These stone artifacts, including pendants and gorgets, were made by Early Woodland people for body ornamentation. They are made from different types of slate, a sedimentary rock that forms when extra-fine particles of clay are compressed. This geological process sometimes results in beautiful linear bands in the stone. Pendants would have been suspended by a cord and worn around the neck. Gorgets were decorative and/or protective in function, and were worn around the throat or chest.
Slate was also used to make other types of objects, such as birdstones. This artifact type is rare in Virginia and is more common in areas farther southeast, where birdstones had drilled holes for attachment to a throwing stick or atlatl for leverage. The Virginian example may have been an ornament, an effigy piece (representational object), or an ornament.
Early Woodland people also wore bone, shell, feather, textile, and other types of ornaments. Preservation of these materials in the acidic soil after three thousand years is very uncommon.