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. The Spiro Mound: A Photo Essay

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The Spiro Mound: A Photo Essay

Photographs from the collection of Dr. Robert E. Bell

By Larry and Christopher Merriam

Colorful 8 1/2" X 11" Hardback Cover

400 High Quality Glossy pages

161 Full-Page B&W Photos

Hundreds of artifacts shown

This book uses the latest interpretations to detail the history of this important Southeast Ceremonial Complex site. First person accounts from eye-witnesses, archaeologists, reporters, and the Pocolo Miners themselves help put the digging of the mound in its historical context. 

The full-color cover features an original painting of the mound as it might have looked 550 years ago after the site was abandoned. Three key Spiro artifacts are shown in color in the sky above the mound. These artifacts are also shown in color on the back cover (3 views of the Big Boy Pipe), inside front cover (nearly life-size version of the Bell-Townsend-Onken Blade) and inside back cover (the rarely pictured Alibates Mace from the Smithsonian collection).

The Introduction presents the history of the mound using new illustrations and maps to describe its construction between 950 to 1450 AD, its destruction between 1933 to 1941 and finally its reconstruction in the 1970s. The archaeological history of the mound is told using contemporary accounts to capture the realities of that time period (the Great Depression ).

The major portion of the book features 161 full-page B&W Photographs from the collection of Dr. Robert E. Bell with captions on each facing page. These pictures contain over 4000 artifacts, 3000 in one photo alone. The collection histories of the pictured artifacts are traced from the mound to their current location where data was available. Also shown are diggers, dealers and others associated with the mound during the excavations of the 1930s. The excavation photos of the mound each have a location map showing the direction the photographer was shooting. These maps also show the status of the excavation at the time of the photograph.

Many of these pictures have never been published before. Few have been shown in this full-page format. Eyewitness accounts from Dr. Bell, W. Guinn Cooper (one of the diggers), newspaper articles of the day and other early publications are presented together for the first time. See reviews of the book in "Indian Artifacts Magazine," "Prehistoric American," "Chips : The Flintknappers Publication" and others.

Please follow the links at left for more information about our book.

If you would like to learn a little more about the Spiro Mound please visit my other website at

Thanks for visiting,
Chris and Larry Merriam