Keno Trailed Bottle

Trailed/incised bottle, shell- and grog-tempered pottery
Caddo (historic), 1500-1600
E. Hardin Mound site (3CL196)
Hodges 77-1 / 19-76

This piece of pottery is notable for its trailed (wide line) design that would have been incised with a stylus before the clay hardened. From the side, the design appears as arcs and loops. However, from the top, the pattern forms nested squares. Similar designs can be found on other Caddo bottles within the Hodges collection.

Historically, the Caddo used their vessels in both domestic and ceremonial life. While we do not have specific details about this bottle, people often buried bowls, bottles, and jars filled with food or water with the deceased to aid in the journey to the afterlife. Through conversations with present-day Caddos and analysis of the vessels themselves, we can learn beliefs about death, afterlife, and the cosmos.

Under the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) passed in 1990, human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony in museum collections are meant to be repatriated to Indian tribes. The Joint Educational Consortium and Arkansas Archeological Survey work with the Caddo Nation both in interpreting artifacts and in their respectful treatment.

For more information, visit the Caddo Nation Historic Preservation website and the National Park Service’s Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act overview.

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