Effigy Pipes of Tremper Mound

Effigy Pipes of Tremper Mound

Pipes have been used throughout time, however in Ohio they were exceptional. Effigy pipes excavated from Tremper Mound in 1915 were specially crafted. Dating to the early Hopewell Culture, the bowls of some pipes were shaped like animals and, in rare cases, people. It is thought that the animal depicted is the spirit animal of the owner. The people that would have used these pipes smoked a raw tobacco that was hallucinogenic. Smoking the tobacco from these special pipes would have been part of ceremony or ritual.  When using each pipe, the smoker would look into the eyes of the animal. This is evident in most pipes and clearly shows the connection between the human and animal world.

True artistic talent of the maker shines though in each pipe. Some of the animals depicted are so detailed that species and subspecies can be identified. Some details are so clear that action or movement is shown. In the Archaeology gallery of the Ohio History Center there is a case full of the best examples of these pipes. One of my favorites is shaped like an otter that has a fish in its mouth and is completely unique.


Nearly all of the Tremper pipes were found broken and/or burned. Before the pipes were buried in mounds their owners, or possibly someone given the task, would break the pipes into pieces for a ceremonial purpose.

For more info on Tremper Pipes click here

Posted August 7, 2016
Topics: The ArtsArchaeologyNatural History

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