This essay outlines the early history of wampum, explaining its origin, its value to Native Americans, and its first observations by Europeans. It then considers how wampum, as it existed in the 1610s, fits the role of wampum as described in the Tawagonshi document and fits with its manifestation in the Two Row Belt. The essay argues that key elements in the Tawagonshi document and the Two Row Belt itself are inconsistent with wampum use as recorded in archaeological, documentary, and visual sources. This finding does not discount the possibility of a Dutch-Native agreement similar to the one recorded in the Tawagonshi document that included wampum rituals and the creation of a wampum belt such as the Two Row Belt.
Published in Journal of Early American History 3(1), 2013, pp. 110-125 http://www.brill.com/journal-early-american-history