Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Do As I Say, Not As I Do"

"Do as I say, not as I do" was one of the idioms I heard as a child. It was a reminder from the adults that I was supposed to mind them, obey their instructions regardless of what they did; i.e. obey not imitate.

Before we left on vacation I had three specific agendas: Moundville, my niece in Florida and Charleston/Sullivan's Island, SC. The morning of the third day found us at Moundville, Alabama where Bud took this picture of me:


He had a lot of fun posting a similar picture to Facebook warning my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of my gene pool that this was a glimpse into their future. I told him he should just label it "do as I say, not as I do" because I for sure wouldn't have let them go out on those rocks!
That's the Black Warrior River in the background.


Another view of the river which was a major transportation route for the early Native Americans living at Moundville.


Bud standing next to one of the bird totems at the entrance to the Jones Archaeological Museum.


Some of the display cases in the museum. The quantity and quality of artifacts unearthed at Moundville was remarkable and so fascinating to me.


Small Vulture Effigy Bowl carved from limestone - circa A.D. 1250-1500.


Another Effigy Bowl. I think the card said "Serpent/Duck" and that it was the largest specimen of its type. It just amazes me that these survived intact.


I had aspirations of climbing to the top of the largest mound, but I didn't think I could with my bad knees, so I went as far as I could and had Bud take my picture. He said, "You know you're already about half-way to the top." So I went on - just like the little engine, "I think I can, I think I can."


Proof that I made it to the top - I took this picture of Bud at the edge with many of the smaller mounds in the background. (Also, I have pictures of me on top of the mound.)


Picture of me on the patio of the museum with a borrow pit pond and lesser mounds in the background. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Jones Museum.

I first learned about Moundville - as well as other mounds of the Mississippian Culture period the same way I learn about a lot of things - by reading. In this case the books of W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear. People of the River was about the Cahokia Mounds in Illinois which we have also been to. People of the Weeping Eye introduced me to Moundville.


On the way home, at a rest stop, Bud read of another mound site - Winterville near Greenville, MS. This resulted in a bit of backtracking, but hey, we weren't on a time schedule. That's the highest mound at this site in the background. And yes, we both made it to the top of the Temple Mound.


The artifacts in the museum here weren't quite as extensive. One I found interesting was this 'bound captive' Stone Effigy Pipe.


Another was this display of round discs made from various types of stone. It is believed they were used as rolling targets in spear-throwing contests.


For me, one of the most interesting items in the museum was this large photograph showing the flooding in the Great Mississippi floods of 1927. The mounds were one of the few land sites not under water. As such, cattle and other animals took what refuge they could atop them.

By 1939 many of the mounds in this area had already been destroyed by highway construction and farming. If it hadn't been for the efforts of the women of the Greenville Garden Club, this forty-two acre site might not exist today. Thank goodness for those women and their foresight as the Winterville Mounds National Historic Landmark continues to be developed.

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