Courtesy Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, MA

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Wigwams were dwellings built with a framework of bent poles fixed in the ground. They were covered with mats woven from rush or cattail leaves (like this modern replica) or with large sheets of tree bark, depending upon what was readily available. Most wigwams also had an interior covering of mats, providing both decoration and extra insulation. Many English observers noted how warm and comfortable wigwams were in comparison to their own houses. This was due in part to the central fire, which could be kept burning all night long and sometimes eliminated the need for blankets in cold weather. In 1666 John Eliot (a missionary to the New England Indians) noted his belief that the term "wigwam" had been derived by the English from the Indian word weekuwout, meaning "in his house."

Date: Modern Replica 
Topic: Structures 
Materials: Cattail, wood
Dimensions: not currently available 
Accession #: n.a.

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