The birdstone is a 8 to 16 cm long zoomorphic figure that appears in a much extended region in the east of current-day United States of America. Common characteristics demonstrate that its use corresponded to a specific ritual practiced by several tribes. With its two perforated ridges aligned below the body, this artifact could be the pommel of a rod.
In 1950 in Indiana, a farm worker harvests potatoes. He unearths one of the finest examples of birdstones. This piece 10 cm long and 4.5 cm wide is currently identified as the Parks Birdstone from the name of one of its early owners.
Is it a bird? The general shape is that of a nesting bird and its fan tail, very rare on this type of figure, confirms this interpretation. The head would rather evoke a dog whose button shaped ornaments would be the ears.
In perfect condition, this birdstone is in porphyry covered with a bluish hue adorned by elegant large spots in cream color. This use of a very hard stone, the balance of the composition and the elegance of the surface rank this piece at the high end of its category. It was carved in the final phase of the Neolithic era less than 4,000 years ago.
The Parks Birdstone was discussed in this column before it passed at Morphy Auctions on May 17, 2014 with a final bid of $ 300K. It is estimated $ 250K for sale by Cowan's in Cincinnati on April 5, lot 22.