The Eye In The Hand

Tuscaloosa,  Alabama, is named for the Mississippian Indian, Chief Tuskaloosa, or Black Warrior.  The Mississippian group lived here between the 11th and 16th century.  Today, only the large burial mounds remain.  The largest mound is 58 feet tall and pyramidal.  In all there are 32 mounds.

Late one night, many years ago, I climbed the second largest mound.  I sat quietly and gazed into a graceful Alabama sky.  The wind blew warm and moist as an electrical storm danced overhead.  Such simple moments.

The banjo that I am currently in the process of building employs the “eye in the hand” motif commonly used by the Mississippi Indians.  Discovered by Vernon James Knight, Jr., when the site was first excavated in 1905.  The exact meaning of the symbol may be lost, but the idea remains.



About Randy J. Arnold
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4 Responses to The Eye In The Hand

  1. Kristen says:

    The “eye in the hand” banjo is amazing!

  2. Hi Randy – I enjoyed your post about the Moundville eye in hand symbol. Could you tell me the source of the photo you included, of the eye in hand piece excavated in 1905? Thanks. I’m also interested in the image. See my post on the Eye in the Hand at


    • Randy J. Arnold says:

      Thank you for your comment. The image was taken from a book by Vernon James Knight Jr., Archaeology of the Moundville Chiefdom.

      Thank you for sending me a link to your site, I found it very interesting.

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