The animals were decorated with wampum and strangled, and then the sins of the people were transferred to them; then the remains were burned and the ashes gathered up, taken through the village and sprinkled before every house.
When discovered by Europeans Staten Island was occupied by the Aquehonga Indians, a branch of the Raritans, and several Indian burying-grounds, places where wampum was manufactured, and many Indian relics, including a stone head with human features, have been found here.
By the Dutch settlers of New York it was called seawan or zeewand, and roenoke in Virginia, and perhaps farther south, for shell-money was also known in the Carolinas, but whether the roenoke of the Virginian Indians was made from the same species of shell as wampum is not clear.
Cylindrical shell-beads similar to the wampum of the Atlantic coast Indians were made to some extent by the Indians of the west coast.
White wampum was made from the shell of whelks, either from the common whelk (Buccinum undatum), or from that of Pyrula canaliculata and Pyrula carica.
The term wampum or wampum-peage was apparently applied to the beads only when strung or woven together.
Thus where six wampum went to the penny, the fathom consisted of 360 beads; but where four made a penny, as under the Massachusetts standard of 1640, then the fathom counted 240.
Wampum was also used for personal adornment, and belts were made by embroidering wampum upon strips of deerskin.