Up Close: Elk ivory pendants in Alberta
Indigenous girls and women have worn beautiful and precious polished elk tooth pendants for at least 2,500 years. A special dress decorated with them communicated the wearer’s place in their community and role in ceremonies. Given as a gift, it symbolized long life and enduring love. By examining twelve pendants recovered from archaeological sites and studying historic records, we’ve learned more about how these pendants were made, for how long, and the significance of these unique and special artifacts.
Karen Giering is Assistant Collections Curator of Archaeology at RAM where she manages the archaeological artifact collection. She has worked on archaeological projects in Alberta, the US, Greece and Cyprus. Karen’s research and publication interests include stone tools, bone tools, ceramics, rock art, and ancient plant foods.