Small ornaments of this type were part of the ceremonial dress of leaders who wore them on the ear. They are carved from a piece of marine shell imported from other parts of the country and are often carved in a triangular shape with circular eyes, a long nose, and a squared-off crown. The exact symbolic meaning of these items is unknown.
This maskette was found in Fulton County at the Emmons site, where many unique and important objects from the Mississippian Period (which started about 1,100 years ago) have been found. See also the Emmons rattle mask.