July 2, 2015

2000 Year Old Hopewell Ceremonial Bobcat Burial

2000 years ago, Native Americans in Illinois buried a bobcat, on the outer edge of a ceremonial mound, wearing a necklace of bear teeth and marine shells. This is the only known ceremonial burial of an animal in a cermonial mound and the only burial of a wild cat in the archaeological record. The fourteen mounds at this Hopewell site are filled with burial artifacts of animal effigies, otter shaped bowls and bird engraved ceramics. The Hopewell buried their dogs, but not in those mounds. The remains were shelved as canine bones for years until a British researcher saw the bones in 2011, and realized they were feline in nature. The report is in this issue of the Journal of Midcontinental Archaeology. The villagers may have tried to raise the bobcat, but it died young.
Due to the threatened shutdown of the Illinois State Museum, further studies have to be delayed.

Science News has the report here with a photo of the necklace;

Mike Ruggeri’s Adena and Hopewell World

Mike Ruggeri’s Adena, Hopewell, and Fort Ancient Cultures Magazine

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