Drawing of a portion of Burial 39 at the Morhiss site showing a rattlesnake vertebra necklace and a marine shell pendant placed near the waist of an adult buried in a flexed (knees bent) position. The vertebrae are from several adult western diamondback rattlesnakes and were obviously strung together, but the position of the so-called necklace suggests that it may have part of a belted garment or perhaps a bag that accompanied the dead. The same individual was accompanied by an intricately carved deer antler with incised lines forming a pattern that strongly resembles the scales and markings of a rattlesnake. It seems likely that rattlesnakes had particular symbolic importance and that the necklace was more than mere ornamentation. This La Tierra cover drawing by Richard McRenolds accompanies an article on the snake necklace by zooarcheologist Bill McClure.
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