Topic: Ossuaries

Naticoke Burial Customs

The Nanticoke, who lived on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, were connected, linguistically, with the Delaware, and before the latter removed westward beyond the Alleghenies they were neighboring tribes. The Nanticoke were encountered by Capt. John Smith and his party of colonists from Jamestown in 1608, living on or near the river which continues to bear their tribal name. For many years they were enemies of the colonists, but remained in the region until about 1730, when the majority of the tribe began moving northward, stopping at the mouth of the Juniata, and elsewhere in the valley of the Susquehanna,

Ossuaries as a Form of Burial Custom

Many ossuaries have been encountered in the western counties of the State of New York, which, however, may be attributed to the influence of the Huron. These great pits often contain vast quantities of skeletal remains, together with numbers of objects of native origin which had been deposited as offerings to the dead, and material obtained from the early traders is sometimes found associated with the later burials. The ossuaries appear to have been rectangular in form, to have occupied rather prominent positions, and to have been carefully prepared. Such a communal burial place was discovered in May, 1909, about

Sea Shells - Plate 35


Ossuaries are trenches of human bones that were left by Native Americans after repeated funeral ceremonies over many years.