In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

448Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril negotiations on batdefields and in council houses, and how women then played an important role in transforming the transient truces into a permanent end to the hostilities. Although the author, particularly in the book's final two sections—heavily influenced by the work of Robert A. Ricklis and James F. Brooks—occasionally has to force the prism of gender onto subjects that are not necessarily applicable , ultimately Barr's study succeeds brilliantly in its effort to provide a more complete understanding of Indian-Euro-American relations in Texas during the eighteenth century. One only hopes that she plans to use her considerable abilities and interpretive skills to examine the situation between Indians, Mexicans, and Anglos in the complex world ofTexas during the first half of the nineteenth century. University ofNorth TexasF. Todd Smith Looting Spiro Mounds: An American King Tut's Tomb. By David La Vere. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007. Pp. 266. Illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography , index. ISBN g78-o-8o6 1-38 13-8. $24.95, paper.) This thoroughly enjoyable and disturbing book bounds effortlessly across centuries defdy chronicling the rise and fall ofAmerican Indian empires, the hard times of the Depression, and the intersection of both in the history of archeology. With profit-hungry pot hunters and academics fighting over a bygone civilization, this has the trappings of an IndianaJones saga. "Grave robbing" seems to belong in the book's tide, but "looting" hits the mark and the reference to King Tut suggests the significance of die graves robbed. The Spiro Mounds, located in central eastern Oklahomajust across the Arkansas border, held the burial goods and bodies of elite political-religious figures from a Mississippian empire that succeeded Cahokia as one of North America's most important political, commercial, and ceremonial centers. These burial goods, in quantities deemed astonishing by those who uneardied them, represented the best in Spiro culture. By about 1450, Spiro and its people fell from the heights they had reached. That changed during the Depression when pot hunters, some organized as die Pocola Mining Company, decided to excavate the mounds hoping to find a lode ofartifacts they could turn into quick cash. Theirwork yielded fantastic results, described by La Vere as the biggest and most exotic collection of pre-Columbian artifacts yet discovered, and sparked frenzied interest from artifact dealers. In their haste, ignorance, and carelessness, the "miners" disrupted graves and destroyed a wealdi ofgoods and their clues about life at Spiro. Their find also started a turfwar widi academics from the University ofOklahoma who wished to protect the mounds from the Pocola Mining Company and their ilk and to loot the mounds for another pay-off—knowledge and prestige. The conflict resulted in Oklahoma's legislature passing the state's first Antiquities Act, which brought a measure of protection to die site but only after enormous insult and injury. La Vere discusses these issues as they arose in the 1930s and carries them into the iggos with the passage of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. 2??8Book Reviews449 La Vere's solid research deserves praise, but his synthesis, organization, and vivid prose make this book shine. He handles the history of Spiro in the 13th century as well as he tells the history of Oklahoma archeologists and Arkansas pot hunters in the 20th. The first seven chapters alternate between the ig30s and the rise and fall of Spiro, which creates tension and dread as La Vere builds an appreciation for Spiro, its people, and the significance of their accomplishments and remains. When the men of the Pocola Mining Company detonate explosives in their work, the reader cannot help but feel heartbreak and shame at their crassness. The book has many strong points, but a few minor adjustments would have made it even better. A detailed diagram ofthe mounds early in die book would help the reader visualize the scene, especially during die discussion of die significance ofthe mounds' relationships to each other and to compass points. Illustrations and explanations ofkey artifacts should have been placed closer to where the items first appear in the narrative. The work contains excellent photographs clustered at its middle, but...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 448-449
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.