New discoveries are made all the time that change the way we regard events and cultures of our past. Just in the last few years, many archaeological finds provided us with new perspectives on established chapters of history.
10. Bobcat Ceremonial Burial
While going through the Illinois State Museum’s collection of Native American artifacts, anthropologist Angela Perri found a box labeled “puppy” which she expected to be filled with dog bones excavated from a burial mound of the Hopewell culture. Instead, the bones belonged to a bobcat.
The discovery was notable for two reasons: It was the only decorated wildcat burial found in North America and the only animal ever found buried alone in its own mound.
Since the bobcat was only a kitten when it died, anthropologists suspect that it was raised as a pet. Inside the mound, they also found a necklace which Perri believed served as the cat’s collar.
However, zooarchaeologist Melinda Zeder has a different hypothesis. She believes that the bobcat held a much higher symbolic status for the native culture, possibly as a connection to nature.