The Rochester Museum and Science Center contains approximately
100 stone and pottery specimens that were collected in Missouri during the
late 1800s/early 1900s. A carved and polished platform style stone pipe (accession number 1218)
is attributed as coming from a "Mound in St. Louis." It is very possible that the pipe was
excavated from a Middle Woodland Period burial mound in St. Louis County. Pottery and
stone tools dating from the Middle Woodland Period have been identified at several sites in
the Missouri River Valley in St. Louis County.
The pipe is damaged in the portion that included
the draw passage for smoke. A copper band is placed around the back half of the platform.
The artist clearly intended the pipe to represent a bird. The Rochester example does
resemble a hawk
platform pipe from Ohio that was illustrated by Fiedel (1992:Figure 72). The Titterington
collection, largely composed of artifacts collection
from the St. Louis area and the Lower Illinois Valley, included an intact owl pipe
(Chapman 1980:Figure 3-28H).
The owl pipe in the Titterington collection was illustrated on the cover
of The Missouri Archaeologist, Volume 19, Nos. 1-2.
Pete Bostrum's lithic casting lab website has a digital image of a dark red catalanite
pipe of a bird (hawk) found during the middle 1800s in Madison County, Illinois.
The example in Rochester does not have long tail feathers like the Raven pipe from
Hardin County, Illinois (illustrated in the Illinois State Museum website). Platform pipes
are dated by most experts from 200 BC until AD 400. The
time range may actually be much shorter. The Rochester pipe shows limited evidence of
19th century repair.
Chapman, Carl H.
1980 The Archaeology of Missouri, II. University of Missouri Press, Columbia.
Fiedel, Stuart J.
1992 Prehistory of the Americas. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press.