Ancient gorgets made from bone, shell, or stone exist in collections across North America. Typically made during the Late Archaic and Early Woodland periods, their exact function is uncertain. Gorgets often have one or two holes, and it is generally presumed that they were dangled either across or down the throat, suspended on a cord. These items closely correspond to the European “gorget,” a metal chest plate that originally protected warriors and knights in combat. Gorgets developed into badges of rank and highly decorated objects. By the late 17th century, Europeans began making metal trade gorgets of silver. Later, they had special gorgets made and presented them at ceremonies to mark persons of distinction among Native Americans.
Date: 3000 B.C.E - 0 B.C.E.