23 September 2011

Ohio Hopewell excavation at Turner Mound by Harvard's Putnam in 1885 located four pebbles in a grave goods context similar to 2009 Clermont County "crown of pebbles" site

Grave goods pebbles from Turner Mound Group, Ohio, 1885
Peabody Museum collections, Harvard University
Peabody Number: 86-32-10/A634.1

Display Title: Pebbles

I located what appears to be a similar example of stone pebbles being included in, now, two Ohio Hopewell burials. This second group of four pebbles was also found in a Hopewell grave goods context 125 years ago, in the 1885 Harvard University excavation by F.W. Putnam of the Ohio Turner Mound Group in Hamilton County (Cincinnati area).

Contributions of Frederic Ward Putnam to Ohio Archaeology

These Turner mound complex grave pebbles appear to be composed of a similar, white, talc- like substance as seen in the six pebble crown stones from a nearby Hopewell burial archaeological site worked ca. 2009 by Ohio Hopewell scholar John C.(hris) Rummel. Minerals in the pebbles may have had medicinal or healing uses or perhaps they were used as a funerary "make up" to lighten up the body. Meanings and purposes are often unattainable from the archaeological record but recognizing patterns such as amorphous pebbles in two separate Southern Ohio Hopewell burials is a start.  


Here is a link to the earlier posting I made about six similar pebbles found in a crown formation in a female Ohio Hopewell burial excavated by archaeologist Chris Rummel near Miamiville, Ohio, in Clarmont County.  Special thanks to Chris for making the artifacts available for me to photograph and check out.

http://portablerockart.blogspot.com/2011/07/pebbles-producing-light-sparkling.html

These particular stones were likely in their place and formation for a significant reason (or reasons). As W. F. Romain writes in his book SHAMANS OF THE LOST WORLD ,p 164, identifying seven possible Hopewell cremation steps, he describes number five as:

“5. Selected grave goods were placed in symbolically significant locations, requiring intimate knowledge of the symbolism of the grave goods and their preferred placement.”

Perhaps this posting can expand awareness of these seemingly amorphous pebbles which were likely carefully selected for grave placement but the kind of thing archaeologists could overlook.  Maybe this could lead to recognition of additional examples. The entire Hopewell sphere tradition lasted for about 700 years from 200 BC to 500 AD.

Hopewell tradition information from Wikipedia

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