FROM MISSISSIPPI ARCHEOLOGY
One fine decorated stone disk has been found in Mississippi. As it has already been described by Prof. Holmes, I quote his description. He says:
"Even more remarkable are the disks with notched margins, on the face of which are engraved serpent symbols of unique design. One of these, known as the Mississippi tablet, was found in a mound, near Lafayette Bayou in Issaquena County, Mississippi, in 1870. It is made of fine-grained brownish sandstone, is discoidal in form, 8.5 inches in diameter, about one inch thick, and has smooth, slightly convex surfaces.
On one face is engraved in shallow lines the representation of two interlocked rattlesnakes with heads in reverse order, facing the center from opposite sides. The serpents are the conventional, mythical, feathered rattlesnakes of the South. The heads are conventionally drawn, the mouths being furnished with teeth and tusk-like fangs. The forked tongues are indicated by flowing lines issuing from the mouths. Plumes rise from the head, and the upper surface of the body is embellished with groups of feathers alternating with scaled areas. The under surface has elementary fretwork composed of alternating sections of scaled and plain surfaces, as is usual in drawings of the mythical Serpent god in the South and South-west. One of the serpents has three rattles, the other four."
Prof. Holmes accepts Mr. Moore's conclusion that these disks were mortar plates or palettes intended for the grinding of pigments. By way of further observation, he adds: " A noteworthy feature of the engravings of the serpents and other figures on these mound tablets is the apparent maturity of the art, the intricate forms being skilfully disposed and drawn with a certain hand. These designs are not mere random products, but, like the copper ornaments, the earthen-ware decorations, and the shell engravings of the same region, are evidently the work of skilled artists practising a well-matured art which distinctly suggests the work of the semi-civilized nations of Mexico and Central America. These palattes may be regarded as furnishing additional proof that the influence of the culture of middle America has been felt all along the northern shores of the Gulf of Mexico and has passed with diminishing force still farther to the north."