11 March 2013

Face on possible oversized tool form, along with customized presentation base, indicates it had symbolic significance

Doris Avery find, Lairdsville, Pennsylvania, on the Susquehana River, early 1960's
The sculpture is 34cm tall without the base

The sculpture's associated presentation base

Phillip Avery writes, "My mother found this face and base back in the early sixties along a creek in Lairdsville Pa. It has been in our family since then and it was always assumed to be an Indian mortar and pestle of some sort.

I'm writing to you in hopes of finding out more about it and hope you can give me your opinion and/or direct me to someone that may know more.

To me the nose and eyes look like possible fire starting holes but then there is the mouth and the odd hole at the top. The interesting thing to me is that all edges of the stone are natural, not carved. For some reason it appears that whoever made this did not want to compromise the integrity of the stone. They actually carved the base stand to fit the natural contours of the face stone, not an easy task. That makes me think this may have had some sort of religious or magical significance...is it an idol of some sort or symbol of something? I suspect this may be much older and may not be an Indian artifact at all.

They did a superb job smoothing and leveling the bottom of the base and even added some very straight decorative grooves on the one side. She found the face first, then found the base about 10 to 15 feet farther down the steam. I too was amazed she found both parts. We always hunted arrowheads in the area and the small valley where this was found was inhabited by Indians for a very long time. This face however isn't anything like any other Indian artifact I've ever found. If you put it up, it was found in the early sixties in Lairdsville, PA along the Susquehanna river by Doris Avery. I'm her youngest son Phillip Avery and can be reached at Plavery85@verizon.net if anyone has any more information regarding it."

A Licking County, Ohio, hand held tool with bit at top has an overall shape similar to the teardrop form of the Acheulean Handaxe. This form reminds me of the Susquehana River find. If it were a functional tool, it would be a mega-fauna style bone crusher, raised by both hands with the pointed bit end down. It has a thumb indent, or partial groove, seen of the left edge with a corresponding "bump" on the opposite side to split the fingers.

A side-by-side comparison of the two artifacts, Susquehana River, Pennsylvania, at left, Buckeye Lake, Ohio, at right


1 comment:

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