Bone Pendants

Perforated bone ornaments are not common artifacts in Oklahoma although several examples have been recovered from different sections of the state. The bone ornaments discussed are here limited to bone pendants, which are ornaments with a single perforation or suspension hole. Several examples are illustrated in Figure 39.

The bone pendants are typically small in size and were probably worn as ear ornaments or as pendants on a necklace. They fall into two broad groups: I) pendants made from a flat section of bone with a small perforation placed at one end, and 2) pendants made from animal teeth.

The bone pendants tend to be rectangular in outline and less than 20 mm in width. The length remains uncertain as recovered specimens are mostly broken and incomplete. One whole specimen from the McLemore site in Washita County measures 82 mm in length and 16 mm in width (Figure 39a), and it seems doubtful if other broken specimens exceeded 100 mm in length. The pendants have been shaped

  from sections of bone, commonly the flat portion of a split animal rib which provided some curvature to the rectangular form or from some other flat piece of animal bone. Some specimens appear to have been made from turtle shell plates. The specimen illustrated in Figure 39a has been roughly sharpened at one end and may have functioned as a perforator.

The perforated animal tooth pendants are made from the canine tooth of a carnivore, probably from a dog, a fox or a similar sized animal. The tooth has not been altered except for drilling a hole through the root section close to the end (Figure 39i).

The flat rectangular type of bone pendants are found in the Washita River focus sites and proto-historic Wichita sites in Kay County, Oklahoma. The perforated animal teeth pendants are present in the Archaic and probably in later time periods as well. Our current information on bone pendants of either style is quite limited because of the small sample.


Table of Contents