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Birdstone

Birdstone

1500-1000 BC

Stone (black-and-white porphyry?)

Overall: 5.1 x 3.2 cm (2 x 1 1/4 in.)

Private Collection 2.2018

Description

Birdstones were widely distributed in the Great Lakes region during the late Archaic period; both of these examples are said to have been found in Michigan. Such stones are interpreted as weights that were lashed to spear throwers via holes that pierce the bodies. Given the artistry and fine craftsmanship, they may also have been emblems of prestige, talismans that improved the hunter’s luck, or clan symbols. Although many seem to assume the form of sleekly abstracted birds, others may be based on mammals.

See also
Department: 
Art of the Americas
Type of artwork: 
Stone
Credit line: 
Private Collection

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