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Exploring Moundville (Gabrielle Van Hoet)

The Jones Archaeological Museum

 Exhibit #1

The exhibit on the religion of the native people, housed in the adjacent room, stood out to me. This may have been because of the special lighting, but the information presented did not disappoint. The exhibit began with a summary of the beliefs and traditions of the people. According to the plaque, religion was at the center of the community. Religious ceremonies commemorated a variety of significant points of life. Life did not end with death. The people believed that the soul traveled to an after-life.

A structure was set up just inside the doorway. The structure, made of earth, was only one room. It was empty, except for a few things here and there. Historians determined that the structure was for important ceremonies, such as religious ceremonies. I found this hard to believe because of the simplicity. This, however, reminded me of the simplicity of the time.

Natives adopted the ability to use the resources around the area. Such resources were used to make clay vessels, in which different stories were depicted by engravings. A winged serpent appeared on a number of vessels in this exhibit. The animal was like nothing I have ever seen before, but the artistry conveyed the animal quite well. The plaque claimed that this animal appeared to people in spiritual visions. This form of art allows people today to envision how the natives viewed the celestial world.

I find the subject of religion to be thought-provoking, in any context, because religion is never the same for separate groups. This exhibit presented new information, allowing me to learn more about the people. This exhibit was, by far, my favorite aspect of the museum.


Exhibit #2

            Historians determined all the information in the museum through the artifacts found in the area. One part of the exhibit describes the different trades of the males in the community. Each of the descriptions came from a variety of tools found. I found this to be not only informative of the roles of males, but also informative of the needs of the community.

Descriptions included that of the elite. This included noble men, heirs to the throne, and especially the chief. Material objects, such as clothing, jewelry, and houses, set the elite apart from the others. All of the artifacts in the case looked better crafted. This status meant that the elites received special treatment. With this special treatment came special duties. The elite were to use the special treatment to better the community as a whole.

Another description was that of the community medicine man. The medicine man not only collected different herbs, but also mixed these natural ingredients in different ways to heal a variety of conditions. Everything used to mix these were included in the artifacts, such as clay dishes and tools made from rocks. I imagine that the medicine man was important in the community based on the amount of artifacts found relating to the trade.

This exhibit allowed me to better understand the roles of different people within the community. The information showed that each one of the trades contributed to the community in a different way. This, in turn, allowed the community to be successful.