Wooden Ball Club

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Ball clubs were a favored weapon of the Native American tribes who resided in modern day New England and the Midwest. This club, with its wooden head, most likely belonged to either the Huron, Iroquois, or Mohican tribe. Other tribes, especially those of the plains, would commonly use heads made of stone; but the tribes previously mentioned were known to instead use a head made from the root-ball of a sapling. This wooden ball club measures (blank) long, and measures (blank) around the diameter of the head. The club is likely made from the hardened wood of a beech tree and has not been shaped or cut against the wood’s grain, to maintain its strength. The head is studded with what appears to be iron. This iron studding would have strengthened strikes from the club, maintained the shape of the head, and suggests a time period the weapon was crafted in. Native American’s would not incorporate metalwork into their weapons until the late 16th to early 17th century.

The Iroquois Nation was originally comprised of five tribes, Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca. These tribes dwelt in the Northeastern region of America, in what makes up modern day New England. The Iroquois were related to the Huron, another Iroquoian speaking tribe, although these two people groups were separated by various cultural differences, political allegiances, and place of living. The Mohicans, a tribe belonging to the Algonquian Nation, originally occupied the area near the Hudson river. Due to an adversarial relationship with the Iroquoian tribes, namely the Mohawk, the Mohican tribe was eventually pushed out of their land and would later occupy the region of modern-day Massachusetts. In times of war, all three of these people groups would have made use of wood-fashioned ball clubs like this one.

Item #: 0014