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Bell Plain Female Effigy Bottle / Southeast, Mississippian

Essay/Description

Hump Backed Human Effigy Jar -- Large human image of gray ware showing entire female body, opening in back of head. According to archaeologist, Kent Reilly, this figure may represent “the old woman who never dies” a mythic ancestor among Southeastern nations.

Bell Plain (highly polished) pottery type -- Bell Plain is prevalent at sites along the Mississippi River in Arkansas. It has finely crushed shell temper, a well-polished to highly polished surface, and varies in color from shades of gray to buff to orange (pp 10-12, Hathcock, Roy).

Curatorial Remarks

Bell Plain (Phillips 1970:58-61) bottle with direct rim and rounded lip behind an anthropomorphic head with appliqued nose, eyes, lips and perforated ears. Female body composed by two globular bodies with appliqued lines as arms and incised hands over the flexed legs. Nodes at the back under the opening. Rounded circular base with two appliqued lines as legs. 10YR 4/1 Dark Gray.


Phillips, Philip. Archaeological Survey in the lower Yazoo Basin, Mississippi, 1949-1955. Vol. 60. Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, 1970.

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Title(s): 
Bell Plain Female Effigy Bottle; Hump backed human effigy jar
Culture: 
Southeast, Mississippian
Date: 
1200-1600 CE
Period: 
Middle to Late Mississippian
Place: 
Crittenden county, Arkansas
Materials/Techniques: 
Clay, shells, appliqued, incised
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
54.1307
Previous Number(s): 
V-949; 5425.1307; Lemley V-949
Department: 
Not On View

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