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Fossil and Pendant in One

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  • Fossil and Pendant in One

    Fossil and Pendant in One
    Posted by [CMD]:

    Moderator Note: this thread was first posted in 2012 but failed to transfer across to the new forum when the software was updated, and so has been re-created manually.

    12/2/12 note: Posted a much better pic of the fossil itself below in new comment........

    Haven't seen this piece for many years. Today the guy who found it some 40 years ago stopped by with this and other goodies. We both collect fossils and artifacts, so this is special since the native collected this as a fossil too before grinding notches into it. It's a piece of Rhode Island Formation shale, about 290 million years old and there is an impression of a fern leaf on the lower right portion. It looks like the shale broke and the fossil was revealed ages ago, so it's likely the native found it just as is and fashioned a pendant. Unfortunately the fern is poorly preserved and I wish I'd taken better photos. Next time. Wonder how the native explained the image on the rock? I've found fossil ferns that seemed obviously transported to campsites but this is unique and I wish I found it!
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    Posted by [gregszybala]
    Now that's cool Charlie, all kinds of history in that little rock!


    Posted by [CMD ]:
    Decided to add another photo to this thread because I failed to take a good photo the last time I saw this fossil/artifact of the poorly preserved fern itself. My friend stopped by yesterday and I was able to get a somewhat better shot of the little fern that the native collected.

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    We have geology and paleontology to assist us in interpreting how the impression of a fern came to reside on a pebble of shale. But it wasn't that long ago that this might have been interpreted as a relic of the biblical flood. What must the natives have thought? What's neat about artifacts like this is we know this pendant was created to display a fossil for his/her friends and family to see and perhaps comment upon.


    Posted by [Butch Wilson]:
    Nice it's a .........twofer !
    I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

  • #2
    Posted by [painshill]:
    Very nice, Charlie… thanks for showing. There’s a very interesting book by Adrienne Mayor called “Fossil Legends of the First Americans” which details many of the oral traditions concerning what native Americans believed about the various fossils they found.

    There are accounts of the Pahvant Ute Indians from Sevier Valley, Utah using trilobites as talismans. Taylor & Robinson report the following in their 1976 paper: “Trilobites in Utah Folklore” [edited a little by me]:

    In the early 1900’s near Deseret, Utah, Frank Beckwith excavated an Indian burial site and found a single trilobite within the rib cage of an Indian skeleton. Beckwith recognized the trilobite as being Elrathia Kingii from the Middle Cambrian of the Wheeler shale.

    The trilobite from the burial had been drilled through the cephalon and was apparently carried on a thong around the Indian's neck. Beckwith was greatly intrigued by the Indian's use of a trilobite and asked a young Pahvant friend, Joseph J. Pickyavit, if he knew anything about them. Joseph recognized the trilobite by the name “timpe khanitza pachavee." The name refers specifically to a trilobite in the matrix and means, according to Beckwith, “little water bug like stone house in.”

    On another occasion, Joseph's brother Tedford N. Pickyavit visited Beckwith and was asked the same question, except that Beckwith offered Tedford the drilled trilobite that had been recovered from the Indian burial. Tedford recognized the matrix-free specimen by the name “shrrgi-pits napa t'schoy”, meaning “lizard foot bead things.” Beckwith asked Joseph what the “weemoonse” (the elder Indians) used the trilobites for. Joseph replied, “Body defendancies, Beckwith; help diphtheria, sore throat, lots of sickness. Old timers wore 'em in necklace - no get shot while have 'em on - at least it work for a time.”

    At Beckwith's request, Tedford agreed to make a necklace following the Pahvant's tradition and did so in 1931 at a reported cost of $2.50, consisting of 13 specimens of Elrathia kingii, each drilled through the cephalon and tied on a rawhide thong. Interspaced between the trilobites are hand-formed clay beads dyed either red, dark brown, or green. The two tassels are horse hair. Tedford told Beckwith that the old tradition was to make the beads from polished stones that were drilled for threading on a thong.

    Here’s a picture of the necklace, taken from that paper:

    Click image for larger version

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    Posted by [CMD ]:
    Thanks, Roger. That is fascinating, to say the least, esp. that some used trilobites as medicinal charms.
    That is a good book. Haven't read it all, but ran across it myself awhile back while considering the topic of Native Americans collecting fossils. Looks like Google has put some of it online:

    https://books.google.co.uk/books/abo...QC&redir_esc=y
    I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

    Comment


    • #3
      Posted by [cgode]:
      cool piece Charlie, very unique! I like it.
      Good info Roger, thanks for sharing some knowledge on this subject.


      Posted by [Paleolution]:
      Very nice piece, I love those "effigy" points, or artistic representations of them. You don't see those very often, and that is a killer one!


      Posted by [Dallred]:
      Far out! Never seen anything like that before! Do you think it could have been used as a weapon, as it is shaped like arrow head or dart, or just pendant? Thanks for unique thread!
      D


      Posted by [CMD ]:
      Dallred wrote:
      Far out! Never seen anything like that before! Do you think it could have been used as a weapon, as it is shaped like arrow head or dart, or just pendant? Thanks for unique thread!
      D

      Thanks, Darin. I think, as Tyson suggests, it could be an effigy of a point or, better yet perhaps, a side-notched axe. But, no, this is small and must have been a pendant, could not have been used as a weapon, IMO.


      Posted by [rmartin]:
      That is a crazy piece Charlie. Thanks for sharing......and great pics.

      Posted by [Dandielyonwine]:
      Absolutely fascinating! I started out collecting fossils, I'm going to read the book suggestion! Thanks


      Posted by [CMD ]:
      Dandielyonwine wrote:
      Absolutely fascinating! I started out collecting fossils, I'm going to read the book suggestion! Thanks

      Your welcome, Sandy. I followed the same trajectory :lol: Pick up a point and you're the first to hold it in thousands of years. Break open a piece of Coal Age shale, find a fossil fern, and it's the first time the fern (what remains of it, of course) has been exposed to sunlight in 290 million years. In both cases, pretty cool experience.
      I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

      Comment

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