In eastern Oklahoma, on the banks of the Arkansas River, lies one of the most important ancient sites ever identified - the Spiro Mounds.
Although they created one of the most highly-developed civilizations, the Spiroan people and their Mississippian peers are nearly forgotten in the pages of history. Explore the art, history, and singular nature of this ancient site as it rose from humble beginnings to become the most unique cultural and ceremonial center in pre-European contact North America.
The quality, quantity, and variety of items discovered at Spiro is staggering. Thousands of objects, created in many different mediums, bear images of people deities, deity impersonators, animals, and mysterious composite creatures.
Together, these objects form pictorial narratives that provide critical insight into the lives of the Mississippian people.
Today's Native American communities in the American Southeast and the Plains, and possibly in Mesoamerica, are linked to Spiro through their use of similar imagery in historical works - hide paintings, ledger drawings, and tipi and shield covers - as well as in their twentieth-century paintings, sculpture, ceramics, basketry, and weavings.
The story of Spiro is not limited to the past or focused solely on art. It is reflected in the everyday lives of people today. It is a story of how religion and the environments shape us, as illustrated through community developments, religious and ceremonial activities, farming and hunting practices, and daily life.
Learn how a "Little Ice Age" beginning in AD 1350 and lasting until AD 1650 may have led to the site's decline and ultimate abandonment - an environmental threat similar to one we face today.
*Please Note: This book is an exhibition catalog, and is ineligible for the Membership Discount*
Recovering Ancient Spiro
Dear Museum, If you are asking me how easy it was to get the book from you, it was totally easy and your sales group was totally excellent. -- If you are asking me about the book I bought, the great catalogue of your great show, "Recovering Ancient Spiro", although I lhave always lived -- ninety years -- in snotty, provincial New York City, I have known for eighty years the greatness of the Spiro site, the tragedy of its original looting and the triumoph of re-collecting its great works over the decades. Therefore I visited the site fifty years ago. ThereforeI I gloried in your glorious book, thorough and excellent in all its approaches, aspects and presentations -- including the many plates of contemporary Indian art. (Yes, Indian, and not current Woke sustitutes. As my best Indian friend and housemate for two yesrs, the late poet and Chaucer scholar Carter Revard frequently said and wrote, "I'm Osage. We're Indians. I wish you highbrows in Massachusetts and New York would stop trying to impose new, goofy names on us".) -- Spiro was the findsput of the three greatest known Indian sculptures of humans, all three of which are in your catalogue. Excellent! The greatest work of art in the State of Oklahoma is "the American Indian Lucifer" in the U. of Oklahoma's museum. Congratulations and Thank You! New York to Oklahoma: All Hail! ! (Prof.) Francis B. Randall
Great information. Book will become a collector item.
I’m obsessed with Spiro and had to miss the exhibition but treated myself to the book. It’s a wonderful presentation of important history. Wado!