AH Field Trip: Moundville and the Pie Lab

Today, I took my first field trip as an employee with the staff of the magazine. We had an excellent time. :)

We all piled up in the van around 8:30 a.m. and made our way to Moundville State Archaeological Park. Upon arrival, we watched a video about the park (Moundville is amazing...have blogged about it before). Basically, this archaeological park is one of the most important in the southeast. It isn't that the mounds are larger than other mounds, but the significance of the community here (the last Native Americans left sometime in the 1400s, I believe) is impossible to overstate. At first, it was an important political center, and then it turned into a hugely significant spiritual center and city of the dead. The park just underwent a huge renovation and the museum now houses (temporarily, at least) some amazing artifacts--like the Duck/Serpent Effigy Bowl that I will show a picture of below...

Anyway, after the video, Meredith and I wanted to climb to the top of Mound "B," the largest and tallest mound in the complex.

(Source: My photo. Mound "B" has the hut on top.)

(Source: My photo. The stairs leading to the top of Mound "B.")

So, all of us ended up doing it! It was really hot, but we made our way to the top:

(Source: My photo. AH team atop Mound "B.")

(Source: My photo. Me and Sara, after climbing the mound.)

After climbing Mound "B," we drove around to the Indian village, to look at the huts, but the weather was so hot we decided to go ahead and go to the museum. The museum is fantastic, and the Native American community made all of the items for the exhibits. But, there are many original artifacts to see as well, the most spectacular of which is the Moundville Duck/Serpent Effigy Bowl, possible made around 1200 or so. It is officially the property of the Smithsonian, but it is on display at Moundville at this time:

(Source: My photo. Duck/Serpent Effigy Bowl.)

This bowl is absolutely amazing. It is carved from a single piece of stone and is so smooth and perfect. It has been called the most perfect of the Native American artifacts in existence...and it really is.

There are so many great things to see, and the gift shop and cafe are amazing now, too.

Anyway, after Moundville, we made our way to the Pie Lab in Greensboro, Alabama. Greensboro is an amazing town, with several homes built in or near 1820. The Pie Lab (see Pie Lab web site) is an amazing community project organized by "Project M". You can read more about them in this great article about Pie Lab in the New York Times: New York Times Pie Lab article. It has been a huge success...and the food is great.

I had a sausage quiche and a slice of coconut pie for dessert! :)

Anyway, it was a long and fun day; and, as we drove the back roads of Alabama back to our office, I was once again reminded of how amazing and resilient our state can be.


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