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My Buddy found these this past weekend. The shell had to have come from the coast. The Cache was found on a feed to Brushy Creek in Williamson county. Each piece was cut out and drilled. a couple of them have counter sunk holes. This is the same hole that the thunder bird drill from my last post came from. I guess there are more than just birds in that hole
What do you think of that many being made at the same time? I'd say gorgets but if so, whoever made that many was doing it for the whole tribe or possible trade. Mabbe ceremonial?
Te, My first thought was breast plates for a ceremonial vest. Other folks who have seen them now think they were individual gorgets perhaps made from many different shells. Probably used for trading. I am going to try and purchase them from the finder. I hope He's willing to sell. They are the coolest artifacts I have ever touched.
what about as an offering?
Could be an offering Travis. Didn't even think of that. There have been no human remains found in the camp thus far. Did they create offerings for other events beside the death of an individule or group ? Have you seen other examples of what are believed to be offerings in this area before ? I have heard burial mounds or caves in our area can be rich with artifacts. I have no desire to search burial areas. No desire at all. This appears to be a winter camp or hunting camp, very small and secluded. alot of busted flint for such a small camp. It is for sure artifact rich. Can't wait to see what else comes out of there.
Beautiful find ( maybe once in a life time )
How many flint drills did the maker go through for all those holes ?
AND...a shaman stone for a bonus
Your whelk gorgets are indeed a fine find. Someone carried those pieces in from the coast and I believe they were trade blanks and works in progress. Many years ago we found the "scraps" left over from making whelk gorgets in a shell midden in Calhoun County. The rectangular one is closest to being completed. I tend to steer away from ceremonial implications since its just speculation on our part. Gorgets are still worn in some societies and are typically worn on a cord around the neck as ornaments. Those pieces may have been in a bag or basket and were lost or stashed and never reclaimed.
My wife ponied up the cash last night, so now the Cache belongs to us. They are the first shells we have in our collection. Not sure how to care for them ? Can I scrub em with a thooth brush to clean them off or will that damage them? Should they be wrapped to be stored ? Is a frame display or open air display OK ? I was thinking of an open air hanging display either monophiliment line or wire ? There are not to many other exaples of Whelk shell gorgets on the internet. Even single finds seem to be very rare. We may loan them to a museum. I will at least bring them to the next good show here in Texas. I am open to ideas for cleaning and storage or display. Thanks Y'all
I'm no shell expert but if they were mine, I wouldn't touch them with a brush or anything else. The natural patina keeps them authentic. Like cleaning antique brass, once that old look is removed then that drastically changes value and appearance. If displayed, I'd have them in a UV protected frame out of sunlight. I don't know how brittle they are but even monofilament line may, over time, start cutting into the shell. I bought a deeper frame from Winston a while back and have some pottery pieces in it. There's no tension between the glass and foam backing to break the pottery.
One last thought would be to have them appraised for insurance value. You're probably not looking at selling them but if they were stolen or a fire burned your house down, it'd be nice to know you got something for your loss.
Tehuacana is absolutely right. Find a suitable display case. Do not handle them with bare hands as the oils from your hands will degrade them. Keeping in mind now that they are open to air you may want to consider a hermetically sealed case. Cleaning will only detract from the value. Great finds. A true group of ancient artifacts to be admired. Wow!
incredible...ive never seen any find anywhere quite like that, how did they come out, all stacked close together or a few feet apart here and there?? Id definitely get a deeper disp. case and just cut out backing material to fit each piece...congratulations man...where r y'all digging, ill go make sure theres not anymore just layin around..........
Good analysis Red. To support your observation of "factory made" ( maybe the whole tribe at the coast was involved in the gathering and processing of trade Whelk goods ) ...
The holes are all different spaces between, like made by different people with no regard to making a match
for use on a single garment.
I have some shells ( not whelk size ) that I rigged a display stand for and have them under one of those glass domes with the wood base as sold in Michael's & Hobby lobby.
Here's the Whelk display at the Cahokia mounds museum
Thank Y'all, We won't be washin em up. I have a deep case and foam I'm not using, just need some black or blue velvet to line the case with. They were all found in a stack about 2 to 3 feet down in a winter camp or hunting camp. It's a small camp 30 by 50 feet tops and it has transitional and late archaic pieces through out. Birdies on top and archaic down low. I'm thinking about taking them to U.T. or another school with an archeology department. But If they have never seen anything like them they won't be any help. I curious on thier age ?
Early transtional or late archaic. A friend told me they are probably at least 1000 years old but not over 3k years. I should probably just drive em up to D.R. and pay the COA fee. They need a credible COA for Value anyway.
Thanks for the Front Pge Michelle, My buddy "E" and my Wife say's thank You too.
I have seen several from Williamson Co. There is a difference between whelk beads, pendants and gorgets. They are Gorgets (French for throat) and prehistoric personal ornaments. Most likely the prehistoric owner was someone considered elite or of importance. Some might have been worn daily, but not the majority, as the drilled holes would show more wear. To me, more likely worn during significant events. Most were manufactured closer to the coast. They arrived in Williamson County thru several avenues to include prehistoric trade. When found as a group they are almost always burial goods. In Williamson Co most are Ensor, Scallorn or Perdiz related.
Thank You John. I found a pretty Scallorn the week before they were found three feet away and yesterday the guy that found the Gorgets found an Ensor so I think You are right on. Also some show daily ware and some show very little as you said as well. There are no drawings, doodlings or cross inscriptions,they are blank. The owner may have made them to be offered but there is no evidence of burial in the area we are digging. Also there is no really fancy flint work yet, There have been some pretty nice points but no screamers. To see the point types look at the last post I made called New camp finds looks promising (or something like that) Anyway thanks for the input. Any info I can find on these is definitely valuable to me. After searching the web I can't find anything quite like them. I would like to see other example that are similar but there are none. Thanks again Kris.
That's interesting food for thought. There weren't many ensors and 0 birds found in the mound with my welk bead. There was however a bird/darl camp a few hundred yards down the creek. Makes me wonder if it wasn't a burial object as it was well down into the mound of archaic points. The bead and a broke stone gorget were the only drilled things found in a fair amount of digging, It always puzzled me with the amount of nice drills we found.