The Ramey/ Peet Cahokia tablet

With the basic design of the Georgia-Tennessee gorgets in mind it is interesting to examine the well-known Cahokia Tablet (fig 21). This irregular stone tablet bears incised on one side a central striped pole, flanked by two pileated woodpecker heads, their mouths open and “speech” scrolls issuing from their mouths.  On the reverse is engraved the Pole again, this time flanked by two human heads tilted backward with mouths open as if singing, again with speech scrolls. 

There can be little doubt that the Georgia-Tennessee gorgets and the Cahokia Tablet are expressing in highly simplified form a more complicated symbolic concept or ritual.  It is of particular interest, therefore, to examine four gorgets from the Spiro Mound figured by Hamilton in plates 88c, 89a, and b, and 90b. In plate 90b there is a central pole with four spots consisting of concentric circles.

It is surmounted by a pot decorated with curving lines, issuing from which is a gulloche-like element, and on each side are two human figures, apparently dancing and singing. With right and left hands they support the pot, and in their left and right hands are rattles.  Their kilts are ornamented with crosses and are supported by large fringed and knotted sashes. One has a large fanlike feather bustle, the other is a turkey hen drawn in quite a lifelike manner.

Several similarities are apparent when comparing the Weck Stone with the Ramey Tablet.  A spiral scroll is emanating from the open beak of the woodpecker.  Each tablet has a face opposite of the woodpecker head.  

Ramey tablet is broken in quarters, and only one half of it was every found.
Dimensions: 61.5 mm by 75.5mm by 15.5mm thick. Weight=108 grams
It is associated with Mound 18, a conical burial mound just to the east of Monks Mound.

According to Edward Armstrong, in the Folklore of Birds,

“Romans regarded the bird as a transformed king, so in Indian legend he is a Raja who lost his throne. All the evidence consistently points to the woodpecker as having been associated with fertility. The birds close association with the oak suggests that it did not become a thunderbird earlier than the period when oak forests were widespread (5000BC-2000BC).” 

Armstrong writes that the evidence of woodpeckers as a motif falls between the Mesolithic and the Bronze Age. Myths relate that a woodpecker would call before an approaching storm, and that the bird drinks only rainwater. The red cap of the Piliated authenticated his status as rain-maker.  He was making thunder and so bringing rain.

The original is now in the collection of the Madison County Historical Museum in Edwardsville.  Obverse has two faces incised on one side, and the farces of what appear to be stylized pileated woodpecker heads with speech scrolls emanating from their mouths on the other. On both sides the images are separated by a margin which has been identified as a striped pole and is included as a basic characteristic of the Southern Ceremonial Complex. Reverse depiction of faces are significantly different from the one on the Cahokia Tablet.  Both have two occipital hair knots and a variation of speech glyphs coming from their mouths.  They have headdresses depicting the beaded forelock, much shorter noses, and small yet clearly discernible ear spools.

There are several points which we make in connection with the tablet.

  1. First, in reference to the faces; these are exactly such faces as are common among the sun-worshipers of the south.  
     

  2. Second, the figures correspond to stone idols and terra cotta images found elsewhere, the retreating forehead and open mouth having become familiar to us by means of the pipes and incense burners found in the southern mounds.  
     

  3. Third, the faces on the tablet are such as to correspond to the elongated skulls found at Cahokia and among the southern mounds.  These flattened skulls are peculiar.  They differ entirely from the round skulls, which are common at Cahokia and in the northern States Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin but which are not founds in the Southern States.  Two distinct races evidently inhabited this spot at different times.
     

  4. Fourth, the chief point, which we make, is in reference to the horse shoe figure seen issuing from the mouth.  A photograph might reveal the lines in such a way that our readers would be better satisfied, but we throw it out a s theory that this horse-shoe near the mouth of each figure is a symbol of the soul, and that we have in it the same symbolism common in the far east, the horse-shoe being considered the emblem of the soul or the spirit of life in India, and corresponds to the Nile key in Egypt.”

    (p 58-59 American Antiquarian)

 

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Appendix 1:

Lithic Types from the American Bottom Region:

POINT NAME

ACTUAL LENGTH (mm)

ACTUAL WIDTH (mm)

ACTUAL THICKNESS (mm)

Early Est.

LATE EST.

TIME PERIOD

Clovis

 

 

 

-12000

-11000

 

Scraper

 

 

 

-12000

1500

 

Scraper

 

 

 

-12000

1500

 

Scraper

 

 

 

-12000

1500

 

Scraper

 

 

 

-12000

1500

 

Scraper

 

 

 

-12000

1500

 

Scraper

 

 

 

-12000

1500

 

Paleo Blade

 

 

 

-11000

-9000

 

Folsom

 

 

 

-9000

-8000

Paleo

Agate Basin

 

 

 

-8500

-8000

Early Archaic

Agate Basin

 

 

 

-8500

-8000

Early Archaic

Agate Basin

 

 

 

-8500

-8000

Early Archaic

Agate Basin

 

 

 

-8500

-8000

Early Archaic

Sloan Dalton

 

 

 

-8500

-7900

Early Archaic

Kessell Side Notched

60.11

36.87

8.12

-8400

-7400

Early Archaic

Hardin

75.39

29.66

7.16

-8000

-5500

Early Archaic

Hardin

 

 

 

-8000

-5500

Early Archaic

Hardin

 

 

 

-8000

-5500

Early Archaic

Hardin

 

 

 

-8000

-5500

Early Archaic

Hardin

 

 

 

-8000

-5500

Early Archaic

Hardin

53.46

22.5

7.29

-8000

-5500

Early Archaic

Hardin Barbed

62.89

32.78

6.61

-8000

-5500

Early Archaic

Lost Lake

63.4

43.62

8

-8000

-6000

Early Archaic

Lost Lake

53.35

36.65

8.53

-8000

-6000

Early Archaic

Quad

 

 

 

-8000

-7244

Late Paleo

Square Knife

 

 

 

-8000

-6000

Archaic

St. Charles Dovetail

74

37

 

-8000

-6000

Early Archaic

St. Charles Dovetail

40.74

27.82

6.6

-8000

-6000

Early Archaic

St. Charles Dovetail

 

 

 

-8000

-6000

Early Archaic

St. Charles Dovetail

79.99

35.29

6.84

-8000

-6000

Early Archaic

Thebes

 

57.01

8.9

-8000

-6000

Early Archaic

Thebes

 

 

 

-8000

-6000

Early Archaic

Thebes

 

 

 

-8000

-6000

Early Archaic

Thebes

 

 

 

-8000

-6000

Early Archaic

Triangle - Unknown

 

 

 

-8000

-6000

Archaic

Triangle - Unknown

 

 

 

-8000

-6000

Archaic

Triangle - Unknown

 

 

 

-8000

-6000

Archaic

Triangle - Unknown

 

 

 

-8000

-6000

Archaic

Drill

90.1

22.54

8.8

-7500

-6500

Early Archaic

Drill

 

 

 

-7500

-6500

Early Archaic

Drill

 

 

 

-7500

-6500

Early Archaic

Kirk Corner Notched

 

 

 

-7500

-6900

Early Archaic

Kirk Corner Notched

 

 

 

-7500

-6000

Archaic

Kirk Corner Notched

 

 

 

-7500

-6000

Archaic

Kirk Corner Notched

 

 

 

-7500

-6000

Archaic

Kirk Corner Notched

 

 

 

-7500

-6000

Archaic

Kirk Corner Notched

 

 

 

-7500

-6000

Archaic

Kirk punch serratetd

 

 

 

-7500

-6000

Archaic

Kirk serratetd

 

 

 

-7500

-6000

Archaic

Stillwell

103.25

38.43

6.92

-7500

-6900

Early Archaic

Stillwell Corner Notched

72

 

 

-7500

-6900

Early Archaic

Neuberger

77.45

37.31

7.94

-7300

-7000

Early Archaic

Greenbrier

 

 

 

-7000

-5000

Archaic

Greenbrier

47.76

25.88

8.84

-7000

-5000

Archaic

Maccorkle stemmed

 

 

 

-7000

-6500

Early Archaic

Kirk Stemmed

76.12

30.27

9.7

-6900

-6000

Archaic

St. Albans Side Notched

 

 

 

-6900

-6500

Early Archaic

Lecroy Bifurcated

 

 

 

-6500

-5800

Archaic

Crescent Bannerstone

 

 

 

-6000

-4000

Archaic

Crescent Bannerstone

 

 

 

-6000

-4000

Archaic

Godar Matanzas

 

 

 

-6000

-3000

Archaic

double edged bannerstone

 

 

 

-5800

-4000

Middle Archaic

double notched buttefly

 

 

 

-5500

-3500

Archaic

Tama

44.54

26.64

8.45

-4500

-3000

Archaic

Richardson Tablet

 

 

 

-4300

-500

Late Archaic

Celt

 

 

 

-4000

-2000

Archaic

Celt

 

 

 

-4000

-2000

Archaic

Celt large

 

 

 

-4000

-2000

Archaic

Chungke Stone

 

 

 

-4000

-2000

Archaic

Pestle

 

 

 

-4000

-2000

Archaic

Stone Ball

 

 

 

-4000

-2000

Archaic

Bottleneck

58.15

20.78

6.66

-3770

-3000

Archaic

Bottleneck

 

 

 

-3770

-3000

Archaic

Karnak

64.51

22.65

9.24

-3700

-3000

Archaic

Karnak

 

 

 

-3700

-3000

Archaic

Karnak

 

 

 

-3700

-3000

Archaic

Karnak Unstemmed

 

 

 

-3700

-3000

Archaic

Karnak Unstemmed

 

 

 

-3700

-3000

Archaic

Matanzas

 

 

 

-3700

-3000

Archaic

Matanzas

 

 

 

-3700

-3000

Archaic

Matanzas

68.2

26.54

6.67

-3700

-3000

Archaic

Matanzas

68.2

26.54

6.67

-3700

-3000

Archaic

Matanzas

68.2

26.54

6.67

-3700

-3000

Archaic

Matanzas

68.2

26.54

6.67

-3700

-3000

Archaic

Matanzas

68.2

26.54

6.67

-3700

-3000

Archaic

Elk River Stemmed

84.03

30.12

9.66

-3500

-2000

Late Archaic

Lamoka

54.43

23.06

6.47

-3500

-1800

Late Archaic

Lamoka

34.48

15.62

5.97

-3500

-1800

Late Archaic

Lamoka

 

 

 

-3500

-1800

Late Archaic

Common Corner Notch

65.99

32.32

9.06

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Common Corner Notch

87.47

32.88

8.49

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Etley

 

 

 

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Etley

 

 

 

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Etley

158.75

41.05

30.07

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Table Rock Stemmed

 

 

 

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Table Rock Stemmed

 

 

 

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Table Rock Stemmed

 

 

 

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Table Rock Stemmed

 

 

 

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Table Rock Stemmed

 

 

 

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Table Rock Stemmed

 

 

 

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Table Rock Stemmed

62

28.51

8.96

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Table Rock Stemmed

54.06

26.24

10.27

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Table Rock Stemmed

53.35

28.64

10.1

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Table Rock Stemmed

55.41

30.71

11.02

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Table Rock Stemmed, snapped

 

 

 

-3000

-1000

Late Archaic

Brewerton

 

 

 

-2980

-1723

Late Archaic

Brewerton

 

 

 

-2980

-1723

Late Archaic

Brewerton

 

 

 

-2980

-1723

Late Archaic

Brewerton

26.06

17.03

7.97

-2980

-1723

Late Archaic

Brewerton

31.11

19.31

8.29

-2980

-1723

Late Archaic

Ledbetter Stemmed

 

 

 

-2500

-1000

Late Archaic

Ledbetter Stemmed

 

 

 

-2500

-1000

Late Archaic

Ledbetter Stemmed

 

 

 

-2500

-1000

Late Archaic

Ledbetter Stemmed

 

 

 

-2500

-1000

Late Archaic

Ledbetter Stemmed

 

 

 

-2500

-1000

Late Archaic

Pickwick

73.92

33.52

9.24

-2500

-1000

Late Archaic

Saratoga-Pickwick

 

 

 

-2500

-1000

Late Archaic

Saratoga-Pickwick

 

 

 

-2500

-1000

Late Archaic

Saratoga-Pickwick

 

 

 

-2500

-1000

Late Archaic

Saratoga-Pickwick

 

 

 

-2500

-1000

Late Archaic

Saratoga-Pickwick

 

 

 

-2500

-1000

Late Archaic

Saratoga-Pickwick

 

 

 

-2500

-1000

Late Archaic

Snook Hill

 

 

 

-1800

-1600

Late Archaic

Saratoga-Pickwick

 

 

 

-2500

-1000

Late Archaic

Sedalia Lanceolate

171.45

 

 

-2000

-1000

Late Archaic

Sedalia Lanceolate

70.42

23.95

11.48

-2000

-1000

Late Archaic

Sedalia Lanceolate

74.58

22.6

11.35

-2000

-1000

Late Archaic

Sedalia Lanceolate

98.45

29.47

11.86

-2000

-1000

Late Archaic

Sedalia Lanceolate

112.8

29.94

13.81

-2000

-1000

Late Archaic

Sedalia Lanceolate

114.67

30.11

14

-2000

-1000

Late Archaic

Ashtabula

 

 

 

-1700

-700

Late Archaic

Nebo Hill Lanceolate

 

 

 

-1605

-1020

Late Archaic

Merom

 

 

 

-1600

-1000

Late Archaic

Merom

 

 

 

-1600

-1000

Late Archaic

Merom

 

 

 

-1600

-1000

Late Archaic

Merom

43.63

26.57

6.54

-1600

-1000

Late Archaic

Merom

 

 

 

-1600

-1000

Late Archaic

Merom

 

 

 

-1600

-1000

Late Archaic

Merom

 

 

 

-1600

-1000

Late Archaic

Merom

 

 

 

-1600

-1000

Late Archaic

Adena Gary

 

 

 

-1500

100

Woodland

Buck Creek Barbed

46.39

24.66

5.83

-1500

-600

Late Archaic

Buck Creek Barbed

67.44

33.72

7.92

-1500

-600

Late Archaic

Buck Creek Barbed

44.88

22.24

7.54

-1500

-600

Late Archaic

Little Bear Creek

74.32

35.89

10.09

-1500

-500

Late Archaic

Little Bear Creek

 

 

 

-1500

-500

Late Archaic

Little Bear Creek

 

 

 

-1500

-500

Late Archaic

Little Bear Creek

 

 

 

-1500

-500

Late Archaic

Little Bear Creek

 

 

 

-1500

-500

Late Archaic

Little Bear Creek

 

 

 

-1500

-500

Late Archaic

Little Bear Creek

 

 

 

-1500

-500

Late Archaic

Little Bear Creek

 

 

 

-1500

-500

Late Archaic

Little Bear Creek

 

 

 

-1500

-500

Late Archaic

Little Bear Creek

88.93

32.75

10.81

-1500

-500

Late Archaic

Little Bear Creek

75.61

35.87

9.05

-1500

-500

Late Archaic

Delhi

84.63

37.68

9.32

-1300

-200

Late Archaic

Delhi - Wade Base

 

 

 

-1300

-200

Late Archaic

Cresap Stemmed

 

 

 

-1000

-500

Late Archaic

Cresap Stemmed

 

 

 

-1000

-500

Late Archaic

Cypress Stemmed

 

 

 

-1000

-300

Woodland

Adena

52.28

22.37

9.05

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

52.28

22.37

9.05

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

61.62

25.85

10.98

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

44.74

21.97

8.32

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

69.43

29.26

7.63

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

85.44

32.82

8.32

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena

34.96

19.95

5.69

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena Blade

93.13

49.22

9.76

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena Blade

83.75

41.45

6.78

-800

-300

Woodland

Adena Robins

 

 

 

-800

200

Woodland

Adena Robins

37.96

23.34

7.95

-800

200

Woodland

Dickson Contracting Stemmed

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Dickson Contracting Stemmed

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Dickson Contracting Stemmed

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Dickson Contracting Stemmed

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Dickson Contracting Stemmed

 

 

 

-800

-300

Woodland

Motley

 

 

 

-800

-600

Woodland

Motley

 

 

 

-800

-600

Woodland

Motley

 

 

 

-800

-600

Woodland

Motley

 

 

 

-800

-600

Woodland

Motley

48.56

21.33

6.97

-800

-600

Woodland

Motley

57.09

28.72

8.05

-800

-600

Woodland

Motley

38.34

22.16

7.98

-800

-600

Woodland

Kramer

 

 

 

-500

-400

Woodland

Kramer

 

 

 

-500

-400

Woodland

Kramer

 

 

 

-500

-400

Woodland

Kramer

 

 

 

-500

-400

Woodland

Kramer

 

 

 

-500

-400

Woodland

Kramer

53.11

29.36

6.28

-500

-400

Woodland

Kramer

55.11

27.97

8.28

-500

-400

Woodland

Kramer

37.9

23.37

7.94

-500

-400

Woodland

Kramer

53.82

30.68

8.74

-500

-400

Woodland

Kramer

51.28

23.93

7.73

-500

-400

Woodland

Kramer

59.22

26.27

8.71

-500

-400

Woodland

Kramer - mussell shell

41.56

15.59

5.91

-500

-400

Woodland

Kramer Drill

 

 

 

-500

-400

Woodland

Snyders

 

 

 

-130

-120

Woodland

Snyders

43.92

27.94

6.57

-130

-120

Woodland

Snyders

 

 

 

-130

-120

Woodland

Snyders

 

 

 

-130

-120

Woodland

Snyders

55.09

49.12

10.17

-130

-120

Woodland

Snyders

46.91

26.92

8.58

-130

-120

Woodland

Lowe Flared base

 

 

 

-100

200

Woodland

Lowe Flared base

 

 

 

-100

200

Woodland

Lowe Flared base

 

 

 

-100

200

Woodland

Steuben Expanded Stemmed

 

 

 

100

500

Woodland

Steuben Expanded Stemmed

 

 

 

100

500

Woodland

Steuben Expanded Stemmed

 

 

 

100

500

Woodland

Jacks Reef

49.5

32.09

6.04

400

500

Woodland

Jacks Reef

34.91

26.08

11.06

400

500

Woodland

Hamilton Incurvate

 

 

 

500

1000

mississippian

Levanna

22.47

16.77

5.19

700

1200

mississippian

Hoe

185

90

 

800

1350

mississippian

Hoe

161.925

135.29

14.04

800

1350

mississippian

Madison

23.7

13.68

2.74

800

1300

mississippian

Madison

 

 

 

800

1300

mississippian

Madison

 

 

 

800

1300

mississippian

Madison

 

 

 

800

1300

mississippian

Madison

 

 

 

800

1300

mississippian

Madison

35.77

14.5

4.1

800

1300

mississippian

Scallorn

27.78

9.98

4.09

800

1100

mississippian

Scallorn

 

 

 

800

1100

mississippian

Scallorn

 

 

 

800

1100

mississippian

Scallorn

 

 

 

800

1100

mississippian

Scallorn

 

 

 

800

1100

mississippian

Scallorn

 

 

 

800

1100

mississippian

Scallorn

 

 

 

800

1100

mississippian

Sequoya - Flake

 

 

 

800

1350

mississippian

Sequoya - Flake

30.62

15.84

1.77

800

1350

mississippian

Sequoya - Flake

30.62

15.84

1.77

800

1350

mississippian

Sequoyah

24.65

13.09

2.84

800

1350

mississippian

Sequoyah

19.6

10.1

3.28

800

1350

mississippian

Sequoyah

26.49

12.73

3.99

800

1350

mississippian

Sequoyah

 

 

 

800

1350

mississippian

Sequoyah - Base

19.11

12.8

5.7

800

1350

mississippian

Washita

19.5

12.35

3.16

800

1050

mississippian

Washita

18.79

11.72

2.73

800

1050

mississippian

Cahokia

26.44

13.86

3.24

900

1350

mississippian

Cahokia

 

 

 

900

1350

mississippian

Cahokia

 

 

 

900

1350

mississippian

Cahokia

38.07

15.43

4

900

1350

mississippian

Big Celt

158.75

78.5

48.6

1150

1200

 

Little Celt

129.4

62.57

34.93

1150

1200

 

Salt Glazed Crockery

 

 

 

1820

1860

 

Spoon

 

 

 

1850

1900

 

Spoon

 

 

 

1850

1900

 

Drill

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triangular Blade

64.71

42.61

8.34

 

 

 

Unifacial Triangular Blade

33.34

19.17

5.35

 

 

 

Source of comparative data: Justice, Noel, Stone Age Spear and Arrow Points of the Midcontinental and Eastern United States: A Modern Survey and Reference.

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