12 November 2011
Was it a tool? A Belted Kingfisher figure stone? Both? Flint raises issue of pareidolia in assessing ambiguous stone artifacts
Buckeye Lake, Licking County, Ohio, flint was found in the context of several other suspected "bird head flints" near the north shore of the "post Ohio and Erie Canal" lake.
Was this flint made as a tool, a bird figure? Or is the bird head figure I perceive a complete coincidence? Pareidolia, or "seeing images in the clouds" is informed by the same cognitive function as our ability to make sense of our visual world. The context of other flints resembling species-identifiable bird heads, to be posted in the future on this web site, supports the great likelihood of human intent to make figurines.
The Belted Kingfisher is still common near the find site of this flint artifact. I drop anchor on a swampy part of Buckeye Lake to relax and take in the sights and am always pleased when a Belted Kingfisher is in view. They don't like people and usually move quickly once your presence is known. Being out on the water in my pontoon boat allows me a better chance to see them in action. They dive mostly for small fish and their way of life is unique in the shallow freshwater bird world.
The blue coloration, lighter neck band and shape of this flint prompted me to immediately think "...a Belted Kingfisher head" when I found the artifact.
I think this material is known as "Coschocton Blue" flint, lithic source perhaps 150 km from the find site. The Belted Kingfisher is a predominantly blue creature.
(click photos to expand)
There is a slight worked depression in the place of an "eye" in this view