Saturday Art: Spiro Mounds, Caddo Relics
In the territory now known as Northeastern Oklahoma there are the remains of a community that can be traced to 700 – 1500 A.D., approximately, where Caddo lived and made a village. The civilization located there seems to have vanished at a time when drought has proved to have made it hard to live. Visiting there today, we still can see the mounds where they buried their dead, and ceremonial patterns that show their observance of the sun’s role in their culture.
From the top of Brown Mound, the center of the former village, the sun rising on the Solstice will hit the top of another, former chief”s, burial mound. It varies with the season, but shows the use of the sun’s appearance to establish the position of the dweller in the mound to appear as the chosen of the sun gods. The solstice is sometimes celebrated in the present, and visitors get the chance to see the sun’s rays do as the ancients intended.
The relics excavated from the burial mounds have been scattered in large part, because early archaeologists were more interested in profit than history. The end of digging up and selling Caddo relics came before they all were lost, and some appear in museums throughout the state and farther away.
On a visit to the Museum of the Red River in Idabel, OK, I was pleased to find points and carved relics from the Caddo who occupied the Spiro area.