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Turtle/Frog Effigy

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  • Turtle/Frog Effigy

    Posted by [CMD]
    A Turtle Effigy from Narragansett Bay

    Found on Narragansett Bay (Saunderstown, North Kingston, not far from the Jamestown Bridge) in 1936. Made of sandstone. I think the ancient artisan did a great job with just a little sandstone pebble to work with. Turtle is my best guess.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Sandstone_Effigy_006.jpg Views:	1 Size:	201.8 KB ID:	195677

    Close up of head.... Click image for larger version  Name:	image_2013-11-28-10.jpg Views:	1 Size:	68.3 KB ID:	195678

    From the side view, you can see there is a recess behind the head... Click image for larger version  Name:	Sandstone_Effigy_013.jpg Views:	1 Size:	195.5 KB ID:	195679

    From the back, you might not even pick it up! Click image for larger version  Name:	image_2013-11-28-11.jpg Views:	1 Size:	66.8 KB ID:	195680
    Last edited by CMD; 11-19-2017, 12:48 PM.
    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
    This effigy is also a frog, as well as a turtle, depending on how it's viewed. Viewed as a frog, the gular scutes on the underside of the turtle shell become the raised eyes of a frog. The eyes of the turtle become the nostrils of the frog. The front legs of the frog are seen in the position they would be in, emerging from the shoulder, and about to leap forward. Also, as seen in the first image of the preceding post, this can be seen as a human-like effigy, perhaps with the concept of fertility in mind.... Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_8993.JPG Views:	1 Size:	124.5 KB ID:	272586
    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_8992.JPG Views:	1 Size:	148.3 KB ID:	272587
    Last edited by CMD; 11-19-2017, 12:38 PM.
    Rhode Island


    • #3
      Click image for larger version

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      Click image for larger version

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      Rhode Island


      • #4
        In his book, "Amulets, Effigies, Fetishes, and Charms: Native American Artifacts and Spirit Stones from the Northeast" (2016, University of Alabama Press), New Jersey archaeologist Edward Lenik had this to say regarding this most unique sandstone effigy:

        "This superbly crafted work of art lends itself to at least two interpretations. Turtle effigies are not uncommon, but this is the first frog effigy I have seen that is not part of a pipe. The switch from seeing a turtle to seeing a frog is quite startling and appears to be a deliberate design element, demonstrating, perhaps, that all is not as it seems at first.

        This turtle/frog/toad effigy may have been intended as a spiritual charm, a guardian spirit to a shaman who carried it in a pouch or medicine bag. Like the turtle/frog/toad, a shaman was a creature who could assume other identities-some helpful, some to be feared. I suggest the sandstone turtle/frog/toad pebble effigy dates to the Late Woodland-Ceramic period, or from 700 B.P. to 500 B.P.

        This artifact that switches identities as one switches viewpoints is most unusual. It looks like a turtle, frog, friend, monster, and pet, and some have suggested that when it is flipped on its back, it looks like a chubby-cheeked human, perhaps a baby. This little artifact illustrates how spirit can be manifested in multiple ways, a process called shape-shifting"( pp. 78-79)

        See Page 78-79 at this copy of Lenik's book:

        Rounds out Edward J. Lenik’s comprehensive and expert study of the rock art of northeastern Native Americans Decorated stone artifacts are a significant part of archaeological studies of Native Americans in the Northeast. The artifacts illuminated in Amulets, Effigies, Fetishes, and Charms: Native American Artifacts and Spirit Stones from the Northeast include pecked, sculpted, or incised figures, images, or symbols. These are rendered on pebbles, plaques, pendants, axes, pestles, and atlatl weights, and are of varying sizes, shapes, and designs. Lenik draws from Indian myths and legends and incorporates data from ethnohistoric and archaeological sources together with local environmental settings in an attempt to interpret the iconography of these fascinating relics. For the Algonquian and Iroquois peoples, they reflect identity, status, and social relationships with other Indians as well as beings in the spirit world. Lenik begins with background on the Indian cultures of the Northeast and includes a discussion of the dating system developed by anthropologists to describe prehistory. The heart of the content comprises more than eighty examples of portable rock art, grouped by recurring design motifs. This organization allows for in-depth analysis of each motif. The motifs examined range from people, animals, fish, and insects to geometric and abstract designs. Information for each object is presented in succinct prose, with a description, illustration, possible interpretation, the story of its discovery, and the location where it is now housed. Lenik also offers insight into the culture and lifestyle of the Native American groups represented. An appendix listing places to see and learn more about the artifacts and a glossary are included. The material in this book, used in conjunction with Lenik’s previous research, offers a reference for virtually every known example of northeastern rock art. Archaeologists, students, and connoisseurs of Indian artistic expression will find this an invaluable work.
        Last edited by CMD; 12-01-2017, 10:00 PM.
        Rhode Island