Flint Figures ("Effigies")

Day's Knob Site (33GU218)

Flint Bear Figure - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

 

Flint does not appear naturally in the area (Guernsey County, Ohio) in which this site is located.  Since this part of the state was not glaciated, flint is likely to appear here without human involvement only in the form of glacial outwash from far to the north.  But such outwash has not been reported in this county, and even at that, the site described here is 90-120 m (300'-400') above creek beds in which this might even possibly be present.  It therefore appears that flint objects were imported by early inhabitants of the area, for whatever reason.  Typically, in the established American archaeological paradigm, this material is believed to have been imported only in the form of the popularly recognized "Indian" artifacts such as points, blades, and scrapers, or as larger cores of raw material for reduction to these utilitarian implements.  Strangely, only a very few scrapers and picks made of flint have appeared here among the many professionally verified artifacts of other (mainly local) lithic material.  Concentrations of flint along with other imported rock (including igneous and metamorphic) have appeared eroding from the surface near the spring on the east (sheltered) side of the knob, mainly as pebbles, sometimes worked, usually not, or at least not obviously, the latter falling into the category of "manuport", brought in likely because of their novelty or their natural resemblance to animal forms or more-or-less human faces.

 

Flint Bear Figure - Day's Knob Archaeological Site 

This flint pebble, 17 mm (0.7") across, was quite naturally and coincidentally formed like a bear's head, with a white silica inclusion (apparently a brachiopod fossil) in just the right place to present a left (viewer's right) eye in juxtaposition with natural features looking like a right eye, a mouth, and a nose.  Possibly someone noticed and seized upon this in modifying the inclusion to naturalistically depict an eye by distinctly carving an iris and pupil, maybe further enhancing this by pecking the vestiges of spiralia cross-sections to include a spiral extending outward from the left side of the iris, around to the upper edge of the eye.  It should be noted that in the many zoomorphic and anthropomorphic images intentionally incorporated into lithic artifacts at this site (and many others, as it turns out) particular attention was directed to formation of an eye or eyes. 

 

A close-up of the naturally formed "mouth".  Note the white silica inclus- ion resembling teeth.  Demonstrating human agency in this feature would probably be difficult, but given the visual acuity and manual dexterity evidenced by the work of people creating verified small lithic artifacts at this site, this seems a possibility.
 

Below, more flint pebbles that may have been at least slightly artificially enhanced in softer material (less pure silica) to present the characteristic simple eye and mouth imagery:

 

Flint Figure with Some Artificial Enhancement - Day's Knob Archaeological Site    Flint Figure with Some Artificial Enhancement - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

Flint Figure - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

 

 

Naturally formed anthropomorphic or zoomorphic flint figures - "manuports":

 

Naturally Bird-Form Flint Piece (Manuport) - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

 

Naturally Anthropomorphic Flint Piece (Manuport) - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

 

Naturally Anthropomorphic Flint Piece (Manuport) - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

 

Naturally Anthropomorphic Flint Piece (Manuport) - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

 

 

(There are many more.  Photos later...)

 

 

Top of Page

Click your browser's "Back" button to return to the point from which you entered this page.

HOME