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Amulet in the shape of a turtle, United States, 1871-1900

Amulet in the shape of a turtle, United States, 1871-1900

Credits: Science Museum

An umbilical cord is thought to be contained in this turtle-shaped amulet. The amulet is made from leather and decorated with beads. It was worn by girls until they reached puberty to ward off illness. In many Native American belief systems, turtles protected against ‘women's diseases’. It is believed to have been made by the Sioux people of the Great Plains, in North America.

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    Glossary: human remains

    term created as part of the NMSI human remains policy (from April 2007); Other terms used are 'blood' and 'human hair'

    Glossary: amulet

    Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.

    Glossary: umbilical cord

    Long cord that connects a developing foetus with the placenta that contains tiny blood vessels through which oxygen and food are carried from the mother to the embryo