Learn About Gorgets

Gorget – Named after similar-looking historical European military items, gorgets are ground and polished artifacts featuring two drilled holes that are usually conical, resulting in the starting end of the hole being larger than the terminal end. Claystone and slate are the most common materials used in gorgets, but shell examples are also found. Most stone gorgets have a thin, flattened cross section, though some thicker examples are found(see Boatstone). Shell gorgets are usually more cupped, following the natural contours of the shell. Gorgets are usually oval, rectangular, or diamond-shaped in outline, with many variations in between. They are often highly polished to a smooth finish, and rarer examples can exhibit engraving(most shell gorgets are highly engraved) or tally marks. Most fall in the range of 3”-5” long, though there have been some gorgets found that are 8” or more in length. The use of gorgets is unknown, with most sources believing they were strung horizontally and worn ornamentally, possibly as some type of toggle or bola. This hypothesis is supported by the common occurrence of string/cord wear in the holes. A few examples have also been found that exhibit wear from rubbing/scratching which suggests they may have had utilitarian purposes as well.

Articles About Gorgets

Pendants and Gorgets

By Bill Koup, Albuquerque, New Mexico Personal adornment has always been an important pursuit of mankind. The wearing of specialized adornments for the purpose of

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