Southeastern Expeditions

Madisonville, Turner Group, and Serpent Mound Excavations

Inventory No. 10-33
Accession No. 90-37
Date: 1890
Photographers: M. H. Saville, the Merwin Brothers, J. Swanton, among others
Contents: Cyanotype, sepia, and albumen prints
Collectors: F. W. Putnam (1839–1915) and Charles L. Metz (1847–1926)

Related Collections:
Photographs: Hundreds of glass plate negatives of Madisonville site and Serpent Mound (Hopewell, Seip, Turpin). Inventory No. 10-47 includes color slides of Hopewell site by Pictures of Record, Inc., 1989.
Artifacts: 90-37.
Paper Archives: 90-37.

Museum holdings include extensive field notes and photographs of three major sites in Ohio originally described by Squier and Davis: Madisonville (Fort Ancient Culture), the Turner Group (Hopewell Culture), and Serpent Mound. The sites were excavated over a century ago and photographed by M. H. Saville, the Merwin Brothers, and J. Swanton among others. The records provide information about early field methods (trenching and slicing) and illustrate the contextual relationships among the artifacts at the sites. Thousands of artifacts were recovered including tools, beads, and rare mica ornaments. Charles L. Metz, a physician, discovered the sites and made some initial excavations. After investigating, F. W. Putnam purchased a share for the museum and directed the excavation of Serpent Mound, a five-foot-high, 1,418-foot-long mound representing a principal deity of the culture. When Putnam returned to Boston, he delivered lectures accompanied by lantern slides about the archaeological discovery to various groups. Some women's groups became so interested that they contributed funds to reconstruct and preserve the sites. The land was subsequently given to the state of Ohio and is now a park.

Lower Mississippi Survey

Inventory No. 10-40:1-13
Accession No. 993-23
Date: 1933-1982
Photographers: Various
Collectors: Stephen Williams (1926–) and Philip Phillips (1900–1993) and others

Related Collections:
Artifacts: 993-23.
Paper Archives: 993-23.

The Lower Mississippi Survey was initiated to investigate the valley of the Mississippi River from Vicksburg to the confluence with the Ohio River. Aerial photographs are of particular interest because they were used to analyze changes in the river and prehistoric settlement patterns. One of the researchers' aims was to study the early interaction between Europeans and Native Americans. The museum holdings also include fieldnotes, maps, and artifacts collected during site excavations. Because of its recent acquisition and extensive nature, the collection awaits cataloging.

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