Being found submerged in a remote small stream by a member of the Indigenous Peoples Research Foundation, an area avocational organization, there is no contextual information that can provide when it may have been made or by whom. It is however emblematic of serpent veneration practiced by Indigenous groups throughout much of North America that extends back to at least the Hopewell
Period (200 BCE-500CE) and likely even further back in time.
The serpent's metaphysical importance is indicated not only by the quantity of artifacts found in North America, but its depiction on well crafted exotic copper, mica and shell hand held artifacts. Others were carved or painted on rocks, cliff faces, and most dramatically. as large serpentine shaped stone and earthen effigies scattered thru out eastern North America. Equally diverse, are its naturalistic, stylized, abstract and anthropomorphic forms which varied over time and by cultural group.
More recently in history during the Mississippian Period (ca. 1200-1650 CE), it was known as the Horned Serpent displaying horns, rattles, sometimes wings, which are trademarks of the art and oral history of the regions Yuchi, Muskogee Creek, Cherokee, and other groups located generally in Eastern North America.1 This description however differs from that of the artifact, suggesting it is from an earlier time. Also, while the coiled body implies a snake, the shape of the head suggests something else.
Unlike in North American where the serpent and the other principal deity, a bird, are separately portrayed; in Mesoamerica the duo was conflated into a feathered serpent character whose name varied overtime and by cultural group. As in North America, the serpents origin extends far into Mesoamerican history appearing in Olmec iconography (ca.1400-400BCE).
1 Powers, Susan C. , Early Art of the Southeastern Indians: Feathered Serpents and Winged Beings, University Press, 2004
In comparing the artifact with Kukulkán and Quetzalcohuăl, one can see stylistic similarities of the tongue and head shape. Aside from archaeological and other evidence indicating mobility between the two regions, it is reasonable to speculate there could be commonalities of theology. A current analogy is the comparison of the Western and Eastern Christian church. Though their cross shaped icons differ
slightly, the two sects are are separated only by theological nuances.