Interpreting Adena Tablets

5a.22 Interpreting Adena Tablets

Interpreting Adena Tablets

Archaeologists depend on comparisons with historic Indian cultures to interpret the use and meaning of Adena tablets. Early accounts describe shamans (medicine men) or other important persons wearing bird feathers or complete bird skins as a sign of their social status. Members of some clans or family groups believed that birds were their mythological common ancestors.

The Kwakiutl Indians living along the Pacific coast of British Columbia wore large wooden masks to portray ravens in dances that recounted myths of the raven clan. Perhaps the combinations of birds and humans on some of the Adena tablets represent such dancers or shamans.

Catalog Number: A 0340/000001
Image Number: AL07248