Human Effigy Bottle

Incised/engraved/appliqued bottle, shell- and grog-tempered pottery
Caddo (historic), 1600-1700
Upper Tisdale site (3HS98)
Hodges 77-1 / 21-136

Two faces with eyes, noses, mouths, chins, and ears are depicted on the two sides of this effigy bottle. This is an unusual example of anthropomorphic or human representation on Caddo pottery. The shape of the bottle and its decoration are familiar from the Caddo area, but the human head representation recalls Mississippian period “head pots” from northeastern Arkansas. Did these bottles depict specific people such as honored leaders or ancestors with facial tattoos, or were they representing spiritual beliefs and supernatural figures important in Caddo and Mississippian cosmologies? As bottles, they may have held liquids used in ceremonies or rituals important to community members.

To read about another human effigy bottle from the Arkadelphia area, see the Arkansas Archeological Survey website. For more information on Mississippian head pots, see the “Encyclopedia of Arkansas” website.

3D model created by Teka McGlothlin and Sarah Shepard, text by Mary Beth Trubitt.