21 June 2012

Three turtle head figures from three archaeological sites

Coschocton County, Ohio, find by Dave Boucher, identified by Dave as a snapping turtle head figure

Dave Boucher is a member of the Flint Ridge Chapter of the Archaeological Society of Ohio and brought this piece to our meeting the month after I gave a presentation to the group on the subject of portable rock art. Dave notes the eye hole is in the anatomically correct position, arguing for artificiality in this object. It was found at a late Paleolithic site according to Dave.

Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, Old Route 66 Zoo site, site #23JP1222, Missouri inventory OR66Z, is interpreted as a snapping turtle head by Ken Johnston of portablerockart.com. Note how this sculpture stands upright on a flat base in correct viewing orientation.

Mr. Dodd interprets a sitting bird figure, I think with tail at far left and head at upper right looking down, as if into "nest" formed by tip of snapping turtle's lower jaw. The general zoomorphic nature of many stone sculptures and the creativity of prehistoric artists often allows presentation of several figures depending on how one focuses visual attention on particular constructive visual elements. It is as if the art pieces are also optical illusions. To see other stone sculptures from this Missouri site (including a mouse/fish!!) enter ZOO into this blog's search box in the right side column.

Ken Johnston find, Licking County, Ohio, interpreted as a flaked snapping turtle head. (click photos to expand). Part of the stone rind, or cortex, is visible where human flaking action did not remove it. This shows the newer chipped areas of stone and the older parts of the original stone surface.

Licking County, Ohio, figure with scale

Looking into the snapping turtle figure's mouth: the bifacial nature of the flaking on this piece is evidenced in this perspective


1 comment:

  1. Turtle head stone incorporated into a stone mound in Woodbridge CT