Published on November 18, 2012 by Amy
Even the little ones were scary-looking: With a face only a mother could love, this ruffled infant looks like something fresh out of the Cretaceous. These stones have not been worked. Cinnamon jasper w high sheen and natural umber red “eye” embedded in its head, 2 parts. 5.4”h; 1066 gm
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This figure resembles an extinct giant bird – most likely an Native American Indian Thunderbird – a Teratorn from the Pleistocene with a beak like that of a condor. Note that both wings butt right up to the body stone at the appropriate angle. The Indian thunderbirds body stone where its left extended leg (with open talons) join was chipped (bottom foreground in left photo) to hold up its open talon as if to snatch its prey – the only place where the figure was worked. Here in the photograph it fell down just before I unwittingly snapped the photo. Honey jasper, 7 parts. 5.0″h x 8.0″ w; 1531 gm
Is this a warning to children to keep a weather-eye out for large sweeping shadows and the soft swoosh of death from above? The right wing is free-standing and contours the bird’s body as if the wind is in the wing. The left wing is one with the body. We know this to be a figurine set because all these stones were found together. The baby’s head is also shaped to fit into the crook of the left wing. It’s as if big bird is about to swoop-him-up; a grim reminder to young mothers not to leave their babies out in the open. Caramel jasper w light alkali patina, 6 parts. 3.8″h; 556 gm
Probably represents the Red-tailed Hawk, of which many are red all over. Umber jasper, w minute crevices resembling feather patterns (still holding field dirt). Finding a red figurine is rare and suggest they were rare with the River Owl as well. Bird is red jasper. Nest is a collapsed chalcedony geode w sparkling crystal-coated botryoidal “eggs”, 6 parts. 3.0″h; 289 gm
With a protective wing outstretched, this mother Thunderbird is watching over her fledgling about to take its first flight. Wind in its wings, tail feathers trembling for trim and eyes on Momma, this chick has a naturally formed head with two eyes and a hawk-like beak just like Momma’s. The fledgling’s tail feathers is the only part that has been worked by the ancient artisan. Momma bird is a little darker in color than baby bird – just like in real life. Caramel and butterscotch jasper, 6 parts. 3.8″h; 390 gm total.
Of all the varieties of falcons, this figure resembles most the Gyrfalcon, which habits northern climes and would have been a regular at the River Owl site near the end of the last Ice Age. Other falcons such as the small Kestrel are again flying over the farmlands of Illinois as they slowly make their comeback from DDT spraying in the 1950s. Sharp and dignified, this raptor quietly waits. On top of the head stone, which was worked on its right side by the ancient artisan, is a deep imprint of a fossil bivalve shell Mucrospirifer holding sparkling micro-crystals. This fossil has an uncanny resemblance to a flying falcon. The bottom side of the head stone has another recessed fossil shell of the same species with signs of wear that show it was seated on the body in ages past. (We take great care not to grind figure stones together as wear-marks are clues to original assembly.) The body stone is loaded with fossilized crinoid “Indian beads” resembling tiny bones of the birds’ prey. Khaki jasper w “flying” fossil shell on head, 2 parts. 5.0”h; 393 gm