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Crossroads of Culture

Native American Artifacts in Frederick

The Indians . . . will often carve figures on their pipes not destitute of design and merit. They will crayon out an animal, a plant, or a country . . . They astonish you with strokes of the most sublime oratory; such as prove their reason and sentiment strong, their imagination glowing and elevated.
- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781

Digital reconstruction of artifact Actual Native American human effigy

This carved human effigy excavated in Frederick City dates to circa AD 1450. Archeologists from the Archeology Society of Maryland recovered this object from an ancient, overgrown Native American village trash pit that itself dates as far back as AD 1040. The pit is located in Frederick City and contained many other items, including a small stone carved with the face of an owl.

Stone carved with the face of an owl

The human effigy was incised in what is probably a deer bone, but only half if it was found. The image shown above is a digital reconstruction by artist William Cochran, based on the conjectural sketches of archeologists. It is not known if this image, unfinished, was accidentally broken during the carving process by its maker before it was completed or if it was completed and later broken by accident. It may have been made locally or it may have been a gift or trade item passed along through the far-flung native trade networks that could carry an object hundreds of miles or more.

Archeologists from the New York State Museum have identified this squatting human figure as a “hocker”, an image found both Old and New World artifacts but quite rare east of the Mississippi, except in the art of the Seneca Iroquois, located in upstate New York. This is one of the earliest hockers ever found in the East.

Artifact images courtesy of the Archeology Research Unit at the Maryland Historical Trust, Crownsville, MD


Native American Artifacts in Frederick
Native American Weaving
Native American Pottery
German Founders: Art Everywhere
John Thomas Schley
Jacob Engelbrecht
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