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Pipe in the form of an otter
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Excavations in Ohio have uncovered superbly carved pipes and other exotic trade goods and fine artworks dating from the Hopewell culture (200 BC-AD 100). These pipes are carved in the shapes of different birds and animals, and may have been smoked for purification during rituals, and to strengthen political allegiances.

The pipes were made by native American communities who also constructed large earthworks. When these mounds were studied by European antiquarians, the scale and magnificence of the earthworks were such that it was hard for them to accept that the moundbuilders were local native Americans, but this is now known to be the case.

Pipe in the form of an otter

From Mound City, Ohio, North America
Middle Woodland period, Ohio Hopewell culture, 200 BC-AD 100
L. 11 cm.

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