07 February 2012
"Bird in flight" from a Flint Ridge, Ohio, quarry known to produce art
Retouched object invokes "bird in flight" imagery and is made of Flint Ridge flint, Ohio's official state gemstone
This retouched object was found at Flint Ridge, Glenford, Ohio, in the Spring of 2011. As the Canada geese and other birds are now migrating over my lake side home in Hebron, Ohio, I was reminded of the imagery of birds in flight which may have been recognized in this piece, and then modified by carving techniques to complete the form. It is possible certain pieces were recognized as potential animal or people forms during the tool manufacture process and then set aside or perhaps touched up a bit to complete the idea suggested by the natural form. In this case, a thinner and crystalline part of the flint may have appeared as the thin neck of a bird pushing the head forward in flight.
(click photos to expand detail)
Hohle Fels famous bird in flight (Germany, Auriginacian era) was carved of mammoth ivory. Water birds seem to be very important throughout paleoart and we can only imagine the perishable (wooden) bird sculptures which have been lost to time. This is one of the most famous pieces of art mobilier in the world. This carved sculpture is approximately 32,000 years old.
Flint Ridge, Ohio, is known as one of finest sources of chert in North America, combining workability, beauty and strength. This "bird in flight" was found in the same quarry location as "Peter Cottontail" and the "Least Bittern," among other postings on this blog, which increases the possibility it could have been recognized and worked in prehistory in a larger cultural context. There may have been some artists working at this quarry site or these could be the by-product of creative-minded workers recognizing visual potential and then maybe "doodling" animal forms in stone while they took a break from making tools.
Posted by Ken Johnston at 12:50 PM