Stone pipe in the form of a squatting figure
From near Paint Creek, Ross County, Ohio, North
Mississippian Period, AD 1200-1500
This unfinished pipe takes the form of a squatting figure with a rattlesnake around the neck, and forked eye motifs that may represent a falcon. Both these Mississippian features frequently occur on ceremonial objects from the south-east of the United States. Archaeologists refer to this religious phenomenon as the 'Southern Cult'
Large stone pipes of this kind are a feature of the Mississippian period in North America. They were probably carefully preserved in temples on mound tops, and used in ceremonies to ensure both the health of the community and the maintenance of the power of the principal clan, lineage or family.
J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)