Indian Hill Mound in St. Louis County, Missouri

The private collection of John Krumm (initials JK on specimens in his collection) includes two significant artifacts discovered in the Meramec River drainage during the 1910s and 1920s. The most significant artifact is half of a Long Nosed God Mask carved from a piece of shell. The mask measures 4.0 cm in length and its original width can be estimated as 3.8 cm. It measures 2.4 mm thick. The nasal slot measures 2.7 cm in length. The goggle eye is 1.0 cm in diameter. The surviving fragment weighs 4.4 grams; the original amulet must have weighed approximately 9 grams. A visual comparison of the amulet from Indian Hill Mound with other Long Nosed God Masks can be found at the bottom of this webpage.

A second important artifact discovered by John Krumm is a carved effigy pipe in the form of a crouching figure. I will refer to this pipe as the Krumm Pipe. Front view of a limestone pipe in the form of a crouching figure. The surviving height of the Krumm pipe is 16.5 cm. It can be estimated that the original pipe, with a head, would have measured approximately 20.0 cm in height. This style of stone pipe has been suggested as dating from AD 1100 to 1200.

Side view of a Krumm pipe. The maximum length of the pipe is 17.0 cm.

Back view of Krumm pipe. The maximum width of the Krumm pipe is 13.3 cm.

Side view of the Krumm pipe clearing showing an arm and leg.

Base view of the Krumm pipe. The base measures 12.2 cm by 12.3 cm with a thickness of 2.3 cm.

View of the Krumm pipe in the form of a crouching figure clearing showing the chamber to hold the tobacco.

The top hole (that received the burning matter) measures 3.7 cm. in diameter. The lower hole, where wooden pipe probably linked to the pipe, measures 2.8 cm. in diameter.


The mask from Indian Hill mound in St. Louis County is very similar to the Long-Nosed God mask from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Milner (2004: Figure 93) identifies the shell mask from Muscle Shoals as a "Short"-Nosed God Mask and reports that it measures 3.6 cm (1.4 inches) in height. Information from Williams and Coggin (1956: Figure 15 A and B) indicate that the Muscle Shoals mask measures 1.9 inches ( 4.8 cm) in height.

Kelly (1991:Table 4.3) lists eighteen examples of Long-nosed God masks manufactured out of shell. Two specimens (Dickson Mounds in Illinois and Siouxland Sand and Gravel Site in Iowa) survive as half masks. Kelly (1991:78) notes that James Griffin (Smithsonian Institution) suggested that the Long-nosed God masks might be related to Yacatecuhtli, an Aztec deity associated with long distance traders called the pochteca (Griffin 1967:190). This interpretation is viewed as unlikely by Hall (1991:31).

Long Nosed God Mask, manufactured out of Copper, discovered in Grant Mound, Florida (Williams and Coggin 1956: Figure 10 A). The mask measures 2.6 inches (6.6 cm) in height and 2.2 inches (5.6 cm) in width.

Long Nosed God Mask, manufactured out of shell, from Diamond Bluff, Wisconsin (Williams and Coggin 1956: Figure 16 B and B'). The mask measures 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in height and 1.2 inches (3.0 cm) in width.

Long Nosed God mask, manufactured out of shell, from Yokum Mound, Pike County, Illinois. This artifact was excavated by Gregory Perino and is in the Gilcrease Museum collection; this image was provided by Professor John Kelley, Washington University. Reilly (2004:Figure 14) associates this artifact with the Winnebago tribe's oral tradition of "little faces with winking eyes" that were directly associated with male deity called Morning Star (also known as Red Horn or He-Who-Wears-Human-Heads-In-His-Ears).

Find context of the Long Nosed God Mask: Mr. Krumm was interviewed by Chris L. Murry, a the St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper staff writer. Mr. Krumm was 55 years old at the time of the interview. He reported that he had excavated at a mound, along the Meramec River, which was 25 feet above the surrounding land surface. He described the mound as containing numerous burials including group burials (three in one grave) and one feature that he describes as a roof of logs topped by flat stones. Mr. Krumm's indicated that the burials included several utensils of crude pottery and "strings of beads." [St. Louis Globe Democrat Magazine 24 June 1928, page 9]

Find context of the effigy pipe: Mr. Krumm told the St. Louis Globe Democrat reporter that the " momentous pipe of peace... came from the big mound on Indian hill. It is of limestone of a soft grade and carved in the figure of a crouching man, with a hole in the back for fit the stem and a place in his head for the kinnikinick [Algonoquian word for a mixture of tobacco and bearberry]. ...Sturdy must be the man who smoked it for any length of time, for it weighs a full 12 pounds and is too awkward to be held in the hand. It seems the Indian custom was to set it on a stone between them and each put in his own stem, in turn." [St. Louis Globe Democrat Magazine 24 June 1928, page 9]

What happened to the site? It is possible that Indian Hill is the same as ASM sites 23SL44 or 23SL84. Both sites have been destroyed by residential and commercial developments.

Griffin, James B.
1967 Eastern North American Archaeology: A Summary. Science 156(3772):175-91.

Hall, Robert L.
1991 Cahokia Identity and Interaactin Models of Cahokia Mississippian in Cahokia and the Hinterlands: Middle Mississippian Cultures of the Midwest. Edited by Thomas E. Emerson and R. Barry Lewis. University of Illinois Press, Urbana.
1997 An Archaeology of the Soul: North American Indian Belief and Ritual. University of Illinois Press, Urbana.

Kelly, John E.
1991 Cahokia and Its Role as a Gateway Center in the Interregional Exchange in Cahokia and the Hinterlands: Middle Mississippian Cultures of the Midwest. Edited by Thomas E. Emerson and R. Barry Lewis. University of Illinois Press, Urbana.

Milner, George R.
2004 The Moundbuilders: Ancient Peoples of Eastern North America. Thames & Hudson, New York City.

Reilly, F. Kent
2004 People of Earth, People of Sky in Hero, Hawk and Open Hand. Chicago Art Institute.

Williams, Stephen and John M. Coggin
1956 The Long Nosed God Mask in Eastern United States. Missouri Archaeologist 18(3).

Webpage constructed by Michael Fuller, 14 February 2008

Updated 21 February 2008