Description: Incised circular gorget cut from conch shell. Has two drilled holes along edge through which the hanging cord was strung. Also has four smaller drilled holes in the center encircled by three concentric circles and sun rays. The center sun emblem is then bordered by a square made up of 3 incised lines on each side. At the corners, the lines chttp://cdm15838.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/shades around and under. To the outside of the square are four woodpecker heads, one to each side of the square. Woodpecker gorget found by D. G. Charles in a stone box burial on the Buffalo River, near Ashland, Wayne County, Tennessee.
Historical Note: Scholars believe that the redheaded, pileated woodpecker symbolized war, while the looped-corner square represented the four cardinal directions and the rayed sun was associated with one of the principal deities of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex. This gorget, which was published by General Gates P. Thruston on page 327 of his ANTIQUITIES OF TENNESSEE (1890), was included in the extensive collection of artifacts that he donated to Vanderbilt University.
Institution: Gates P. Thruston Collection, Vanderbilt University, Courtesy Tennessee State Museum
Publisher: Digital Initiatives, James E. Walker Library, Middle Tennessee State University
Rights: Images reproduced on this website are intended for individual, educational use only. For research inquiries about specific objects or requests for high resolution images , contact the Tennessee State Museum.