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Stone plummet

 

Length: 11.000 cm

AOA 1903.7-11.1

Room 26: North America

    Stone plummet

    From Orange County, Florida, U.S.A
    Middle Woodland Period (about 400 BC-AD 1)

    Carved in the form of the head of an auqatic bird

    In the Middle Woodland Period, the Deptford phase of the Gulf Coast of Florida saw the creation of familial burial mounds with elaborate assemblages of grave goods. This plummet was excavated from a mound near Killarney, Orange County, Florida some time before 1903, when it was acquired by the British Museum.

    The modern term plummet signifies a weight used in a plumb-line, but it is not known what they were originally used for. They may have been worn, later, attached with a cord at one end, as amulets related to guardian or clan spirits. Given the importance of fishing, particularly in south Florida, they may have been used as net weights, the aquatic bird imagery perhaps adding spiritual power to the skills of the fisherman-owner. In the hunting cultures of Native Americans, decorated objects such as this would have been important both in religious and practical terms.

    J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

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    On display: Room 26: North America