McKinney Pottery

Thousands of years ago, a complex society inhabited what is now eastern Oklahoma. All knowledge of this culture comes from the impressive mounds they left behind, with the most recognized site being the Spiro Mounds in Le Flore County. Most Spiro excavation occurred during the 1930s and yielded thousands of artifacts, dubbed the “King Tut of the Arkansas Valley.” Haphazard excavations destroyed a third of the mound, prompting the University of Oklahoma to take over excavation work. Today, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma holds one of the largest collections of Mound Builder pottery in the United States, and the Spiro excavation area is now a protected Oklahoma Historical Society site. Artist Victoria McKinney first encountered motifs from the Mound Builder culture during an anthropology course. An enrolled member of the Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama, McKinney’s work has taken top honors in numerous shows. McKinney’s piece in the Oklahoma Judicial Center collection was donated by Justice Yvonne Kauger.