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Rare Fifth-Century Native Pendant Unearthed in Ohio

A fifth-century Native American shell pendant called a gorget was found in Newtown, Ohio by a crew digging a ditch in early March.
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Crews digging a ditch uncovered a rare Native American pendant in Newtown, Ohio at the beginning of March. The shell pendant is actually a gorget, and was found among human remains and other artifacts.

A curator at the Cincinnati Museum Center told WLWT News 5 that only about eight pendants of this style and period—this one dates to about the fifth century—exist in the United States.

“A gorget is an ornamental item. These gorgets have three holes in them. They have two at the top for suspension and there’s one in the middle where they possibly could have been attached to clothing or something else, and on the inside, they are engraved,” Bob Genheimer, Rieveschl Curator for Archeology at the Cincinnati Museum Center, told the National Monitor.

This isn’t the first shell gorget to be found in Newtown. One was found with the image of an opossum, and the other with a panther. This latest gorget appears to have a hybrid animal carved on it that is part cat and part bird.

“We believe that the bird may be a Carolina Parakeet. Which, as many people know, is now an extinct bird, but used to be prevalent in the southern United States and as far north as here,” Genheimer told the Monitor.

The human remains found at the same time as the artifacts and gorget have been reported to the police and following the conditions of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act could be claimed for reburial.