Indian Birdstone

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Description

This beautiful, abstract, object is one of the oldest items in the Museum’s collection.

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This beautiful, abstract, object is one of the oldest items in the Museum’s collection. It was made around 3,000 years ago, using the ‘peck and grind’ system. The stone was chipped away to form a rough shape and then smoothed and polished to a high shine with sand or a similar abrasive.

The purpose of these items is unknown and there are a number of theories as to what they were used for. One theory is that they were used as a weight for an atlatl or throwing spear. Another is that they had a ritual or ceremonial significance.

'They are ... beautiful objects, pleasing to the touch, with an elegant simplicity that would not make them out of place as miniature versions of more contemporary sculpture.' Julian Richards, Archaeologist

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Object Name

» birdstones

Dated

From 400 (BC) to 500 (AD)

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Materials

» stone (worked rock)

Technique

» chipping
» grinding
» polishing

Production place

» Smith County, Tennessee

Collection

» Native American Collection

Dimensions

7.75inch

Object number

1974.44

See more on the web:

» Europeana
» Google images

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