as well. A cist is, basically, a square hole dug in the ground and lined with stone slabs, sometimes with a slab over the top. Sometimes several appear in a row, and we may assume these were for family burials.

Cist burial. From the dig report on Ashqelon, Barne‘a B–C
(Amir Golani)

These trends in burial continue for many years, and are joined during the Bronze Age (roughly beginning in 3000 BC) by shaft burials in which a vertical hole was dug in limestone, sandstone, or soil. If it was dug in soil, the walls were lined with stone. A chamber opened at the bottom of this shaft, and was blocked with a large stone. Chambers have been discovered in various shapes (rectangular, circular, and amorphous) and sizes. Three, four, or even more rectangular chambers may branch off from this main chamber, providing niches for the dead.

Bab edh-Dhra Shaft Grave (Bible Places)

In some tombs, bones were heaped at the center, with pottery and utensils arrayed around the perimeter. Food has been discovered in some vessels, and there are some suggestions that they provide evidence for a final meal with the dead. Eating with the departed in a common practice in folk culture throughout the world. Are these pots, jugs, and utensils evidence of the practice in anent Palestine?

Cairn burials were also found at this location. People were buried in shallow graves, which were then stacked with dirt and stones and capped with pile of rock. Tumuli–which are essentially barrows: graves heaped with small rocks and soil–also start emerging during this period. Thousands of tumuli have been found in the Negev Highlands.

There are no grand tombs filled with treasures, but rather small offerings intended as gifts for the dead. May we assume these were simply treasures associated with the deceased without implying any metaphysical, cultic, or religious aspect to the offerings? Or does the proximity of the region to Egypt suggest some kind of ties to a developing and vivid sense of the afterlife and the objects one would need to make the journey? As we get into the Second Temple period, the answers to these questions become slightly clearer.

This is part of a series on burial customs in ancient Israel, from the earliest evidence to the burial of Jesus. Death, mourning, and burial–life, its end, and the afterlife–are central concerns of religion, and have been a large part of my own research. As the new Catholic faith took shape after Pentecost, the role of the dead would become more and more central to Christian worship. In the communion of saints, the dead remain part of the Church, and the promise of bodily resurrection made the remains of the holy intensely significant. It’s not a morbid preoccupation, but rather a glorious promise.

Evidence of Native Americans on the Eastern Shore, and Was Pocohantas Really a Princess, Here?

November is Native American History Month. The Eastern Shore is one of the oldest areas in the country in terms of English settlements. Long before these settlers ever visited our shores, Native American tribes flourished here. Do you know the tribes that once called these lands home? Read on to find out the true history of the people of the Eastern Shore…

We all know the famous and true story of Pocahontas&mdashdevastatingly beautiful Indian princess who saved the dashing Captain John Smith from beheading, after her father, emperor of the Indian lands, imprisoned him&mdashor do we?

As Professor Ray Thompson, Director of the Nabb Research Facility at Salisbury University pointed out, we often piece together this story initially from the Disney-fied or romanticized versions, the overlays we have been exposed to as part of our culture. But before Disney ever put their spin on things, it may have been Captain John Smith who initially told a false-truth, weaving a fictional account that would withstand the tests of time unfortunately far better than the very people it was written about.

The absolute truth about Pocahontas is that she was the daughter of Powhatan, who was Chieftain of a Confederacy of Tribes stretching from the northeastern shores of North Carolina, covering the coastal areas of Virginia and Maryland, and ending north in Sussex County, DE. Meaning that once upon a time, at least as long ago as 1607, the infamous Pocahontas was a princess of sorts over our region.

It&rsquos possible that she visited this coastal area, though not likely, as she was very young, and lived on the banks of the James River, on the western shore of the Chesapeake near Jamestown, Virginia. The fact that she was very young when the account took place indicates the largest and most obvious hole in the romantic story. John Smith was captured by Powhatan, and eventually released, but not likely thanks to Pocahontas falling madly in love with him, as she was around twelve years old at the time. It is however well documented that Smith and Pocahontas did become friends, meeting again years later in England, one final time.

We owe the story of Pocahontas to Captain John Smith&rsquos logbooks, though not his initial version. The first run of what Smith told as his experiences in the new world made no mention of the young Indian princess. She wouldn&rsquot show up until later volumes of the work, more embellished accounts of what really transpired either after Smith turned from explorer to novelist, or simply just decided to add in more details after his stories became popular&mdashthe truth is really anybody&rsquos guess.

The Native People of the Eastern Shore, As Told By&hellip

These same logbooks are what we also credit as the first accounts of the Native American people who once lived in our coastal region. The Nabb Research Center at Salisbury University held an exhibit beginning with the year 1608, what they refer to as the "First Contact," when Captain John Smith met the Native American people of the Chesapeake Bay region and the Eastern Shore, making him the first English speaking person to create a written account of our region.

The Center&rsquos exhibit brought together three groups of information: the written first-person narratives of John Smith and others, the watercolors of John White, who accompanied Sir Walter Raleigh on his quest in 1585 to settle &ldquoVirginia,&rdquo and actual artifacts from the time period. Many of the pieces were pottery, specifically known as Townsend Ware, resurrected from the site at Handsell House near Vienna, once a notable Indian village. Of the three types of information, the artifacts are the most accurate, as they were the actual tools used by the Native Americans. White&rsquos drawings are second, as it&rsquos assumed he painted what he saw with little interpretation. Last then are the written records, and according to Dr. Thompson, are the least accurate.

&ldquoThese original documents are skewed because we are looking at the lives of the Native Americans through the eyes of the Europeans who didn&rsquot really understand what they saw,&rdquo expliained Thompson.

We do know, based on Captain John Smith&rsquos logbooks and maps that he explored in-depth not only the Chesapeake Bay region and the Virginia shore, but also the Pocomoke, the Nanticoke, and the Choptank Rivers, encountering the Native Americans who lived along their banks.

Native American Way of Life

In the 17 th century the Native Americans of the Eastern Shore were very matriarchal society, and women did most of the planting and gathering, which included mainly corn, beans, and squash. They prepared other foods like smoked fish, shellfish, ground nuts, corn and Tuckahoe tubers for baking bread. They made meals out of rabbit, beaver, deer, squirrels, birds, and even woodchucks.

Homes were not teepees, as modern beliefs may suppose, but were actually lodges with rounded roofs and frames made of branches. A personal account from Henry Norwood in A Voyage to Virginia dated from 1649, describes the home of a King, made from the same materials as other more typical lodges,

&ldquoThe King&rsquos mansion&hellipwas made of mat and reed. Locust posts sunk in the ground&hellipwas the strength of the whole fabric. The roof was tiled tight with rushes&hellipthe only furniture was several platforms for lodging. The space in the middle was a chimney, which had a hole in the roof to receive smoke.&rdquo

Despite the differences in lifestyle from the Europeans, it was the Native American belief system regarding land that would prove to create the greatest divide amongst the two groups. According to Dr. Thompson,

&ldquoEuropeans believed in ownership. This differed vastly from the Indians, who believed, in modern terms, as not even make a 'carbon footprint.'&rdquo

The Quest for Land

From the time Captain John Smith first made contact and encountered Powhatan, relations between the Europeans and the Indians went through alternating periods of peace and upheaval. Initially, the colonists relied heavily on the Indians for food when they began to make settlements&mdashas was the case in Jamestown, VA, and the more famous story of the Pilgrims and the Indians in Plymouth, MA.

Land on the Eastern Shore, with the exception of Virginia, wasn&rsquot a point of contention until the mid 1600&rsquos. In 1632 Lord Baltimore was granted a charter for Maryland, in order to colonize the land. This action played a large part in the destruction of the Native American way of life. Up until this point, the only interaction between the coastal tribes and the English involved the fur trade. In 1642 Maryland&rsquos newly formed colonial government declared war on three tribes, the Wicomiss, Susquhannocks and the Nanticokes, as a result of the murder of an Englishman involved in fur trading. The colonial government was ignorant to the fact that these three tribes were foreign to each other they didn&rsquot even speak the same language, and were wrongfully aligned together. By the 1660&rsquos the fur trade was in decline, severing the final peacemaking link between the Indians and the colonists.

The push to colonize the land spread east. English settlers didn&rsquot understand, or didn&rsquot respect Indian ownership, and believed Lord Baltimore had the rights to assign lands, often out from under the Native Americans. Dwindling relations within the Indian tribes further complicated the matter, and the scope of the land was drastically altered.

Indian Towns, and where are they now?

In 1668 the main tribes of the Eastern Shore were the Wicomiss, Choptanks, Nanticokes, and the Pocomokes and Assateagues. The Wicomiss lived near Chicone, situated close to the modern town of Vienna. The Choptanks occupied the South Side of the Choptank River around what is now Cambridge. The Nanticoke, the largest tribe, were located on the Nanticoke River, and controlled an area south to the Wicomico River. The Manokin resided near modern-day Princess Anne, and the Pocomoke had lands from lower Somerset County, MD into Accomack County, VA.

By 1678 the two largest Indian towns remaining were Askiminikansen on the Pocomoke River, near modern day Snow Hill, and Chicone, on the Nanticoke River by Vienna. Towards the end of the 1600&rsquos, Indian tribes, depending upon their loyalties, often aligned with other tribes, disbanding their own towns, often in fear of the Five Nations of the Iroquois. Others moved north, joining tribes in Pennsylvania, and those remaining ended up on reservations, forced by various proclamations and colonial law from the very lands they once revered. By 1800, there were no reservations left.

The Final Outcome, and the Return of Pocahontas

The devastation of the Indian Tribes on the Eastern Shore was only in part due to fighting and colonization. The largest factor in destruction was the unseen threat the English brought with them in the form of viruses – small pox, measles, influenza and whooping cough as the main culprits, killed an alarming number of Indians. They had no natural or acquired immunity to these diseases. As it turns out, humans share many diseases with livestock&mdashas many as 50 with cattle, and 42 with pigs, for example, and since the Indians had not domesticated their animals, they were not exposed to many diseases until the colonists brought them from Europe, and decimated the tribes.

Thomas Harriot, writing from A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia in 1590 said,

&ldquoThere was no towne&hellipwhich we left&hellipbut that within a few days after our departure from every such towne, the people began to die very fast, and many in short space, in some towns about twentie, in some fourtie, in some sixtie&hellipwhich in truth was very manie (many) in respect to their numbers.&rdquo

The native priests and chieftains didn&rsquot know how to fight against what was killing off their tribes. And as for the colonists, they largely and incorrectly assumed it was a matter of religion&mdashthey themselves not realizing they were carrying disease, these death waves had to be a result of the hand of God.

The topic of disease brings us back to Pocahontas, the romanticized heroine from the beginning of our story. Regardless of the truth of the famous John Smith account, Pocahontas did go on to play an integral part in relations between the colonists and her native people. It was her marriage to colonist John Rolfe in 1614 that brought about a period of peace. In 1617 she went to England with her husband, and supposedly saw once more, her old friend John Smith. While getting ready for the return trip to Virginia, Pocahontas fell ill, and never made it home. She had become a victim of disease, like many of her native people from the Eastern Shore, dying as a result of either tuberculosis or pneumonia at the young age of 22. She is buried in England.

Modern Day Traces

Today, The Nabb Center in Salisbury has a great number of artifacts gathered from area farms. But for an area once covered with towns and camps of native people, there should be more evidence. Dr. Thompson explained,

&ldquoAs the land was taken over by farmers, there would be artifacts and pottery that would be tilled up, and they thought nothing of it. It wasn&rsquot until the mid twentieth century that people began paying attention to what had happened.&rdquo

In 2003 construction work near Pemberton Park in Salisbury unearthed an ossuary, or group burial site with the remains of approximately 35 Native Americans dating back to 1400. As for actual sites of former towns, nothing remains at Askiminikansen near Snow Hill. Chicone, near Vienna fares much better. It was the former site of the home of a chieftain and large Indian village, and later was called Handsell Mansion house. Many pieces of pottery and artifacts including axe heads and arrowheads have been recovered from this site. Handsell is in the process of becoming a public facility.

&ldquoIt will be a facility dedicated to Native Americans, African Americans, and English settlers&mdashthe three groups who lived there at various stages of occupation,&rdquo said Dr. Thompson.

Additionally, the Nanticoke tribe runs the Nanticoke Indian Museum in Millsboro, DE. They have done considerable work to preserve their heritage.

We thank Dr. Ray Thompson and the Nabb Research Center at Salisbury University for sharing their records and extensive research, and helping us to tell the story of the Native Americans of the Eastern Shore.

You can visit The Nabb Research Center at Salisbury University, find more information here.

Tchefuncte Culture

Examples of Tchefuncte pottery recovered from the Bayou Jasmine Site in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana.

P eople designated by archaeologists as members of the “Tchefuncte culture” lived in the Lower Mississippi River Valley and along the Gulf of Mexico from at least as early as 800 BCE. to around 1 CE. Tchefuncte communities were present in most of Louisiana, southeastern Arkansas, much of coastal and western Mississippi, and extreme southeastern Texas. Like their Late Archaic and Poverty Point predecessors, the Tchefuncte were fishers, hunters, and gatherers. However, Tchefuncte peoples did not build massive earthworks and extensive trade networks like the Poverty Point folk did, and the Tchefuncte are considered somewhat devolved from the Poverty Point pinnacle. But, unlike their predecessors, who must have been aware of pottery but did not use it to any great extent, Tchefuncte people took to making clay pots with gusto. In addition, Tchefuncte people constructed some of the earliest burial mounds in Louisiana.

Tchefuncte Culture: Definition and Important Sites

The culture name “Tchefuncte” is shared by the name of the “type site”—the site that was used to define the culture. The Tchefuncte site is on the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain in St. Tammany Parish. It consists of two large middens (trash heaps) made of earth and shell. Midden A measured 250 x 100 feet and Midden B, which had been mined for shell, was 150 x 100 feet. The Tchefuncte site middens contained food bone and shell broken pottery bone, shell, and stone artifacts and burials. Archaeologists first excavated the Tchefuncte site in the late 1930s and early 1940s.The data generated by the excavations were crucial in constructing the chronological sequence of prehistoric cultures in the region.

There has been enough archaeological work related to the Tchefuncte culture to determine that Tchefuncte people lived in discrete clusters, called phases by archaeologists. There are at least twelve of these cultural phases spread across the region. All phases are similar enough to one another to be considered Tchefuncte, yet they are distinctive enough in space and in subtle differences in pottery types to be considered discrete “districts” of interacting sites. Within each phase, small residential sites housed egalitarian bands (groups of less than one hundred people), perhaps composed of one or two extended lineages. A few districts may have included a central ceremonial site, where people from all the sites in the district would gather at certain times of the year. The ceremonial site likely would have had an associated burial mound (more on this below).

Interior residential sites are generally earth middens situated near slow-moving, secondary streams, such as Bayou Maçon in northeast Louisiana or Bayou Teche in south-central Louisiana. Interior Tchefuncte people probably also hunted in upland areas—for instance, in the Florida Parishes, where stone points (but rarely middens) can be found in almost any plowed field after a rain. Unfortunately, points produced between about 3000 BCE and 400 CE (from the Late Archaic through the early Woodland periods) look very similar, so these hunting locales often cannot be attributed to a specific culture.

In coastal areas, both shell and earth middens occur. There is a massive shell midden at the Bayou Jasmine site, in St. John the Baptist Parish, where Tchefuncte deposits are over eight feet deep. Sites such as this are considered special-purpose shellfish- and fish-processing locations used seasonally when desired resources were at their peak abundance. Bayou Jasmine appears to have been occupied primarily in the spring. Other sites have only earth middens. Postholes have been found at some of these sites. Although no well-defined house structures have been identified, these are considered habitation sites.

Tchefuncte Culture Artifacts

Pottery of the Tchefuncte culture is quite distinctive in appearance, primarily because its makers used a clay paste that was not wedged (kneaded). When viewed in cross section, a sherd (fragment) of Tchefuncte pottery is characteristically contorted and laminated. Tchefuncte potters also did not add temper to their clay. Temper can be sand, grog (crushed sherds), bone, crushed shell, or Spanish moss—basically anything that opens up the dense clay paste to allow for more thorough firing. Tchefuncte sites have a lot of pottery, probably because many pots failed during firing due to lack of paste preparation. Although pottery had been made since at least 3000 BCE on the lower Atlantic coast, Tchefuncte people were the first in Louisiana to create their own pottery for widespread use. Tchefuncte potters were aware of other pottery traditions in the Southeast, and even decorated their pottery with borrowed designs. However, they may have only seen finished, fired pots, and did not know about the clay preparation steps, or it did not matter to them if the pots broke during firing or use.

Although the paste of Tchefuncte pottery is comparatively crude, the surface decorations are quite varied and were often applied with great skill. Decorative techniques include (1) incising in straight or curved lines (2) incising in straight or curved lines and at the same time jabbing the incising tool into the clay at regular intervals (called drag-and-jab incising) (3) rocker stamping to produce zigzag designs (4) straight-line simple stamping (5) punctations and, (6) infrequently using a cord to impress a textured pattern into the clay. Tchefuncte vessels typically consist of globe-shaped pots, simple bowls, and jars with slightly constricted necks and flaring rims. Jars sometimes have little feet, or podal supports.

Other common Tchefuncte artifacts include tubular pottery pipes (both plain and decorated with incisions and punctations) bone tools that are typically geared to hunting and fishing (e.g., fishhooks, socketed or hollowed-out bone points) shell tools (adzes for smoothing wood and hammers for pounding) and ornamental pendants. Stone artifacts are much less common, although chipped and ground-stone implements do occur. These include stone points (generally considered to be the tips of lightweight spears thrown with atlatls), net weights, hammerstones, atlatl weights, mortars, and fragments of soapstone vessels.

Since stone suitable for points is not present throughout much of Louisiana, many Tchefuncte people either traded for stone or for finished tools. While Tchefuncte peoples did not have anything comparable to the extensive trade network of the earlier Poverty Point culture, stone sources ranged from central Louisiana to the Tennessee River Valley. In addition, Tchefuncte sites in some of the eastern phases almost always yield a few sand-tempered sherds representative of the Alexander culture centered along the Tennessee and Tombigbee Rivers.

Daily Lives and Deaths

Seasonal markers provided by food remains (e.g., migratory waterfowl, types of burned seeds recovered) indicate that Tchefuncte people lived in their habitation sites in all seasons and possibly throughout the year. They exploited shellfish, mostly clams, and many species of fish, mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. They also gathered a variety of plant foods.

Most Tchefuncte burials were placed in middens, where they were interred in shallow pits, in flexed positions (knees drawn up towards the chest), or as bundle burials. Bundle burials are “secondary burials” the body decomposed elsewhere and only the larger bones (generally the long bones and crania) were gathered into a packet for burial. A study of long bones from bundle burials at the Tchefuncte site indicates that the long bones were broken into three to five pieces in a specific, presumably ritual procedure. Grave offerings were only very rarely placed with Tchefuncte burials.

Until the 1980s, archaeologists debated whether Tchefuncte people built mounds as part of their traditional culture, or whether the earliest burial mounds in Louisiana occurred only after Tchefuncte people were heavily influenced by the northern Hopewell culture, at which point Tchefuncte people evolved into a new culture that archaeologists term Marksville. Recent excavations at the St. Mary’s Mound in Madison Parish, coupled with a reevaluation of the Lafayette Mounds in St. Martin Parish, indicate that people of the Tchefuncte culture did build mounds before any other aspects of the Marksville culture were adopted. In general, Tchefuncte mounds were circular in outline and conical in shape, and ranged anywhere from a foot or two in height to more than fifteen feet tall. Society members buried in mounds may have been important individuals however, they had no burial goods.

Human bone can be studied to reveal demography, diet, general health, and the presence of specific diseases that affect bone. Unfortunately, in acidic, clayey sediments, bone erodes rapidly—the burials from the Lafayette Mounds were in very poor condition. However, bone is well-preserved in shell middens. While fisher-hunter-gatherer populations are generally quite healthy, burials from the shell middens at the Tchefuncte site indicate endemic bacterial treponema infection, which produces an eye disease called yaws and congenital syphilis (but not venereal syphilis). Many people also suffered from iron-deficiency anemia. Exostoses (abnormal bone growths in the ear canal, also called surfer’s ear) indicate repeated exposure to cold water and wind.

A number of traits associated with Tchefuncte culture carried over into the subsequent Marksville culture. However, mortuary treatment within the mounds was different, and new designs appeared on pottery. Indeed, at the Big Oak Island site in eastern Orleans Parish, it is possible to see an early transition from Tchefuncte cultural practices to Marksville traits. Much of the site is composed of a massive shell midden similar to that at Bayou Jasmine. Typical Tchefuncte burials were found in the midden. However, at the highest part of the site, a probable ossuary (a repository for masses of human bone) was discovered. The ossuary was radiocarbon dated to around 90 BCE (uncorrected, on charcoal) and included disarticulated human remains found in several bone concentrations. Grave goods, like quartz crystals, were present in this ossuary, as were several pottery vessels that had Marksville culture designs on Tchefuncte pottery paste.

Final Thoughts

Big Oak Island provides a rare opportunity to study the transition from the Tchefuncte to the Marksville culture. The Tchefuncte people at the site were beginning to adopt the mortuary traditions and material culture that defines them as Marksville. Notably, once the Marksville ossuary was deposited, Big Oak was abandoned. Radiocarbon dates from the site suggest this abandonment occurred around 1 CE. Occupation of the Bayou Jasmine site also ceased at about this same time—there are just a few Marksville sherds above the Tchefuncte shell midden. For whatever reason, around the turn of the century, Marksville people in this area moved away from their traditional sites.


Suggested Reading

Ford, James A., George I. Quimby, and Charles E. Snow. “The Tchefuncte Culture, an Early Occupation of the Lower Mississippi Valley.” Memoirs of the Society for American Archaeology, no. 2 (1945): iii–113.

Hays, Christopher T., and Richard A. Weinstein. “Tchefuncte and Early Woodland.” In The Archaeology of Louisiana, edited by Mark A. Rees, 97–119. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2010.

Neuman, Robert. An Introduction to Louisiana Archaeology. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984.

Weinstein, Richard A. “Tchefuncte Occupation in the Lower Mississippi Delta and Adjacent Coastal Zone.” In The Tchula Period in the Mid-South and Lower Mississippi Valley, edited by David H. Dye and Ronald C. Brister, 102–127. Archaeology Report No. 17. Jackson: Mississippi Department of Archives, 1986.


Here is a selection of finds relating to people mentioned in the New Testament.

Herod the Great

We have a bronze coin minted by Herod the Great. On the obverse side (i.e. the bottom) is a tripod and ceremonial bowl with the inscription &lsquoHerod king&rsquo and the year the coin was struck, &lsquoyear 3&rsquo (of Herod&rsquos reign), or 37 BC.

In 1996 Israeli Professor of Archaeology Ehud Netzer discovered in Masada a piece of broken pottery with an inscription, called an ostracon. This piece had Herod&rsquos name on it and was part of an amphora used for transportation (probably wine), dated to c. 19 BC. The inscription is in Latin and reads, &ldquoHerod the Great King of the Jews (or Judea)&rdquo, the first such that mentions the full title of King Herod.

Herodium is a man-made mountain in the Judean wilderness rising over 2,475 feet above sea level. In 23 BC Herod the Great built a palace fortress here on top of a natural hill. Seven stories of living rooms, storage areas, cisterns, a bathhouse, and a courtyard filled with bushes and flowering plants were constructed. The whole complex was surrounded and partly buried by a sloping fill of earth and gravel. Herod&rsquos tomb and sarcophagus were discovered at the base of Herodium by archaeologist Ehud Netzer in 2007.

Erastus, Treasurer of Corinth

Before AD 50, an area 62 feet square was paved with stone at the northeast corner of the theatre in Corinth, Greece. Excavations there revealed part of a Latin inscription carved into the pavement which reads, &lsquoErastus in return for his aedilship laid [the pavement] at his own expense.&rsquo The Erastus of this inscription is identified in the excavation publication as the Erastus mentioned by Paul in Romans, a letter written from Corinth, in which Erastus is referred to as &lsquothe city treasurer&rsquo [Romans 16:23]&hellip the particular Greek word used by Paul for &lsquotreasurer&rsquo (oikonomos) is an appropriate term to describe the work of a Corinthian aedile or magistrate supervising public works.[44]

Ian Wilson comments that &ldquothere is a general recognition that this may well have been an earlier stage in Erastus the treasurer&rsquos career in local government. At the very least, there is a reasonable case for Paul&rsquos Erastus and the Erastus of the Corinth inscription being one and the same.&rdquo[45]

Gallio, Proconsul of Achaea

&ldquoThis designation in Acts 18:12-17 was thought to be impossible. But an inscription at Delphi notes this exact title for the man, and it dates him to the time Paul was in Corinth (AD 51).&rdquo[46] In the inscription the emperor Claudius refers to &ldquoGallio, my friend and Proconsul&rdquo.[47]

Multiple Historical Figures Named in Luke 3:1-2

In Luke 3:1-2 we see references to eight historical figures:

In the fifteenth year of the reign of [1] Tiberius Caesar &ndash when [2] Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, [3] Herod tetrarch [a governor of a quarter of a province] of Galilee, his brother [4] Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis [cf. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 18.106-108], and [5] Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene &ndash during the high priesthood of [6] Annas and [7] Caiaphas, the word of God came to [8] John son of Zechariah in the desert. (Luke 3:1-2) [cf. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 18:5.2]

The historicity of all eight figures is assured, and archaeological evidence plays its role here, as the following examples demonstrate:

[1] Tiberius Caesar

The Denarius coin, 14-37 AD, is commonly referred to as the &lsquoTribute Penny&rsquo from the Bible. The coin shows a portrait of Tiberius Caesar. Craig L. Blomberg comments: &ldquoJesus&rsquo famous saying about giving to Caesar what was his and to God what his (Mark 12:17 and parallels) makes even more sense when one discovers that most of the Roman coins in use at the time had images of Caesar on them.&rdquo[48]

[2] Pontius Pilate

&ldquoIn 1961, in Caesarea Maritima, where Pontius Pilate lived, an inscription was found which, among other things, confirms not only the rule of Pilate in Judea but also his preference for the title &lsquoPrefect&rsquo. The inscription isn&rsquot complete anymore, but there&rsquos little question about what it once said.&rdquo[49] In Latin the inscription reads:


The original wording was thus:


Translated, this reads: &ldquoTo Tiberius, Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea.&rdquo

[3] Herod Antipas, Tetrach of Galilee

According to a report in the Haaretz Daily Newspaper (8th April 2005):

A marble floor dating from the first century CE was unearthed during this season's excavations of ancient Tiberias. According to archaeologist Professor Yizhar Hirschfeld, director of the three-week dig that ended yesterday, the floor is apparently a remnant of a pavement in the palace of Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, who ruled the Galilee from 4 BCE to 38 CE. &lsquoMarble from the first century CE was very rare in this area and is found only in royal palaces. Who knows, perhaps Salome danced for the king on this very floor,&rsquo Hirschfeld said, referring to the New Testament story of the daughter of Herodias, Antipas&rsquo wife, who demanded the head of John the Baptist on a platter in exchange for the dance. The dig was cosponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Antiquities Authority, and was funded by the Tiberias municipality and Brown University, Rhode Island. It revealed that in the fourth century a basilica was constructed on top of the palace.[50]

[5] Lysanias, Tetrach of Abilene

Scholars used to say that Luke didn't know what he was talking about, because everybody knew that Lysanias was the ruler of Chalcis, who was killed in 36 BC. But then an inscription was found at Albia near Damascus from the time of Tiberius (AD 14-37) which names Lysanias as Tetrarch &ndash just as Luke had written. It turned out there had been two government officials named Lysanias!

[7] Caiaphas the High Priest

In a tomb located to the south of Jerusalem were discovered several ossuaries, one of which contains what many scholars believe to be the bones of the former high priest Caiaphas and his family. On the side and back of the ossuary is the inscription: &ldquoYosef bar [son of] Caifa&rdquo. Other scholars dispute the interpretation of this find. Be that as it may, Caiaphas&rsquos brother-in-law Theophilus son of Annas (or Ananus) is mentioned on the ossuary of Yehohanah, granddaughter of the high priest. Moreover, in June 2011 the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the recovery of a looted ossuary bearing the inscription &ldquoMiriam, daughter of Yeshua, son of Qayapha, priest of Ma&rsquoaziah, from Beth &lsquoImri.&rdquo[51] As Craig A. Evans observes, if the name of this priest is vocalized &ldquoQayapha (instead of Qopha or Qupha), then we could have a match with Caiaphas. Indeed, we may have the ossuary of the granddaughter of the high priest who condemned Jesus.&rdquo.[52]

Ossuaries are particularly fascinating examples of archaeological evidence because they are witness not only to a cultural practice, but they can document the existence of named individuals, their familial relationships and even their religious beliefs.

[8] John the Baptist

On July 28th 2010 a team of Bulgarian archaeologists excavated a small alabaster box containing several pieces of bone from under the altar of the fourth century AD St. Ivan the Forerunner Church on Sveti Ivan, a Black Sea island off Sozopol on the Bulgarian coast: &ldquoWe knew we would find a reliquary there and our expectations came true&rdquo, lead archaeologist Professor Kazimir Popkonstantinov wrote in an e-mail to CNN: &rdquoIt seems rather logical to suggest the founders of the monastery did their best to bring relics of its patron saint.&rdquo[53] That saint was John the Baptist, after whom the Island of Svetti Ivan (St. John) and St. Ivan (John) the Forerunner Church were named. Another piece of evidence supporting the hypothesis that the relics belonged to John the Baptist was found 1.2 meters from the reliquary, a small tuff box (made of hardened volcanic ash) bearing inscriptions in ancient Greek: &ldquoThe inscription makes it clear that a man named Thomas, &lsquoGod&rsquos servant brought a particle of St. John here on the 24th.&rsquo Even though some of the end letters are missing, the inscription in Greek makes it clear that the date refers to the [traditional] birthday of St. John the Baptist, June 24.&rdquo[54] As an Oxford University Press release explained:

The tuff box bears inscriptions in ancient Greek that directly mention John the Baptist and his feast day, and text asking God to &lsquohelp your servant Thomas&rsquo. One theory is that the person referred to as Thomas had been given the task of bringing the relics to the island. An analysis of the box has shown that the tuff box has a high waterproof quality and is likely to have originated from Cappadocia, a region of modern-day Turkey. The Bulgarian researchers believe that the bones probably came to Bulgaria via Antioch, an ancient Turkish city, where the right hand of St John was kept until the tenth century. In a separate study, another Oxford researcher Dr Georges Kazan [of the Oxford Institute of Archaeology] has used historical documents to show that in the latter part of the fourth century [c. 370 AD], monks had taken relics of John the Baptist out of Jerusalem and these included portions of skull. These relics were soon summoned to Constantinople by the Roman Emperor who built a church to house them there. Further research by Dr Kazan suggests that the reliquary used to contain them may have resembled the sarcophagus-shaped casket discovered at Sveti Ivan. Archaeological and written records suggest that these reliquaries were first developed and used at Constantinople by the city's ruling elite at around the time that the relics of John the Baptist are said to have arrived there.
Dr Kazan said &ldquoMy research suggests that during the fifth or early sixth century, the monastery of Sveti Ivan may well have received a significant portion of St John the Baptist's relics, as well as a prestige reliquary in the shape of a sarcophagus, from a member of Constantinople's elite. This gift could have been to dedicate or rededicate the church and the monastery to St John, which the patron or patrons may have supported financially.&rdquo[55]

According to the Telegraph, Oxford researcher Christopher Ramsey likewise argues &ldquousing historical documents &hellip that the monastery of Sveti Ivan may have received a portion of John the Baptist&rsquos relics in the fifth or early sixth centuries.&rdquo[56] As Professor Popkonstantinov says: &ldquoit is important to understand one thing &ndash this is the first time ever in the world [of] archaeological practice that relics of St. John are found together with an inscription which just literally nails the conclusion and leaves no doubts. There are no speculations here&rdquo[57]

The reliquary contained three animal bones (from a sheep, a cow and a horse) along with a human tooth, the right hand edge of an upper jaw (which chimes with Dr Kazan&rsquos research), a right collarbone, a rib, an ulna (an arm bone) and a knucklebone. The results of three different scientific tests conducted on the human bones were consistent with the identification of the reliquary as being that of the historical John the Baptist. First, Oxford scientists were able to carbon date the knucklebone:

Oxford professors Thomas Higham and Christopher Ramsey attempted to radiocarbon date four human bones, but only one of them contained a sufficient amount of collagen to be dated successfully.
Professor Higham said: &ldquoWe were surprised when the radiocarbon dating produced this very early age. We had suspected that the bones may have been more recent than this, perhaps from the third or fourth centuries. However, the result from the metacarpal hand bone is clearly consistent with someone who lived in the early first century AD.&rdquo[58]

Second, Dr Hannes Schroeder and Professor Eske Willerslev from the University of Copenhagen:

reconstructed the complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequence from three of the human bones to establish that the bones were all from the same individual. Significantly, they identified a family group of genes (mtDNA haplotype) as being a group most commonly found in the Near East, which is better known as the Middle East today &ndash the region where John the Baptist would have originated from. They also established that the bones were probably of a male individual after an analysis of the nuclear DNA from samples. Dr Schroeder said: &ldquoOur worry was that the remains might have been contaminated with modern DNA. However, the DNA we found in the samples showed damage patterns that are characteristic of ancient DNA, which gave us confidence in the results. Further, it seems somewhat unlikely that all three samples would yield the same sequence considering that they had probably been handled by different people. Both of these facts suggest that the DNA we sequenced was actually authentic. Of course, this does not prove that these were the remains of John the Baptist but nor does it refute that theory as the sequences we got fit with a Near Eastern origin.&rdquo[59]

Third, Dr Lachezar Savov used modern medical scanners to make 3D images of the relics.[60] This &ldquoconfirmed conclusions made earlier by other methods &ndash that the bones belong to a man of Mediterranean type, between 30 and 40 years of age, who used vegetarian food [cf. Mark 1:6 & Matthew 3:4].&rdquo[61] Whether the biblical references to John eating &lsquolocusts&rsquo is interpreted literally or as the &lsquolocust&rsquo carob tree pod, it&rsquos plausible to think that John&rsquos diet was predominantly vegetarian.[62] According to Tsonya Drazheva, director of the Burgas History Museum and Deputy Head of the excavations on St. Ivan island, one could see at first glance that the bones don&rsquot have good density, which suggests that the person in question led a difficult life [cf. Mark 1:4-6 & 6:17-28].[63] That the human remains in the Sveti Ivan reliquary are those of John the Baptist is not beyond reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, the accumulation of circumstantial evidence does appear to render the hypothesis plausible.

Alexander of Cyrene

When Jesus was on the way to be crucified, the Roman soldiers forced a man called Simon from Cyrene to carry his cross-beam (cf. Matthew 27:32 Luke 23:26). Simon had sons called Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21 Romans 16:13). In 1941, Israeli archaeologist Eleazar Sukenik discovered a tomb in the Kidron valley in eastern Jerusalem. Pottery dated it to the 1st century AD. The tomb contained eleven ossuaries bearing twelve names in fifteen inscriptions. Some were particularly common in Cyrenaica. The inscriptions on one of these ossuaries says: &ldquoAlexandros (son of) Simon&rdquo. On the lid of the ossuary, there&rsquos an inscription bearing the name Alexandros in Greek, and then the Hebrew QRNYT. The meaning of this isn&rsquot clear, but one possibility is that the person making the inscription meant to write QRNYH &ndash the Hebrew for &lsquoCyrenian&rsquo. Tom Powers comments:

When we consider how uncommon the name Alexander was, and note that the ossuary inscription lists him in the same relationship to Simon as the New Testament does and recall that the burial cave contains the remains of people from Cyrenaica, the chance that the Simon on the ossuary refers to the Simon of Cyrene mentioned in the Gospels seems very likely.[64]

The Barsabbas Family

Early in the book of Acts, Luke describes how Jesus&rsquo eleven remaining disciples went about replacing Judas after his suicide: &ldquoTherefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.&rdquo (Acts 1:21-22) Two men were proposed for the position &ndash Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. The disciples prayed: &ldquoLord, you know everyone&rsquos heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.&rdquo (Acts 1:24-25) Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias. On a later occasion: &ldquothe apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers.&rsquo&rdquo (Acts 15:22) Modern archaeological findings cast light upon these references to Joseph and Judas Barsabbas. As reported by Jerusalem Christian Review (December 2000 online edition), Israeli archaeologists have uncovered a 1st century tomb in the mountainside off the Kidron Valley, containing ossuaries bearing signs of the cross. The inscriptions identify the cave as the tomb of the Barsabbas family. Historian Ory N. Mazar states that &ldquoat least some members of this family were among the very first disciples of Christ.&rdquo The ossuaries included:

&bull Simon Bar-Saba, the Hebrew version of &lsquoSimon Barsabbas&rsquo
&bull Mary, daughter of Simon maybe one of the several Marys in the NT (eg. Matthew 28:1)
&bull Joseph Barsabbas
&bull The other candidate from Acts, Matthias, may have belonged to the same family, as one of the other coffins in the same cave carries the name M'T'I', Hebrew for &lsquoMatthias&rsquo
&bull Another Son of Saba was Judah (the Hebrew form of the Greek Judas) Barsabbas

the impact of these fascinating discoveries is multiplied when we consider the additional evidence found in the tomb such as coins and artifacts, that clearly show the tomb was hermetically sealed less than a decade after the crucifixion of Christ. This is years before any part of the New Testament was written, proving that the Scriptures are consistent with the archaeological evidence.

The Tomb of St. Phillip the Apostle

A July 29th 2011 Biblical Archaeological Society Press Release announced that: &ldquoDuring the course of excavating a Byzantine-era church in the ancient Greek city of Hierapolis (in modern southwest Turkey), Professor Francesco D&rsquoAndria and his archaeological team have discovered the tomb of St. Philip, one of the twelve apostles.&rdquo[65] &ldquoWe have been looking for Saint Philip's tomb for years&rdquo, d'Andria told Fox News, &ldquoWe finally found it in the ruins of a church which we excavated a month ago.&rdquo[66] An examiner.com article explained that:

Excavations at Hierapolis revealed a Martyrium believed to belong to Saint Philip. It was believed when the Martyrium was fully excavated the archaeologist would find the tomb of Philip. Unfortunately, there was no tomb. Francesco D'Andria, director of the excavations, was surprised and disappointed, but continued the work in surrounding areas. Approximately 40 yards from the Martyrium, D'Andria discovered a small church. Inside the church they found a first century Roman tomb. Evidence indicates the tomb was built in the first century and the church was built around the tomb sometime around the beginning of the fifth century. D'Andria believes the evidence indicates Saint Philip's remains were originally placed in this tomb in the first century and remained there for over 400 years before being moved to Constantinople.[67]

The &lsquoJames, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus&rsquo Ossuary

James, the brother of Jesus, was martyred in AD 62. A mid-1st century AD chalk ossuary discovered in 2002 bears the inscription &ldquoJames, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus&rdquo ( &lsquoYa&rsquoakov bar Yosef akhui di Yeshua&rsquo). Historian Paul L. Maier states that &ldquothere is strong (though not absolutely conclusive) evidence that, yes, the ossuary and its inscription are not only authentic, but that the inscribed names are the New Testament personalities.&ldquo[68] New Testament scholar Ben Witherington states that: &ldquoIf, as seems probable, the ossuary found in the vicinity of Jerusalem and dated to about AD 63 is indeed the burial box of James, the brother of Jesus, this inscription is the most important extra-biblical evidence of its kind.&rdquo[69] According to Hershel Shanks, editor in chief of the Biblical Archaeological Review: &ldquothis box is [more] likely the ossuary of James, the brother of Jesus of Nazareth, than not. In my opinion &hellip it is likely that this inscription does mention the James and Joseph and Jesus of the New Testament.&rdquo

The Empty Tomb of Jesus

According to John McRay: &ldquoAlthough absolute proof of the location of Jesus&rsquo tomb remains beyond our reach, the archaeological and early literary evidence argues strongly for those who associate it with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.&rdquo[70] Dan Bahat, former City Archaeologist of Jerusalem, likewise states that: &ldquoWe may not be absolutely certain that the site of the Holy Sepulchre Church is the site of Jesus&rsquo burial, but we certainly have no other site that can lay a claim nearly as weighty, and we really have no reason to reject the authenticity of the site.&rdquo[71] Martin Biddle adds that: &ldquoWhat is clear is that the kind of tomb suggested by the Gospel accounts is consistent with what is now known of contemporary practice in the Jerusalem area: i.e. a rock-cut tomb, a low entrance closed by a moveable stone, and a raised burial couch within.&rdquo[72]

The Empty Shroud

The intensively studied &lsquoShroud of Turin&rsquo &ndash which bears a superficial, photographically negative image of a flogged and crucified man (an image that also contains three dimensional information) &ndash was formerly dismissed by many on the basis of 1988 carbon dating tests giving the Shroud a medieval date. However, recent peer-reviewed scientific findings show that this carbon dating is unreliable because the dated samples were taken from a medieval patch.[73] On the other hand, a mass of historical and forensic evidence points towards an earlier and even first-century date for the Shroud. For example, forensic evidence ties the Shroud to a bloody headcloth known as the &lsquoSudarium of Oviedo&rsquo, an artifact with a provenance that can be traced back as far as the seventh century.[74] Moreover, the evidence is against the hypothesis that the image on the Shroud is an artistic fake.[75]

A statistical comparison between data from the Shroud and the New Testament&rsquos description of various irregular details of Jesus&rsquo punishment establishes that if the Shroud is a genuine 1 st century artifact then it probably was Jesus&rsquo actual burial cloth. Hence the Shroud provides archaeological evidence for the Gospel accounts of Jesus&rsquo flogging and crucifixion and for the claim that after Jesus died as a result of his crucifixion he was given an honorable burial. The Shroud thus provides evidence against the once popular &lsquoswoon&rsquo theory (according to which Jesus didn&rsquot really die on the cross). Moreover, that the Shroud a) no longer contains a body and b) bears undisturbed blood clots, constitutes additional evidence in the cumulative case for the reality of Jesus&rsquo resurrection from the dead.

3 The Connecticut Mikveh

When Stuart Miller was asked to visit an old ritual slaughterhouse, he didn&rsquot expect fireworks. Miller was an expert on ancient mikvehs (Jewish ritual baths) and sites in Israel around 2,000 years old. [8] The idea of a 19th-century farming community in Connecticut delivering any surprises was almost ridiculous. Even historians believed that the Jewish immigrants who lived at Old Chesterfield had abandoned their religious laws.

Incredibly, Miller found a mikveh and the discovery changed Jewish history in the US. Due to the young age of the site, Miller expected a modern mikveh, but instead of a tiled pool, the bath consisted of stone, concrete floors, and wooden stairs and walls. Not only did it resemble ancient baths in Israel, but a pipe feeding water from a local pond adhered to the law of only using water from the heavens or the earth.

Clearly, the Jewish community at Chesterfield did not abandon all laws and kept one of their most ancient rituals intact. Any 19th-century American mikveh is scarce enough, but the Chesterfield bath remains a unique example.

This Day in Pottery History

Face jugs are among the most talked about examples of 19th century American pottery. There is no lack of debate over when, where, and why these oddities were first made. Since people began making pots, they have put faces on them. But American salt fired stoneware faces hold a unique fascination due their particularly rough, “grotesque” appearance.

The standard narrative begins with a late 19th century interview between ceramic historian Edwin Atlee Barber and Thomas Davies of the Edgefield pottery district town of Bath, South Carolina. According to Mr. Davies, the first face jugs were made by his slave potters around 1862. Both men attribute the faces to some crude ‘African Art’ impulse. Almost all ensuing discussion has been just added detail. Some faces may have been made for slave graveyards. Other potters, slave and free, Southern and beyond, also made them but the South Carolina contingent insists on genesis.

The 1862 date references the 1858 arrival of 137 people kidnapped from Cameroon, West Africa, smuggled into South Carolina via Georgia, and sold as slaves 4 decades after the US banned such importation. One of these people, called Romeo, was bought by one of the pottery making plantations near Davies’ place. Barber’s none too delicate “African Art impulse” comment (see Comments below) has narrowed to Romeo making or inspiring the first faces – no one knows if he actually worked in a pottery. If Romeo came from Cameroons’s Fang tribe this would neatly tie the graveyard thesis with Fang “byeri,” wooden ossuary figurines made to protect ancestral bones.

But everyone from Barber to Picasso, who was floored by the ‘crude animalism’ of African masks he copied for his Demoiselles D’Avignon, was more influenced by their own education than by what was in front of them (see Comments below). These were not random childish expressions. Years of specialized training went into creating sculptures like the byeri. Access to them was highly restricted. When seen, they were usually so coated in years of libations they would hardly have been recognizable (museum examples are typically cleaned and polished).

American face jugs display a far more generic style, regardless of when or where they were made. Maybe they look the way they do because their makers were simply never trained in facial modeling. And being made by Edgefield slaves doesn’t preclude the possibility that others made them for their own reasons, entirely unconnected to Davies and Romeo.

By all appearances it seems that face jugs were one of the few genuinely bi-racial American folk art expressions. Louis Brown, a traditional North Carolina potter, put it this way: “I don’t think they really meant anything. The public takes it as a joke. I’ve seen people get mad. One would accuse another that he looks like that. But I guess that’s what sells them.”

South Carolina Face Jugs, circa 1862

Carolina Clay, Life and Legend of Slave Potter Dave. Leonard Todd. WW Norton & Co. New York. 2008.

Turners and Burners, the Folk Potters of North Carolina. Charles Zug. University of North Carolina Press/Chapel Hill. 1986.

Art and Society in Africa. Robert Brain. Longman Group Ltd./New York. 1980.

The Concise Encyclopedia of Continental Pottery and Porcelain. Reginald Haggar. Hawthorn Books/New York. 1960.

The Pottery and Porcelain of the United States. Edwin Atlee Barber. G.P. Putnam’s Sons/New York. 1909.

&hellip100 Years from Now

Eras usually end because nobody cares. The latest “thing” gets all the attention. For example, when American hand-made utilitarian pottery died out in the mid 19th century, nobody ran into the street gnashing teeth and pulling hair.

Only with the passage of time can we really understand what happened, our self-absorbed modern penchant for naming current “eras” notwithstanding (ie The Information Age, The Digital Age, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z, etc. etc. etc.). Who really understands what is happening today? What will they say of us 100 years from now?

But in 1876 something amazing happened. We looked back. We realized the value of something we once had. And we acted on that realization.

The catalyst was the first World’s Fair to be held in the US, the “International Exposition of 1876” commonly known as the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. The Civil War was over. People wanted to move on, to show the world our best. And we invited the world to stand beside us, show us their best. The result? America flopped.

We had lost sight of our heritage. Our past. Gone were the uniquely American cobalt slipped stoneware crocks. Gone were the playful sgraffito works. Redware was a memory. The daring porcelains, rockinghams, agates, and parians of our pioneering pottery firms had morphed into a soul-less, mass-produced product.

American artisans flocking to the Exhibition saw in the international exhibits a world that knew where it was coming from and where it wanted to go. Our exhibits confronted our artisans with questions. “What had we become?” “What could we become?” They came away changed.

This was no bunch of hippie luddites. They were men and women inspired to preserve the past but also to advance American ceramics. American women were especially motivated by this watershed event. For many it began with china painting, the first true ‘ceramic-art’ movement in the US. Two presidential wives and many future leaders in the movement began as china painters. But any list of Art Pottery leaders must begin with Mary Louise McLaughlin and Maria Longworth Nichols.

Mary Louise McLaughlin’s Centennial experience motivated her to spearhead in 1879 the Queen City OH Pottery Club, America’s first all-women’s pottery organization. Her efforts set the stage for Rookwood and the blossoming of Art Pottery in Cincinnati. Rookwood Pottery was founded in 1880 by Maria Longworth Nichols, another Centennial convert. No other pottery matched Rookwood’s uniquely American style.

But there were many others Newcomb Pottery in New Orleans founded specifically to instruct young women Mary Chase Stratton’s Pewabic Pottery in Detroit Linna Irelan’s Art Pottery in San Francisco, CA, which exclusively used native Californian clays. These and many more set the stage for Adelaide Alsop Robineau’s porcelain work beginning in 1904 and culminating in her magisterial Scarab Vase. The stage was set for America’s Arts and Crafts revolution.

As Edwin Atlee Barber said: “The existence of a true ceramic art in this country may be said to have commenced with the Fair of 1876.” Sometimes its nice to recognize on whose shoulders we stand.

The Pottery and Porcelain of the United States. Edwin Atlee Barber. G.P. Putnam’s Sons/New York. 1909.

The Art of the Potter. Diana and J. Garrison Stradling. Main Street-Universe Books/New York. 1977.

The Index of American Design. Erwin O. Christensen. The Macmillan Company/New York. 1950.

Some Problems and Prospects in Kansas Prehistory

DURING the past five or six years large portions of the eighty-odd thousand square miles included in the present political bounds of Kansas have attracted considerable attention as a result of their widely publicized droughts and recurrent dust storms. The immediate reactions to these whims of nature have been varied and interesting, if sometimes tragic. To the farmer and those directly or indirectly dependent upon his welfare they have spelled dire economic stress and often disaster. The politician, unless he has a direct stake in the area, foresees the distant day when the "dust bowl" will have become a desert of shifting sands, and so he urges abandonment of the very acres which in World War years poured a golden flood into the farmers' granaries. The student of climatology, more conservative and better informed, reminds us that Kansas, or at least its western part, is a borderland between arid and humid zones, and as such will probably always be liable to recurring fluctuations in rainfall. Instead of wholesale abandonment, he suggests development of a sane long-range plan of land utilization to replace the present haphazard methods.

It is not my purpose here to discuss the present habitability of the Great Plains, much less to suggest a cure for the farmer's economic ailments, but rather to call attention to certain possibilities which may lie in local studies of prehistoric man. Few persons today are aware that long before white explorers had reached this region and named it the "Great American Desert," it was already being exploited in different ways by various native tribes and peoples. Though still in its infancy in Kansas, archeological research has enabled us to partially draw aside the veil covering the past, so that we may catch fleeting glimpses of the ways by which these early Kansans adapted themselves to the conditions of their environment. Time alone will show whether or not such inquiries into the past can provide a practical lesson for the future.

Geographically, Kansas lies almost wholly within the Great Plains. About a third of the state, roughly that portion west of the 100th meridian, belongs to the High Plains, and so is characterized by extensive areas of phenomenal flatness, short sparse grass, and little


water. Inhospitable as much of this seems today, from the viewpoint of aboriginal habitation it must be remembered that the grasslands which were destroyed by the plow within the past fifty or seventy-five years were once preeminently the habitat of the bison. On their eastern front, especially north of the Arkansas river, the High Plains have been extensively dissected by stream erosion, producing a broken north-south belt of high plateaus and prominent eastward-facing escarpments cut through by river valleys. The term Plains Border has been applied to this area, which during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries furnished hunting grounds for such tribes as the Pawnee and Kansa. East of the 97th meridian, roughly, and south of the Kansas river, are the undulating and fertile Osage Plains, formerly a true tall grass prairie region. These Plains give way north of the Kansas river and east of the Republican to a rough glaciated area cut into ridges and valleys by innumerable creeks. The northern half of the state drains eastward through the Kansas-Smoky Hill system into the Missouri at Kansas City, while in the south drainage is via the Arkansas and Neosho southeastward across Oklahoma and Arkansas into the Mississippi.

From east to west Kansas extends slightly over 400 miles. Along its eastern border, where the annual precipitation averages around thirty-five inches, the plant and animal associations show many eastern forms. True forests exist nowhere unless perhaps formerly in the immediate valley of the Missouri, but along nearly every watercourse of any consequence in the eastern half may be found fine stands of oak, walnut, elm, and ash, while cottonwood and willow fringed many of the western streams as well. Prior to modern agricultural development, upland areas throughout the state were universally dominated by grasses. The long, narrow, winding ribbons of hardwood forest, interfingering with the broader interfluvial grasslands, brought many eastern species of mammals and birds well into the Kansas plains. The twenty-inch isohyet, sometimes regarded as the limit for successful modern farming, corresponds roughly to the 100th meridian and the approximate eastern edge of the High Plains, although its location shifts considerably from time to time. Along the Colorado border precipitation averages under fifteen inches per year, and there is a corresponding sparseness of such requisites for aboriginal occupancy as game (bison excepted) and timber.

As almost everywhere throughout the Great Plains, stream valleys in Kansas were of prime importance to aboriginal man. To the


present-day farmer with his mechanical appliances and large-scale methods the uplands are readily available and even desirable, so long as nature provides sufficient rainfall in proper season. But to the Indian, armed only with a bone hoe and a planting stick, the tough prairie sod was a well nigh insurmountable obstacle, and so he largely confined his gardening to patches of loose, mellow ground in the valley bottoms. Here, too, he could find abundance of potable water, of wood for fuel, building, and tool-making, and all of the other fundamental requisites for carrying on his domestic activities. In the timbered valleys were numerous game animals such as deer, bear, wolf, fox, wildcat, beaver, otter and others, all the more easily procured because cover was limited in extent. In every direction from the valleys were grasslands where bison, antelope, and elk could be taken. All in all, the environmental conditions throughout most of the state were such that a reasonably comfortable livelihood could be won with a moderate outlay of time and effort.

The varied nature of the area, topographically and otherwise, was in fact conducive to several different habits of life. The fertile valleys offered every inducement to horticulturally minded peoples, to whom a sessile mode of living would be most practicable. On the other hand, the broad prairies with their teeming herds of game must have been a perpetual temptation to groups less closely bound to the soil. Within the past century or two such highly mobile and warlike tribes as the Comanche, who lived in skin "tipis" and spent many of their waking hours in the saddle, illustrate the extreme degree to which tribes could be divorced from the routine of a strictly horticultural existence. There is evidence that in earlier times, even before the white man introduced the horse, considerable portions of the native population may already have been dependent on the products of the chase rather than on the cultivation of maize and beans. For those tribes which chose to combine in about equal proportions hunting and horticulture a still different orientation of society and interests might and often did result. The Pawnee in historic times admirably illustrate this hybrid habit, a compromise so to speak between two widely divergent basic economies. For Kansas our knowledge of the early horticulturists is at present more extensive than for the hunters, hence we shall be more directly concerned with their remains hereafter.

So far as topography is concerned, no part of Kansas can be said to have offered serious hindrances to the free movement of aboriginal man. Certain portions of the High Plains in the western-most


part appear not to have been very generally traveled, but this was due mainly to lack of water. Largely for this reason perhaps Puebloan influences in Kansas appear to have been very slight, at least prior to about the time of the Pueblo revolt in 1680. Elsewhere, movements from one river or creek valley to another entailed no hardships, and intercourse between contemporaneous peoples with a resulting exchange of cultural traits and ideas, was doubtless frequent and extensive. At the same time we may point out that the principal rivers flow toward the east and southeast in broad, flat. floored valleys of comparatively easy gradient, and through their numerous lesser tributaries they reach virtually every section of Kansas. They provide easy avenues for travel by foot and to some extent by water, and hence suggest logical routes for populational or cultural movements into the Plains. To prehistoric man, unacquainted with the horse, they must have had a strong appeal for just, this reason. Since, moreover, the two principal river systems flow out of Kansas in divergent directions any possible upstream influences would in all probability derive from markedly dissimilar centers of culture development. To primitive peoples ascending the Missouri from its junction with the Mississippi at St. Louis, the valley of the Kansas offers a pleasant alternative route westward where the larger Missouri valley swings sharply toward the north. Once in the Kansas valley there would be nothing, barring preoccupation by a more powerful group, to hinder a general westward movement so long as the environment remained congenial or hostile pressure from the rear of sufficient intensity. Again, as is well clay pipes, and perhaps in certain bone artifacts. The relative unknown to archeologists, the lower Arkansas-Red river area is exceedingly rich in prehistoric remains and appears to have been the seat of one or more well advanced native civilizations. A high point of aboriginal achievement in this region, if not indeed its peak, is exhibited in such spectacular manifestations as the well-known Spiro mound group on the Arkansas river in eastern Oklahoma. It seems reasonable to expect that any ethnic movements or cultural waves emanating from that general area might have had recognizable repercussions in the upper Arkansas-Neosho-Verdigris basin in southern Kansas. As a matter of fact, the work of certain local enthusiasts in east central Kansas, notably near Salina, has already revealed traces of such southern influences in pottery, effigy importance of these impulses remains undetermined, but it is no longer in the realm of conjecture to suggest that along broad lines stream


valleys probably played an important role in determining the course of prehistory in Kansas.

Perhaps no state in the midwest is so little known ethnologically and archeologically as Kansas. From historical documents we know that the Kansa tribe claimed northeastern Kansas, while their linguistic kindred, the Osage, ranged over the region now known as the Osage Plains. On the Arkansas river in central Kansas stood the grass houses of the Caddoan-speaking Wichita, and far to the north, where the Republican enters the state, there was at least one village of earth lodges belonging to their relatives, the Pawnee. Additional sites belonging to this typically Nebraska tribe may well be present, but if so, their location and characteristics remain unrecorded. The High Plains in western Kansas were a sort of "no man's land," where wandering Cheyenne and Arapaho disputed with Comanche, Kiowa, and Sioux the right to hunt bison. Most of these tribes had already passed from the Kansas scene when trained ethnologists began their studies. Such peoples as the Delaware, Wyandot, Kickapoo, Pottawatomie, and Shawnee were late comers from the east after about 1830, and owed their sojourn in the state entirely to the white man's heavy hand.

As for archeology, if we omit casual references to a few sites by early-day geologists, interested but untrained laymen, and others, the noteworthy descriptive papers dealing with the area can be counted on the fingers of one's two hands. As early as 1830 the Rev. Isaac McCoy briefly described mound explorations near Fort Leaven- worth. A half century later, from 1881-1890, Udden investigated a large protohistoric village site near Lindsborg. At about the same time Brower was endeavoring to re-locate Coronado's provinces of Quivira and Harahey in the lower Kansas valley, and shortly thereafter Williston and Martin excavated a historic but undated Pueblo ruin in Scott county. Since the turn of the century limited investigations have been made by Sterns, Fowke, and Zimmerman in northeastern Kansas, by Moorehead in the Arkansas valley, and by the Nebraska Historical Society along the Solomon and Smoky Hill rivers. In more recent years a few enthusiastic collectors have called to the attention of professional archeologists certain noteworthy discoveries made here and there. Meager as the published reports are they nevertheless indicate a rather surprising number of different cultures in the state. Yet in spite of the obvious abundance of sites and the apparent variety of types, no general systematic attack has been made on the broader problems of the region nor


has there been any attempt to place the state in its proper position with respect to Plains prehistory on the one hand, and to the Mississippi valley cultures on the other. Obviously, in a region as extensive and as little known archeologically as Kansas, a vast amount of work remains to be done before we can hope to piece together the human story in detail. There are 105 counties in the state and it is doubtful whether a single one of these lacks altogether aboriginal remains of some sort. Many, in fact, are known to contain several distinct kinds of antiquities. It is true, of course, that the human history of adjoining counties may often prove to have been very similar. Even so, when the local diversity of environment and the area involved are borne in mind it will be readily seen that the problems are legion. In the long run an accurate reconstruction of Kansas prehistory will depend on the relative completeness of our information on the several regions and on the successful integration of these smaller units into a larger whole. Meanwhile, if we are willing to content. ourselves with painting a picture in broader strokes, a tentative bird's-eye view of the area may be gotten through carefully planned survey work.

During the past summer (1937) the United States National Museum undertook a survey of northeastern Kansas as the initial step in a projected state-wide study. Sampling excavations, in each case involving from two to five weeks' work, were carried out in strategic localities and at unusually promising village sites. Concurrently, the surrounding districts were reconnoitered and records made of all possible additional archeological remains. From these eventually can be selected sites for future more thoroughgoing investigations should time and funds permit. Local collections, while sometimes of doubtful scientific value because they lack accurate records, were also studied for possible leads. Because of the time consumed in excavation the area covered was necessarily less extensive than it would have been had efforts been limited to a purely surface reconnaissance. At the same time, since a substantial majority of the data recovered were the result of subsurface work, any interpretations derived therefrom would tend to be less open to the numerous doubts and uncertainties which too often surround surface finds. Actual excavation thus provided the backbone for the survey surface reconnaissance furnished supplemental materials for consideration in distributional and preliminary comparative studies. Because of their obviously greater bearing on human problems, river drain-


ages were selected as a basis for the work rather than such arbitrary and modern political units as the county.

Selection of northeastern Kansas for the initial step in a projected state-wide archeological survey was due to several factors. In the first place, the Missouri river, which forms the northeastern boundary, gives every evidence of having been, since time immemorial, an important artery of travel for trade and migration as well as the habitat of several successive peoples. Logically it might be expected that any significant incursions into Kansas from the east would leave some traces of their passage along this great waterway and on its westerly branch, the Kansas river, so that careful excavations might reveal the temporal order in which these several groups came. Secondly, there appeared to be a good chance for determining the distinguishing characteristics of early Kansa culture, inasmuch as this tribe, apparently since earliest recorded date, has been at home in the locality. It was believed that the identification and definition of this Kansa material might lead to the verification of a number of problematically documented sites, besides opening an avenue of approach into the prehistoric past through these documented historic sites. Lastly, Sterns had long ago indicated possible major trends in this region and northward so that our follow-up excavations would dovetail with his work, as well as with that currently under way in southeastern Nebraska.

Detailed studies have not yet been made of the specimens and data collected during the past season, hence their possible significance may not be fully realized at this time. However, a brief description of the sites worked may convey to the reader an understanding of the manifold possibilities in prehistory awaiting development in this portion of Kansas. Scattered along both banks of the Missouri above and below the mouth of the Kansas river for an unknown distance are a number of small but prolific sites which at once impress the trained observer as markedly dissimilar to anything heretofore regarded as characteristic of the Plains. Two of the largest and most promising of these are located on opposite sides of the Missouri just above Kansas City, one in Wyandotte county, Kansas, the other in Platte county, Missouri. Of the two, the latter was the more readily accessible and because it was also threatened with early destruction as a result of highway construction and building activities it was selected for partial excavation. It lay on a small terrace of about six acres extent on the right bank of Line creek, where the stream


issues from the bluffs to make its way southward across the Missouri bottoms.

Here were found abundant evidences of a village inhabited and abandoned long before the coming of white men. Broken pottery, burned limestone boulders, worked and unworked flints, and animal bones were mixed with dark soil to a depth varying from thirteen to thirty inches, being especially abundant in and near old cache or refuse pits. There were no traces of firepits, postholes, or other house features, from which it may be assumed that the habitations were entirely of perishable materials such as poles and thatch or mats. From the pits came charred maize and beans, indicating agriculture pawpaw seeds and several species of wild nuts and the bones of many animals which must have been used for food. Among the latter, remains of the deer were particularly numerous, bison much less so. Pottery included a great many fragments of several distinct kinds, but no whole vessels. Some of the jars were evidently large and thick-walled, with a more or less pointed bottom and a straight or slightly incurving rim. These were made of clay mixed with coarse gravel and the outer surfaces were covered with impressions from a cord-wrapped paddle. Just below the rim frequently may be found a row of bosses punched outward from the interior of the vessel. Cord-roughened potsherds of this description have been found at several deeply buried sites in Nebraska, where they seem to be the earliest (that is, the oldest) pottery type so far recognized. There is also a resemblance to pottery called "Woodland" by archeologists farther east. Similarly shaped, but differently decorated, are jars which lack the cord-roughening, but bear the impressions of a small curved tool which was evidently rocked back and forth across the surface. Here the neck below the rim was apparently left plain. Still different and greatly superior in quality and decorative technique are numerous sherds from smaller and thinner walled vessels. Rims of characteristic form were ornamented with incised crisscross lines, below which was placed a row of small punch marks. The neck was plain and smoothed while the body was covered with rocker impressions or, less commonly, roulette marks. Sometimes, the body decoration was separated into smoothed and roughened areas by incised, wide, shallow grooves. A few incomplete pieces indicate that square vessels with round corners were made. These characteristics are reminiscent of the so-called Hopewellian type of pottery, commonly associated in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys with the most elaborately developed mound cult-


tures. So far as present evidence goes all of these pottery types were made and used by one and the same people in the Kansas City area.

Besides pottery these people also made and used such stone objects as heavy stemmed arrow or spear points, a variety of flint knives and scrapers, chipped and polished Celts or skinning tools, three-quarter grooved axes, large, finely chipped blades, and curious cone-shaped or mammiform objects of limestone and gypsum whose use is unknown bone beaming or skin dressing tools used like a drawshave, awls, perforated bone ornaments in imitation of bear teeth, dressed deer toe bones pierced lengthwise for cup and pin game, eyed needles, weaving tools, and problematical forms dressed antler arrowpoints, cylinders, and flakers and a few bits of hematite and native copper. That very typical Plains implement, the hoe made from a bison shoulder blade, was conspicuously absent. Judging from the limited work of local collectors and others on the hills just above the village, burial of the dead appears to have been in or under mounds, rarely with some pottery, copper, or other mortuary accompaniments. It is possible that some of their burial mounds contained stone chambers. All in all, the picture presented is markedly unlike that so far developed for any of the various complexes in the western Plains, and relationships are clearly stronger with the east (or south?) than with the west. The remains found here show very little resemblance to any known protohistoric or historic materials in the region. Besides the Kansas City area, sherds of apparent Hopewellian type have been found as far west as Manhattan on the Kansas river, far beyond their hitherto known occurrence.

We may turn now to remains of very different character. In July, 1804, Lewis and Clark camped near the mouth of Independence creek, some 60 miles above the present Kansas City, where they briefly described the ruins of an old Kansa Indian village visited by M. De Bourgmont in 1724. This, if correctly identified, is the earliest village of that- tribe which has been certainly located. Kansa material culture is nowhere adequately described and since its relation to earlier archeological remains in the area is wholly problematic, we next undertook an examination of the site recorded by Lewis and Clark. Unfortunately for the archeologist, the most xxxxx cupied since 1854 by the town of Doniphan. From a pre-Civil War high of almost 2,000 persons the population has shrunk to a


present figure of some 500 or slightly more, but the nearly obliterated ruins of old store buildings, hotels, wineries, and residences are still to be found on the fine creek terraces in and about Doniphan. On the hills east of the town two prehistoric circular pit- houses were opened from them came only such strictly aboriginal remains as pottery, bent tubular clay pipes, polished Celts, etc. The material is assignable to the so-called Nebraska culture, which flourished before the coming of the whites along the Missouri from Kansas City to Omaha, Neb., and beyond. On the slopes immediately above Doniphan fourteen cache pits were opened, and from them were taken charred corn and beans, innumerable animal bones, copper, iron, glass beads, small lead crosses, catlinite, and a limited quantity of native bonework and potsherds. This material, showing clear evidence of contact with white traders, is later than the two house sites found nearby, and may be Kansa. To the same general early historic period probably belong a dozen slab- covered graves found on nearby hilltops, some of which contained metal objects and glass beads. Regrettably enough, in years gone by, much looting of these remains has taken place, so that the out- look for a really comprehensive study of an early historic Kansa site here is not especially reassuring.

Twenty miles north of Doniphan, on the bluffs overlooking Wolf creek valley about two miles southwest of the Missouri river, is a ten-acre site which has for several decades been a mecca for local relic hunters. Despite the discouraging comments of many local residents, who assured us that all worthwhile relics had long ago been carried off, we were able to open forty-six cache pits and one circular pithouse. Pottery of rather distinctive type was found in profusion. Almost without exception the clay of which it was made had been mixed with crushed shell. Vessels seem to have been fairly large with rounded bottoms, and decoration consisted of geometric incised line and dot patterns. Many, perhaps most, of the sherds appear to bear no decoration whatever. There are a few grit-tempered sherds indicating intercourse with the early historic Pawnee on the Loup river in Nebraska. Other artifacts include numerous small, triangular, unnotched arrowpoints, planoconvex (thumb-nail) end scrapers, drills, various kinds of knives, catlinite fragments, grooved mauls, ground Celts, and irregular quartzite mealing stones with flattened or depressed upper surfaces bone awls, needles, and hoes antler projectile points and limited quantities of copper, iron, and glass beads. The material is closely related to


the widespread so-called Oneota culture of the upper Mississippi valley, a protohistoric horizon believed by many to be early Siouan. A site yielding almost identical remains, but with pottery of superior quality, has already been partially excavated by the Nebraska Historical Society near Rule, Neb., some twenty miles north of Wolf creek, but there white trade material has not been dug up. Wolf creek thus appears to be a later phase of the Oneota, and no doubt its inhabitants were in direct contact with European traders. From Wolf creek our party moved to Manhattan on the Kansas river at the mouth of the Blue. This area has long been known to abound with aboriginal remains of several different types. About three miles below the town is the site of a Kansa village of 1819, visited by Maj. S. H. Long. Unfortunately, much of the village has gone down the Kansas river, but in the portion remaining one circular pithouse was excavated with an entrance passage to the east and four center posts. Others can still be found nearby. This house, as well as several cache pits and middens, contained quantities of iron, steel traps, copper, glass and old china, with small amounts of native work in stone and bone. Pottery was wholly absent, perhaps because by this late date it had been largely or entirely superseded by the kettles and pots of the white traders. From the surface of a nearby cemetery came bits of cloth, fragments of old army uniforms, and copper and brass buttons, but no excavation was practicable at the time.

A much older prewhite village on Wildcat creek, two miles west of Manhattan yielded a large rectangular house site with four center posts, a south entranceway, and several small internal caches. From this house and neighboring excavations came quantities of cord-roughened grit-tempered pottery, small notched arrowpoints, thumbnail scrapers, a cupstone, a mealing slab, and a few minor odds and ends. Some sort of relationship appears to be indicated between these remains and materials found on the upper Blue river in northern Kansas and southern Nebraska, but no detailed correlation is yet possible. Neither can we say what tribe left these materials. Cairns and small burial mounds in this area occasionally contain incised bone beads, shell disk beads, and other relics the associated human remains are nearly always extremely fragmentary. Possibly these prehistoric burial sites will ultimately prove to be- long to the builders of the nearby rectangular earth lodges. The Manhattan locality in general, centering about the confluence of two rivers and a number of small, but exceedingly attractive creeks,


is one of great promise for contributing a few chapters which will aid the archeologist in reconstructing the prehistory of Kansas.

While it is manifestly impossible as yet to fully evaluate the results of archeological work to date in Kansas, a few general conclusions may be ventured. In the first place, it is becoming increasingly evident that many of the creek and river valleys through-out the state were once the habitat of industrious farming peoples who lived in relatively permanent peaceable communities long be- fore as well as after the coming of the white man. As might be expected on environmental grounds, the eastern sections seem to have been particularly favored, but unmistakable traces of the early horticulturists have also been found more than 300 miles west of Kansas City in the dry High Plains region. Furthermore, it is ap- parent that the sites cover a fairly long period of time and were the products of several distinct cultural groups. For most of the state we are still in the dark as to the order in which these groups came, but the field work which has already been done in northeastern Kansas has resulted in the delineation there of at least two very different complexes and the tentative identification of two or three others.

It is even possible to arrange these in a preliminary local sequence, though it is by no means certain that this will hold for the state as a whole. The Hopewellian sites at and near Kansas City, the circular Nebraska culture houses at Doniphan, and the rectangular earth lodges excavated near Manhattan all present more or less distinct associations of traits, yet all are precontact as shown by the complete absence of European trade goods. On the strength of our general knowledge of the Plains area it is very probable that each of these sites is representative of a more or less widespread type of native culture. Their exact relationship to each other is not yet clear on the basis of work so far done in Kansas because there they have not been found in stratified sequence. That is to say, there are at present- no known sites where two or more of these cultural types occur together or one above the other so that we may say positively which is the earlier. However, in southeastern Nebraska, relationships for what are very probably the same or closely related types have been worked out.

Assuming a parallel succession in northeastern Kansas, we may suggest tentatively that the first named complex (the Hopewellian) probably preceded the other two in point of time. On the other hand, the Oneota site on Wolf creek is more recent, since there is


direct archeological evidence that it dates from a time after the establishment of trade relations with the whites. From a still later period are the cache pits and stone-covered graves (but not the circular house sites) at Doniphan, where European material is yet more abundant. Finally, at Manhattan both archeology and history indicate the relatively very late occupation of the Kansa village. The validity of this proposed sequence hinges in part on more ex- tended work in certain of the cultures, and investigations on a much wider front are necessary before it can be brought into proper relation to the rest of the state.

In the foregoing paragraphs we have used such terms as Oneota, Hopewellian, etc., which are nothing more than labels for the convenience of the professional archeologist. Each name designates a particular group of associated cultural traits or man-made objects which differs in greater or less degree from all other groups of traits. If the nonspecialist finds their use confusing, we may restate our conclusions in another way. All of the successive sedentary pottery- making groups of prehistoric Indians so far recognized in north-eastern Kansas based their modes of life very largely on the cultivation of maize and beans. They may be distinguished from one another through their use of different types of habitations, baked clay vessels, artifacts of stone, bone, horn, and shell, and burial methods.

The earliest of these peoples apparently came in from the east or northeast, spreading westward up the Kansas river and its branches. Their villages of perishable thatch or bark huts were placed on small flood-free terraces in or at the mouth of creek valleys tributary to the main river valleys, less commonly on the higher second bottoms of the latter. Their material remains, so far as archeology is concerned, strongly reflect their former participation in native civilizations once widely distributed through the Ohio and upper (and lower?) Mississippi valleys. Just how long ago they came and how far west and south they spread we do not know. Ultimately, however, they were superseded by another group or groups, possibly with more southeasterly affinities.

These peoples lived in round or square earth-covered pithouses strung in desirable locations along the banks of the smaller creeks. In the immediate valley of the Missouri they chose the lofty narrow ridge tops. Their pottery vessels were very distinct in shape and otherwise from those of the earlier peoples, although certain characteristics such as the use of a cord-wrapped paddle in decorating vessel exteriors may have been carried over. Other artifact types


were likewise markedly different as were their burial customs. The loose rambling character of the settlements is evidence of a peaceful occupation, and there are indications of a development of several regional variations.

The mode of life of certain of these groups was somewhat like that of the historic Pawnee, except that they lacked the horse and other traits introduced by Europeans. It cannot be said on present evidence that the Pawnee are their lineal descendants, but the re- semblances are thought by some to indicate a possible relationship. Further work may partially close the apparent time gap existing now between the first and these second peoples, but at present the dissimilarities appear so marked that the arrival of new and different ethnic groups is suggested. In very late prehistoric or early historic times came still another group introducing shell-tempered incised pottery vessels and other distinctive implement types. They made some use of the earthlodge which they may have borrowed from other earlier Plains dwellers. They almost certainly arrived in Kansas from the north or northeast, possibly as the ancestors of such Siouan tribes as the Oto, Missouri, Kansa or Osage. Just what transpired in the area subsequently we cannot yet say in detail, but one thing at least is indisputable, viz., the melting away of native culture before European civilization. With the introduction of the horse, firearms, steel traps, metal pots and pans, glass trinkets, and alcoholic stimulants, the old aboriginal way of life was doomed, so that after about 1700, the archeologist finds himself dealing less and less with the products of spontaneously inspired native arts and crafts, more and more with the relics of a warped and decadent culture profoundly influenced by the ways of the white man.

Several vexing problems are immediately suggested by the phenomena outlined above. The archeologist is, or properly should be, interested in cause as well as occurrence, therefore he would like to know what historical or environmental factors were responsible for the apparent successive waves of peoples into the Plains. Since the area is climatically a borderland subject to recurrent droughts and these groups all depended in large part on the successful cultivation of maize and beans, it would be tempting to attribute their alternate advance and retreat to corresponding pulsations of climate. Thus, a period of favorable years might have encouraged a west- ward spread of peoples from the Mississippi-Missouri valley into regions beyond the maize optimum where a succession of subnormal


years might later compel a retraction of territory. Against this is the consideration that the Indian gardened intensively in the creek bottoms, possibly with specially developed drought-resistant plant varieties, where he would be much less affected by fluctuations in rainfall than is the upland farmer today.

In the present state of our knowledge a question could even be raised as to whether these waves actually are due to distinct cultural or ethnic incursions or merely represent different stages in a very incompletely known single line of cultural evolution. This is prob- ably mostly an academic argument since the accumulating evidence does not indicate that any of the different prehistoric peoples were a direct outgrowth from their predecessors in the area. It is not even certain yet to what extent ideas and customs were passed on from one to another of the successive groups, though further field- work will doubtless help to clear up this point. Perhaps the main cultural continuum or developmental stream is to be looked for to the east of our area where environmental conditions were more consistently favorable for native horticultural civilizations.

Other unanswered questions concern possible connections of these early Kansans with the highly developed Puebloan peoples of New Mexico and Colorado and with the various moundbuilding groups of the Mississippi valley, as well as the role of nonhorticultural hunting peoples in prehistoric days. That a very ancient hunting culture may have existed is hinted by the occasional discovery of projectile points reminiscent of the so-called Folsom type, which characterize the oldest known camp sites in the New World. These, however, preceded the introduction of maize cultivation by many hundreds or even thousands of years. What events were taking place in the Great Plains during this long interval? Were there tribes in the bison plains who lived only by the chase at the same time that the corn-growing peoples inhabited their villages in the creek valleys? If so, were their contacts with the village dwellers friendly or hostile, and how did their mode of life compare with that of such later hunter folk as the Comanche and Sioux? These are but samples of the host of questions and problems confronting the student of pre history in Kansas and the Great Plains. Whatever the answers, the point to be emphasized here is that problems do exist moreover that very often the solution awaits only the serious attention of investigators trained not alone in archeology but also in related sciences, such as geography, geology, and biology.


If archeology in Kansas is in its infancy then one of its most important potential allies here, physical anthropology, can best be described as yet unborn. Probably much of northeastern Kansas will remain for all time a "terra incognita" to the student of human physical types, since neither climatic conditions nor native burial methods were conducive to the preservation of human bones. In the majority of known burial sites scattered along the lower Kansas river and on the adjacent Missouri, the practice seems to have involved deposition of the corpse on a scaffold with the exposed and weather-softened bones later gathered up and placed in a mound. Today only tiny fragments of bone have survived, these often being partially destroyed by fire, and the original conformations and measurements can never be recovered. Elsewhere, and particularly in some of the later sites, the case is not so hopeless. At least one large prehistoric burial ground has been found in the Kansas valley where the skeletons, individually interred, are in condition suitable for study. As yet these have not been subject to expert examination, but there appear to be two fairly distinct types. This is the more intriguing because among the associated cultural remains, mostly typical of the immediate region, there are several items which almost certainly represent trade pieces from the lower Arkansas- Red river area far to the south. The possible importance of studies on the physical types of Kansas lies in the fact that the several waves of incoming peoples, while all Indians, may have been of different physical appearance in addition to possessing dissimilar cultural inventories. Herein may lie additional clues as to their original habitats, as well as their position in the general picture of prehistoric America.

The immediate objective of archeological investigations in Kansas should, then, be a determination of the distinguishing characteristics of the various early peoples whose remains are to be found throughout the state. Ultimately will come their arrangement in proper sequence relative to one another, and the fitting of this sequence into the larger Plains scheme. The steps already taken in this direction in northeastern Kansas augur well for the future. It is known that in other sections different remains occur so that other sequences will have to be set up and these in turn brought into conformity with one another. It is also likely that a thorough study of early historical documents will permit identification of additional sites known to have been inhabited by named tribes since the coming of Europeans. Use of this avenue of approach has already


amply justified itself in the Pueblo, Iroquois, and Pawnee areas, and there is no reason to doubt its applicability in Kansas. Prospects seem good for picking up traces of even that most elusive of all creatures, geologically ancient man, in western Kansas. Until con- crete facts along these and other lines which may suggest themselves as fieldwork progresses have been collected and arrayed systematic- ally, the proper interpretation of the prehistory of Kansas will be severely handicapped.

Here it may be well to insert a few words of caution. The collecting of Indian arrowheads and other relics as a hobby is attracting a steadily widening circle of devotees. Insofar as this reflects an increasing interest in the serious study of human prehistory it is an encouraging sign, since few other sciences present a greater opportunity for profitable cooperation between the specialist and the intelligent hobbyist. Unfortunately, where such collecting involves digging, it becomes a grave problem if the excavator lacks the requisite technical knowledge. For the enthusiastic but untrained amateur who looks beyond the artifact for the story it may tell there is hope, since with intelligent guidance he may be able eventually to make a very material contribution to scientific research. Too many persons, however, collect only in the hope of securing specimens finer than those found by their neighbors and competitors, or of such nature as to be offered for sale on the market. It should be remembered that the number of archeological sites is very definitely limited, and their excavation by such individuals leads quickly to the ultimate destruction of the very materials with which the prehistorian must work. Simple as the methods and techniques of archeology may appear to be they are nevertheless fundamental, and unless they are conscientiously observed irreparable loss of data will ensue. A specimen torn from its context without a record is like a single word or phrase taken from the written page neither has meaning unless we know exactly where it belongs or with what it was originally associated. Similarly, a site dug out with no records is like a page taken out of a history book and destroyed it can never be replaced. For this reason it cannot be too strongly urged upon the amateur that archeological excavations should be undertaken only under the guidance or with the advice of a trained and experienced archeologist.

How far we may eventually go in the matter of explaining observable phenomena and drawing general truths therefrom remains for the future to disclose. It is obvious that the geographical posi-


tion of Kansas has exposed it to cultural influences and ethnic movements from a number of directions and from several highly developed centers of cultural differentiation. This, combined with a certain climatic instability, offers a rare opportunity for those interested in culture growth and change or in the subject of human ecology in the Great Plains. From a practical point of view, it will be interesting to see whether the archeologist in his search for explanations may not find concrete evidence that prehistoric man in the Great Plains was in some measure influenced by such vagaries of climate as are today being experienced by the white man.

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