Ground Stone Pipe – 34Lf40/1112 (written by Alyxandra Stanco)

The Spiro site produced a number of pipes that were made of various materials. According to Merriam (2004:228)., the most prominent material classes of T-pipes found at the Spiro Mounds site were fine-grained stone including sandstone, slate, limestone and hematite. T-pipes get their name from their obvious shape.


This particular groundstone T-pipe is 25 cm in length and the bowl is 7 cm in length. It is known as a cylindrical bowl t-shaped pipe. This pipe is reconstructed and made of fine-grained sandstone. One fine line curves around the bowl of the pipe. One side of the pipe is drilled open. One arm of the pipe is longer than the other arm. According to Hamilton (1952:38) the size and shape of the available stone at the time could have influenced the finished product.

T-pipes were constructed by first roughing out the edges into the T shape. According to Brown (1996: 507), the craftsperson would take a hollow cylindrical drill and make a hole in the side that would leave circular grooves. From there they would drill the hole for the bowl.

It is suggested by Brown (1996:511) that the inhabitants of Spiro created these pipes locally sometime around 1000 A.D. until 1100 A.D.  During the latter part of this period, known as the Harlan phase, the site saw significant development of the major mound structures.


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