Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Bottle gourds have been used by ancient and modern peoples for over ten thousand years now. For religious rites, they’ve been crafted into masks, musical instruments, or sounding devices. From a utilitarian standpoint, bottle gourd uses are incredible diversity -- a container, a dipper, wheels, even flotation devices. When dried, they are especially light weight and have undeniably made contributions towards improvements in the lives of humans. The eventual shape can be manipulated when the fruits are young by tying vines or twine around them to achieve a certain shape, or hung for a straight neck, or sat straight up on its base for an upright vessel. In some Papua New Guinea cultures, they are used as unusual body protection devices, called kotekas, which we might consider primitive but are not so different from equipment worn by football players.