Evidence for the Use of Hopewell Ceramic Vessels as Water Drums: The Previously Unpublished Research of Richard Zurel
Bradley T. Lepper, and Benjamin J. Barnes
Barnes and Lepper (2018; see also Lepper 2018) presented an argument that five steatite spheres recovered from the Seip-Pricer Mound represented components of a Hopewell water drum. Unbeknownst to Barnes and Lepper, Richard Zurel had proposed this idea more than a decade earlier in a brief manuscript, copies of which were distributed at the 2004 Midwest Archaeological Conference. But the paper was never subsequently published. Neither Lepper nor Barnes were aware of this research until it was brought to our attention by Vincent Barrows.
Upon learning of Zurel’s research, Lepper contacted him and he provided us with a copy of his unpublished manuscript. We here present a brief summary of his preliminary conclusions both to acknowledge that Zurel was the first to propose this interpretation for the Seip steatite spheres and to provide independent and potentially corroborative evidence of the proposition that the Hopewell culture made water drums and used such drumhead anchors in their construction.