Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cahokia Copper Axe Stolen!

If any of you have been watching the news lately, you cannot help but understand how ignorance and greed are undermining America. And if you think that this exists only in the financial sector of the Unites States, you are sadly mistaken...

As you know I posted a pot from the Washington Boro site that was sold on eBay just last week. Whether it was stolen or not, in my opinion, the fact that it is acceptable to sell archaeological evidence on eBay and in auction houses or anywhere else is unacceptable and is allowing the thieves among other sellers to have a place to "unload their goods." I think that the SAA and all the state archaeological societies need to work towards creating a plan to work with the federal, state, and local govts to ban selling archaeological evidence.

Some issues that remain to keep this from happening are issues such as defining what a Native American "artifact" is - example - the difference between replicas and "art" as opposed to scientific evidence...and the difference between collecting and SELLING, and so on...My personal opinion is that until professionals and collectors learn to work together, the sellers get to play in this arena without anyone having a way to stop them from taking archaeological evidence like the pot from Washington Boro or the axe from Cahokia and selling it to a buyer. But if not US, then who?

Until then, here is the latest tragedy below- reported from William R. Iseminger, Asst. Site Manager/Public Relations, .Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. The following images are of the actual celt that was stolen. (Click either image to enlarge them.)
(pictures supplied by Vincent Barrows - Cahokia Historian)

Please note that the fabric impressions are quite striking and may very well make this axe VERY identifiable. Please keep your eyes out and forward this to all auction houses and buyers as well as all other collectors and museums who might come acrossed it- - -I am sure that this axe will reappear and if we all keep our eyes open, maybe we can get this back to Cahokia where it belongs.
"We recently discovered that a copper celt (axe) had been stolen from one of our exhibit cases. The thieves apparently were able to compromise the security of the case at the "Fiber" display. It was solid copper, 5 inches long, 2 | inches wide, and 7/8 inch thick. One side had fabric impressions on the surface caused by the copper oxidizing and incorporating the pattern of the cloth or bag in which it originally had been wrapped. There was a catalog number on it, 19 x 862. Please keep an eye out for this axe and if you see it or something similar for sale, please contact us.

This comes at a time when we are understaffed due to budget cuts but we are taking special steps to make sure all the cases are more secure. Other than some minor vandalism, this is the first artifact theft at the Interpretive Center in the 20 years since it opened."
William R. Iseminger,Asst. Site Manager/Public Relations
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
30 Ramey Street
Collinsville, IL 62234


  1. I love the poster! Hope they catch the person or persons who did this.
    Many Blessing,
    Monica Walker
    1544 Camellia Drive
    Hammond, LA 70403

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