19 March 2012

Master flintknapper Bob Doyle of Maine identifies a bird figure stone (and describes his work)

Bob Doyle find, coast of Maine, identified as an artifact
(click photos to expand)

Bob Doyle is a master flintknapper and stonework replicator.  He has been investigating carvings and figure stones on the Maine coast for many years. He has done work on identifying the often obscure stone working techniques used to create or carve figure stones, such as drilling linked spots on the stone to weaken it and create a line of fracture for controlled stone removal.  Bob writes, “…the attached bird...'flint bird'... he is a tool...[a shaver, I suspect]. There is a tell-tale polish on his front side, and he fits nicely in ones hand if it were being used...”

This could have been a natural stone which was recognized as "bird-like" and utilized as a simple tool in prehistory.  The eye could have been added to provide the confirmation of the animation of the stone as a "bird."  Boucher de Perthes claimed the presence of an eye in an anatomically correct position was a sign of artificial modification and can be "a sure sign of intent" to create a figure stone. 

View of the rear of the flint.

Bob Doyle at work at one his Maine sites

Bob writes: "As far as time lines in regard to the making of these carved [animals, humans,etc.] I could only guess...in my searches I do not dig into stratified sites...mostly I'm taking artifacts from river banks, shell middens are productive...but again I won't dig into one...I take the pieces that are about ready to fall into the ocean, or into a river or river bank...I visit my sites often enough to recover material before it begins to deteriorate...

The people that created (a shell midden) are known as 'the red paint people...no archaeological record of the red paint people can be found after about 3500 years ago...so my long winded point is that carvings were being created in quartz, and other hard stone 3500 years b.p.

I have been trying to find a site that is within a couple of thousand years old that might contain carved material...but as I mentioned I don't dig into the earth to find most of my artifacts...it is a bit of a handicap...but I think the 'so called experts’ will become enlightened before too long...I know of a dozen sites where wonderful things are oozing from the earth...but at this point in time I cannot say whether carved stones evolved through time through European contact...if they did they [the carvings] probably became smaller...

If you're ever in this area I'd like to show you some of the sites I'm referring to...there are many carvings, but most are blind, and are unable to see them...sunny sunshine...bob"


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