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Covered birch bark container
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This is a small birch bark cylindrical container with floral or foliage decoration on the side and cover. It was made in northern New England (probably by Abenaki) in the late 18th century. Birch bark is a very pliable material and artisans would soak it in water and then fold and bend it into desired shapes. The designs are etched into the bark, which is a darker tan on the interior. Pre-Contact period birch containers are rarely found in New England, however, they were made both before and after contact with Europeans. Native people made a wide variety of items from birch bark including canoes, wigwams, and storage and cooking containers.
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