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Tiny clay face may have been shaman’s effigy

The discovery of an ancient clay face in Pennsylvania is prompting discussion on who made it and what it was for.

The head, which was discovered near Ebbert Spring in Franklin Country, Penn., has shells for eyes and tiny holes across its top and sides that may have been used for feathers or hair. A cavity at the base of the neck indicates that it was likely mounted on a stick or wand.

“It might have been used in a ceremony by a shaman of some sort,” said lead archaeologist Ronald Powell, of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. Shell is a symbolically important object among Native American cultures and Powell believes that the use of it for eyes, combined with feathers, add weight to the idea that the artifact had a shamanistic use .

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Story: Owen Jarus, LiveScience | Photo: Ronald Powell/Chapter 27 Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology

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