Woodland Animal Effigy Pipes

From Ohio History Central

During the Woodland period, artisans crafted many ceremonial pipes into the shapes of various animals and sometimes people. The remarkable animal effigy platform pipes of the Hopewell culture are among the most delicate and naturalistic of these sculpted effigies. Archaeologists have found them mainly in ceremonial deposits at two sites, Mound City and Tremper Mound.

The examples shown in the image include an owl, a toad, and a raccoon. The animals may represent the spirit guides of shamans who smoked the pipes to induce a trance state to assist with rituals of healing. Notice how the animal generally would be facing the shaman as he or she smoked the pipe.

It used to be thought that the Ohio effigy pipes had been made from Ohio pipestone, which occurs in Scioto County just across the river from Tremper Mound. Chemical studies of the Tremper Mound pipes, however, have shown that most of these are made from a pipestone found in Illinois.

See Also


  1. Lepper, Bradley T. Ohio Archaeology: An Illustrated Chronicle of Ohio's Ancient American Indian Cultures. Wilmington, Ohio, Orange Frazer Press, 2005. 
  2. Otto, Martha Potter, "Masterworks in Pipestone: Treasure from Tremper Mound" Timeline, Volume 1, Number 1, pages 18-33, Columbus, Ohio History Connection, 1984.
  3. Otto, Martha Potter. "A Prehistoric Menagerie: Ohio Hopwell Effigy Pipes" Proceedings of the 1989 Smoking Pipe Conference, Research Records No. 22, Rochester, Rochester Museum & Science Center, 1992.