Hopewell, Ross County, Ohio (Mound 25)
c. 100 BCE - 500 CE
Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL, USA
The Hopewell tradition (sometimes referred to as Hopewell Culture) is the name given to groups of peoples living in the northeastern and midwestern United States from c. 200 BCE to 500 CE. Because of the variety in cultures that comprise this tradition, Hopewell art can’t be lumped into one definitive style. The artifacts that have been discovered used a variety of media (stone, copper, shell, teeth, etc.), with some pieces being abstract while others extremely detailed and realistic.
The piece above is a hand carved from a single sheet of mica, and is almost a foot long and approximately 6 inches wide. There are two holes delicately pierced into the bottom of the hand, which indicates that this may have been worn as a necklace. Because of the fragility of this work, it is likely that it was only worn as a decorative piece for public viewing on rare occasions.