Hahn Highlights: Appliqué Human Face Effigy Rim Sherd
Posted On: 05/15/2017 - 12:52pm, Posted By: Tyler Swinney, NAGPRA Coordinator and Tribal Liaison
Welcome to the second installment of Archaeology Collections’ long-term blog series: Hahn Highlights!
Today we have another interesting artifact recovered during Cincinnati Museum Center’s Archaeology Field School at the Hahn Site — a rim sherd with an appliqué human face effigy and paired strap handles.
Rim sherd with applique human face and paired handles
Ceramic artifacts are one of the most common objects recovered from Fort Ancient archaeological sites in the Cincinnati-area. As both utilitarian and ceremonial objects, countless ceramic vessels of many different shapes and sizes were manufactured, broken, and discarded at Fort Ancient sites with long periods of settlement. Occupied multiple times during the middle (AD 1200-1400) and late Fort Ancient (AD 1400-1650) time periods, the Hahn Site is no exception!
The rim sherd pictured above is one of the rarest artifacts Cincinnati Museum Center archaeologists have recovered over the course of nine field seasons at the Hahn Site. It was discovered during the 2009 field season from Feature 38, a Madisonville-age (AD 1400-1650) earth oven that was subsequently used as a discrete locality to discard household refuse after it was no longer serviceable for baking food. Measuring approximately 136 mm in width and 81 mm tall, the rim sherd is shell-tempered, with an unthickened everted rim, and very thin paired strap handles with a small appliqué human face effigy with two eyes and an open mouth at the base of the strap handles. The paired strap handles and appliqué human face effigy, both of which are very rare on Fort Ancient pottery, suggest that this sherd, part of a medium-sized jar, may have been part of a ceramic vessel that served a ceremonial function. In what types of ceremonies do you think the vessel from which this rim sherd came could have been used?
Close-up image of applique human face