bird stone

bird stone
Abstract stone carving by the prehistoric cultures of North America.

They resemble birds and are about 6 in. (15 cm) long. Many were carved from black, brown, or dark green slate and polished with sand or other abrasive materials. All feature a pair of conical holes running diagonally through the base. They may have been used as weights or handles on a short rod (known as an atlatl) used to hurl spears or arrows.

* * *

▪ American Indian art
also called  atlatl weight 
 abstract stone carving, one of the most striking artifacts left by the prehistoric North American Indians who inhabited the area east of the Mississippi River in the United States and parts of eastern Canada. The stones resemble birds and rarely exceed 6 inches (15 cm) in length.

      The great majority of these stones were carved from black, brown, or dark green slate, with a few examples carved from porphyry. The stone was evidently chipped away to a rough approximation of the finished form and then smoothed to a high polish with sand and other abrasives. A distinctive feature of all bird stones is a pair of conical holes running diagonally through the base.

      There have been many theories about the function of bird stones, but none seems to have gained wide acceptance. Bird stones were probably not invested with ritual or ceremonial significance, for they are typically found not in burial mounds but dispersed in fields. The most credible theory is that the stone was used as a weight on a dart- or spear-thrower, or atlatl, a short hooked rod. The atlatl lent the user more speed and power than would be possible if the projectiles were thrown by hand alone. Most bird stones have been found in New York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario, but others have been discovered in places as far from the Northeast as Georgia, Mississippi, and South Dakota.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем сделать НИР

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bird stone — Bird stones are prehistoric, abstract stone carvings made by Native Americans. The artifacts were a common inclusion in graves and thought to have ceremonial importance. They are noted for their distinctive simplicity and beauty.The exact purpose …   Wikipedia

  • bird — birdless, adj. /berrd/, n. 1. any warm blooded vertebrate of the class Aves, having a body covered with feathers, forelimbs modified into wings, scaly legs, a beak, and no teeth, and bearing young in a hard shelled egg. 2. a fowl or game bird. 3 …   Universalium

  • Bird — /berrd/, n. Larry, born 1956, U.S. basketball player. * * * I Any of the warm blooded, beaked vertebrates of the class Aves, including more than 9,600 living species. A covering of feathers distinguishes birds from all other animals. Birds have a …   Universalium

  • stone — stonable, stoneable, adj. stoneless, adj. stonelessness, n. stonelike, adj. stoner, n. /stohn/, n., pl. stones for 1 5, 7 19, stone for 6, adj., adv., v., stoned, stoning. n …   Universalium

  • bird — ant·bird; bird; bird·er; bird·less; bird·like; bird·ling; bird·man; bird·stone; black·bird·er; din·gle·bird; hose·bird; ko·bird; stitch·bird; bird·ie; poe·bird; …   English syllables

  • stone — al·um·stone; arrow·stone; back·stone; bake·stone; bark·stone; bird·stone; bit·stone; blood·stone; boat·stone; brum·stone; cam·stone; car·stone; cling·stone; cope·stone; coth·er·stone; cup·stone; float·stone; glad·stone; goat·stone;… …   English syllables

  • Stone — /stohn/, n. 1. Edward Durell /doo rel , dyoo /, 1902 78, U.S. architect. 2. Harlan Fiske /hahr leuhn/, 1872 1946, U.S. jurist: Chief Justice of the U.S. 1941 46. 3. Irving, born 1903, U.S. author. 4. I(sidor) F(einstein) /fuyn stuyn/, born 1907,… …   Universalium

  • Stone-curlew — Stone curlews Bush Stone curlew, Burhinus grallarius Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • Bird and Diz — Studioalbum von Charlie Parker Veröffentlichung 1950 Label Verve Format …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Stone Zoo — is a medium small sized zoo (around 26 acres) in Stoneham, Massachusetts, United States, by the Spot Pond reservoir. It is operated by Zoo New England, which also operates the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. (That the Stone Zoo is located in… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”