Gregory H. Perino Archaeological Study Area
The Study Area is a collection of regional archaeological material that honors the work of Gregory H. Perino, an archaeologist and the Museum’s first director. Among the displayed objects are hundreds of stone points and tools. The space also features several examples of Caddoan ceramics, ranging from the Mississippian phase (A.D. 700 – 1500) to contemporary works by Jeri Redcorn (b.1939) and Chase Kahwinhut Earles (b. 1976).
Caddo pottery is one of the finest prehistoric ceramic traditions in the United States. It evolved from the shapes of baskets and gourd containers that were used for storing and serving food. Historic accounts state that certain vessels were reserved for serving specific foods. A vessel used for meat would not have been used for beans or corn. Others were used in ceremonial contexts.
Many ceramics featured elaborate symbols of Caddoan cosmology. Frogs, turtles, alligators and snakes symbolized the beneath world. Bears and other mammals depicted the middle world or the world of man. Finally, birds represented the above world. The vessels themselves were symbolic of the world. Their bases represented the beneath, while the bodies depicted the middle and the necks symbolized the above.
[Pictured: Jar, ca. 1000 – 1400, Caddo (Haley Complicated Incised). Gift of Quintus H. Herron. 9″ H x 6.25″ Dia.]