added by archaeologs A complex of artistic themes and cultural material, often death-related, which occurred over a wide area in the eastern USA, most often in Mississippian contexts. Common motifs such as the hand/eye symbol, the feathered serpent, the skull and long bone, and depictions of sacrifice support the frequently postulated idea of a Mesoamerican influence. Characteristic artefacts such as monolithic ceremonial axes, effigy jars, and worked shell objects have been found in abundance at the major ceremonial centres at Etowah, Georgia, Spiro, Oklahoma, and Moundville, Alabama. The cult’s climax occurred between 1200 and 1400, but it had virtually disappeared by the time of the first European explorers.
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983