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Effigy found in West Virginia

Posted by Jamison K Turnbull  
Jamison K Turnbull April 26, 2012 09:09PM
Hello all, greetings from Iceland. It's been a few years.

Got a good one for you all, I had found rock back when I was a kid that seems to have a face carved in it. I would like to know what type of "rock" it is. I'm trying to rule out if it is naturaly made before I continue pushing that it it authentic.

I found it on the shore of the Greenbrier River in West Virginia just south of Talcott, in Greenbrier co. Could this be broken off naturally and than worn down, or is it what I hope it is. The face that is.

Sigurd Stordal April 26, 2012 11:14PM
Sorry to rain on your parade, but this looks perfectly natural to me. It's not uncommon to find "faces" in pebles at the beach, have seen my share of them. It's kind of like people seeing Elvis at the train station, your brain fills in what you want to see. To be honest, I don't see a very clear "face" at all. To what kind of rock it can be, well it's hard to tell from a picture, but I would bet on some kind of quartzite or maybe sandstone, but it can be a lot of different rocks.
Alfredo Petrov April 26, 2012 11:32PM
This phenomenon is called pareidolia (you can look it up on Wikipedia).
Jamison K Turnbull April 27, 2012 01:02AM
Thats what I tought. Thanks any way.
Bart Cannon April 27, 2012 01:03AM

I think that there is at least a small chance that your specimen is a human artifact. Don't toss it away. Find an archaeologist to examine it.

It is curious that the recesses seem to have a surface luster that would be hard to explain unless the piece came from a windblown environment like the deserts of the Southwest or Antarctica where semi-polished rocks are known as ventifacts.

I have been working for six years on the case of Kennewick Man and other projects with James C. Chatters and Douglas Owsley at the Smithsonian. I've done additional artifact work for Chatters and the Washington State Highway Department when their archaeologits find artifacts.

The skull of Kennewick Man was presented to Chatters, who was at the time county coroner. He pronounced it "early white settler" until the RC dates came in at 9,300 years BP. Then the tribes claimed his remains.

Then the controversy began between the Tribes, the Army Corp of Engineers who control the Columbia River, and the people who want to know the whole story. That includes many memberes of the Tribes, but not the pushy ones.

My job was to determine the provenance of the spear point lodged in Kennewick Man's ilium. I was allowed to see it at Seattle's Burke Museum.

I wore my Optivisor, but when I got into focus range I was tapped on my shoulder and told to "pull back" since my breath might alter the specimen.

Lots more on this. Someday I'll explain about the intellect of the people who think we already know "everything" we can know about the earliest Americans.

Rick Dalrymple April 27, 2012 01:26AM

I find it utterly shocking, and I am not sure why, that there is a name for that. I did look it up on wikipedia. Now it is my word of the day for my kids homework tomorrow:-D Thanks

I know I am in my own little world, but everyone knows me here.
Bart Cannon April 27, 2012 02:05AM
Yes !

Thank you Alfredo !

I see possible pareidolia in my Turkish Rugs all the time. Even without LSD.

But these are man made things which may involve direct subtrefuge.

I have a smoky quartz crystal from the Germania tungsten Mine in Stevens County, Washington. It has an inclusion of a perfectly formed arrow.

I showed my musician and pot smoking friend Bruce the crystal before I noticed that arrow. He asked "what is this arrow in there ?".

I dismissed his comment entirely, but then looked at it later, and THERE IT WAS ! Too bad I don't smoke pot. I might be a better observer.

Pareidolia. A possible new subject category for Mindat.

Jamison K Turnbull April 27, 2012 02:12AM
I don't plan on throwing it away, is has a lot of sentimental value. I know that our mind plays tricks on us but there is always that chance that along time ago someone carved those eyes and that mouth on that rock.

Interesting story Bart.
D Mike Reinke April 27, 2012 04:01AM
a baby from Easter island that was lost at sea.
Jamison K Turnbull April 27, 2012 04:46AM
Yes but how did it get its way to a river bed in West Virginia? ;-)
Alfredo Petrov April 27, 2012 10:56AM
"Pareidolia. A possible new subject category for Mindat."

Yes, indeed, Bart, you should see the prices that agate slices bring when they show shapes resembling owls' faces, female genitalia, etc. And this grades into the suiseki passion, where people pay fortunes for a rock that looks like Mt Fuji... Rock collecting seems not to be limited to knowing the mineral species present; there are other market sectors out there :-)
John Truax April 27, 2012 04:31PM
Another word used for this kind of rock is mimetolith.

Sorry but that rock does not have the indicators that would show it was created with tools. It looks like a fractured rock smoothed by tumbling. I would keep it on my rock shelf if I had found it though ... it is interesting.
Donald Slater April 27, 2012 06:08PM
Alfredo, I am always amazed at the trivia you know, pareidolia, who would have known. I guess there is a name for everything. Interesting rock you have there Jamison but I agree that is totally natural. I have found a lot of rocks that at first glance look to be carved but upon close examination you can see it is just Mother Nature having fun.
D Mike Reinke April 27, 2012 06:09PM
Glad you weren't offended by my wisecrack. Sometimes, since threading is tone(of-voice) deaf, readers can't hear your inflections, they can read it wrong, some get upset.
Since you concurred w/ a "yes", we can speculate wildly on how it got into a river bed in W. Virginia.!
I'd keep it too; I walk Lake Michigan, and find some odd-shaped stuff, very interesting, but still your basic silicate. If you can think of a way to mount it to best effect, so much the better..
Jamison K Turnbull April 27, 2012 07:07PM
@D Mike Reinke
Actually if it turns out not authentic, I will stick it in a bonsai pot and call it a bonsai Easter Island Head. It would make a nice conversation piece.
Don Windeler April 27, 2012 08:57PM
Mimetolith was the word I was trying to remember... to Bart's point, there was a thread that went down that path a couple years back: "Hey, that looks like...".

I recently uploaded a better pic of a "happy agate" from a different discussion. That thread also included a thin section photo of a deformed oolite that always makes me grin.

Always had a soft spot for that kind of thing. When I was a kid, I found a really ugly yellowish rock -- turned out to be an agate -- that looked like a deformed, wailing face with a big mouth. My younger brother was a bit skittish at night at that age and I convinced him that it was a "ghost vacuum" that would protect his sleep by sucking any ill-meaning spirits into its gaping maw. Helped him out until he outgrew the phase. I just wish I knew what happened to that rock.

Great idea to put your piece in with a bonsai!

Colin Robinson April 27, 2012 09:53PM
Looks to me like it might have mystic powers. Get it listed on ebay.
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