Effigy Plummet, Form of Turtle Head or Bird
Arts of the Americas
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The Americas’ First Peoples, 4000 B.C.E.–1521 C.E.
These plummets (hanging weights, sometimes used on fishing lines) are among more than three hundred that have been found in a site north of Weeden Island, Florida. Their abundance has led to the theory that they were probably not simple fishing tools but ornaments suspended from the neck or waist of high-status individuals (or perhaps commoners) during special ceremonial dances. Often they are plain tapered stones, but rare figurative examples such as these three represent local wildlife.
Middle Woodland Period
Gift of Mrs. William B. Parker
Plummet in the form of a carved turtle or a bird head. The end is tapered possibly for tying on a cord for suspension. Suggested uses for these types of plummets are: weights to be used in weaving, sinkers for fishing, personal talismans or ornamental pendants suspended from the neck or waist either by the elite class or by commoners for dance performance display. There is an early sketch of several dancers wearing such plummets dangling from their waists entertaining what appear to be elite people. Hundreds of these plummets have been found mostly just tapered so these are especially fine as carved to represent local fauna.
Woodlands, Deptford culture. Effigy Plummet, Form of Turtle Head or Bird, 200-500 C.E. Stone, 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (8.9 x 8.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. William B. Parker, 64.211.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 64.211.2_64.211.1_64.211.3_PS9.jpg)
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.
What is this?
This is an effigy plummet by a Woodlands artist of the Deptford culture. It may have been used as a weight, either for fishing or weaving, or worn as a personal adornment. It comes from Florida and is just under two thousand years old.
The plummets are fairly naturalistic depictions of animals native to the Floridian region. Hundreds of these plummets have been found to date.