An eighteenth-century wampum belt.
Wampum is a string or belt of beads that held both monetary and ceremonial value for Native American groups in the Northeast. Wampum beads were made from shells. In New Netherland, the Dutch traded European goods for wampum with the indigenous peoples who lived near the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound, where shells were in large supply. The Dutch then traded wampum, as well as other goods, with the Native Americans who lived near the Hudson River Valley in exchange for beaver furs. Wampum was also sometimes used as currency between Europeans in New Netherland. This particular example of wampum dates to the era of the American Revolution and belonged to the Seneca people of western New York.