The Testimony of Hands

40.4.45, .46

40.4.45, beads of jet
40.4.46, pendant of wood, turquoise, and carnelian(?)
Mimbres Mogollon culture (A.D. 200–1200)
Gift of Berry Bowen
Photograph by B. Bernard

These items were most likely not used together in prehistoric times, but seen together give an idea of the impact prehistoric jewelry could have. The next photo shows the pendant in greater detail. The glue used in the pendant appears to be modern, indicating that the pendant has been restored.


In most cases, pendants such as this one—with its wood backing —did not survive. Instead, archaeologists might be lucky to find a tessera (mosaic piece) or two.

If the red disk in the pendant is not carnelian, it is some other mineral. Red jewelry elements from the Southwest are sometimes identified as coral, but red coral comes only from the Old World. Instead, the region's jewelers originally used argillite (baked shale) and similar materials for their red tesserae. When Old World coral became available, it was adopted for the same use, and occurs widely in Southwestern native jewelry today.

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All content copyright © Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, University of New Mexico. A high-resolution verson of this photograph may be ordered from the Maxwell Museum's photo archives. Please make note of the catalogue number. For more information please visit the photo archives web page

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