Other than these few examples that tell us whatMississippians looked like, archaeologists have found fewexamples of clothing in Illinois. As noted elsewhere in thismodule, materials used for clothing-hides and fiber-deteriorated quickly after burial and are rarely preserved. The only apparel items consistently preserved are things made of stone, bone, pottery, or some other durable material.
|Shell gorget, J. Gilette site, Schuyler County.|
|A gorget is an ornament worn on a necklace. This gorget is made of freshwater mussel shell (marine shell?). Using a stone tool, a Native American cut out a disk-shaped piece of shell, notched the edges in a regular interval, cut out the cross-shaped and triangular openings, and then drilled two holes through which they strung a cord of rawhide or plant fiber. The design may be an abstract circle-and-cross design, which is sometimes interpreted as the annual renewal of Mississippian life.|
In historic times, Cahokia was used as horseradish farmland. It was routinely plowed and planted.The owners even destroyed some of the smaller mounds (Young and Fowler 2000). Because of this, some of the artifacts recovered at Cahokia have no context. One such piece is the Ramey Shell Gorget, which shows definite ties to the SECC. The circular piece has a small cross in the center. It was recovered from the land between Mound 34 and Mound 17. Another shell gorget was found within Mound 17 around the neck of an individual. It is also decorated in the typical SECC style. Also found with the burial were a bone knife, a jar, and a whelk effigy vessel (Brown and Kelly 2000).