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Turtle effigy pipe fragment

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Native Americans in southern New England made highly distinctive clay pipes. This fragment is from a pipe bowl in the shape or image (effigy) of a turtle. Clay tobacco pipes were a partial replacement for an older kind of smoking pipe made from a stone called steatite. Smoking tobacco was an important part of religious, ceremonial and social practices. Native people made plain and decorated pipes. Some pipes were made with the images of human faces, or animals such as birds, bears, or owls. The turtle is considered special to many southern New England Native groups who believe that the earth was formed on turtle's back.


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