06 March 2011
Fossil-featuring by artist at center of pressure-flaked “flower” on a tool
Fossil-featuring by artist at center of pressure-flaked “flower” on a finger held abrading tool. From Irrigon, Oregon, U.S.A.
The chert here is a beautiful orange and rose color with little black fossil or mineral inclusions. Information from readers on the inclusions would be appreciated. When the flint is held to light, the inclusions (hereinafter “fossils”) become visible inside the stone. This translucence and suspension of visible material in stone may have been fascinating or meaningful to the maker of this tool-with-art (or art-with-tool) object.
The oldest and most famous example is the “West Tofts handaxe” which features a scallop shell fossil at its precise visual center (please see another John Feliks article below). The Irrigon, Oregon, USA, artifact from the Dennis Boggs collection displayed here seems to likewise feature a “frame,” but in the form of pressure-flaked “flower petals” around the accessed fossil. Flaking away the worn surface of the flint nodule, which has a "frosted" surface due to environmental contact, enhances its translucence in that area, giving the petals of the flower a somewhat "brighter" appearance than the surrounding stone. The petals are like glass windows into the flint material.