Flint Figures (Typically Manuports)

Day's Knob Site (33GU218)

Flint Bear Figure - Day's Knob Archaeological Site


While flint objects occasionally appear at this site, flint is not  part of the natural geology here in Guernsey County, Ohio.  Since this part of the state is not known to have been glaciated, flint is likely to have arrived 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,  this site is 90-120 m (300'-400') above creek beds in which it could be present.  It therefore appears that the flint objects were imported by early inhabitants of the area.  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 fortuitously 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 giving the appearance of a left 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 inclusion 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 their softer and/or cortical 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



(There are more.  Photos later...)



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