Chapter 1:  Decorative Seeds of the New World - North America

In the New World beads in a great variety of shapes and materials have been found at many prehistoric sites.  Many of these older beads are extremely crude, consisting of a stone or shell fragment with a natural perforation.

Dry areas of North America have yielded seeds intact.  In the northwest United States strings of wolf willow, Elaeagnus commutata, have been unearthed.  Chickasaw plum stones, Prunus chicasa, with their ends ground off, have been documented from caves in the Ozark mountains.  A necklace of lupine seeds, Lupinus sp., was found in a cave in Utah.  Some California tribes used quantities of juniper seeds for fringes on their ceremonial dresses and for necklaces.  They also ground the ends of pine nuts to make lengthwise perforations.  These seeds served as potent charms, for adornment and as a medium of exchange.1