14 February 2012
"If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck..." A fortuitous flint bird head with an etched eye (human face on reverse)
It appears this duck head image was formed as a part of a larger bulb of percussion. The prehistoric artist recognized this and removed flint around the duck head component to provide the final shape of a duck's head to frame the fortuitous flint ripple formation. At the top of the stone in the photo above one may see where an eye was made by etching and distressing the flint in the anatomically correct eye position.
This duck head is made of Flint Ridge flint and was found along the modern day shore of Buckeye Lake, Licking County, Ohio, in close proximity to other bird figures as seen on this blog. Buckeye Lake is a former glacial terminus swamp, turned into a canal feeder lake for the Ohio & Erie canal in the mid 19th century, and the region produces artifacts from all cultural and temporal periods in great numbers. The Flint Ridge lithic source is about 15km from the lake.
Detail of the intentional etching to add an eye to the duck figure stone. Jacques Boucher de Perthes himself said the presence of an eye on a figure such as this "...is a sure sign of intent."
Reverse side shown with scale. Flint removal to create a duck head shape may be seen around the edges.
An anthropomorphic component of a human face left profile portrait may be seen on the reverse side of the duck head. The person's mouth appears agape.