Jump to content
z10silver

Fossil Or Geofact?

Recommended Posts

z10silver

Found in southern NV the other day. Anyone know what this could be? Thank you!

post-8385-0-24391500-1383269812_thumb.jpg

post-8385-0-18983000-1383269840_thumb.jpg

post-8385-0-22322700-1383269867_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
piranha

Looks like it might be a ventifact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Auspex

Until enlarged, it looks like a core from which blades were struck. At close inspection, however, the material seems unsuited to the purpose...not sure...

It does not appear to be of organic origin, so I doubt that it is a fossil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jersey

The piece shows a number of holes. These may be vesicles formed by gases escaping from the molten material. So the rock may be basalt or other volcanic rock. The shape does not look natural and I suspect it was shaped by man.

Edited by Jersey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
wfrr

I agree this may be an artifact, I do not see anything organic to make me think it is a fossil. Interesting !!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
painshill

I would agree that it's basaltic (and iron-rich judging by the oxide staining around the vesicles). But it's not the kind of lithic that would (or could) have been knapped core-fashion. If you wanted to make an artefact from it, you would need to resort to chipping, pecking and grinding. I think the shape is natural and reflects the kind of polygonal fracture frequently seen in basalt that has cooled slowly enough to exhibit a columnar habit.

Google "columnar basalt" and think "small/broken".

Edited by painshill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
z10silver

Thank you all for the replies - I agree that it does not seem like the right material for an artifact. Columnar basalt is exactly what I was thinking it resembled, but didn't know the name, thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Herb

I do not believe that it is either artifact nor fossil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
z10silver

At any rate, if your mystery specimen is indeed basalt (or even one of the alternate possibilities), that alone does not automatically disqualify it as a possible archaeological artifact. It's just that such a volcanic substance would not have been used to manufacture arrowheads, spearheads, or efficient meat-slicing implements, for example--items that would have been fashioned from harder materials (obsidian and/or chert come immediately to mind) through what painshill referred to as "knapping core-fashion." It still could well represent a different type of artifact.

Thank you for the thorough response - Do you have any examples of artifacts made of similar material?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wrangellian

Sorry guys, my earlier comment in this space was meant for a different thread altogether! Don't know how that happened.

Edited by Wrangellian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scylla

It looks like basalt to me also. Basalt columns are usually quite large, on the scale of boulders. This looks more like a pebble in the picture. This area of the Southwest has lots of basalt and basalt stone tools, often mano & metate. Based on its size, I vote geofact for this one. As for ventifact, small blobs of lava do not have that rough and angular a surface. This looks fractured, not windblown. Besides, he made no mention of finding it near a Starbucks

:-P

Edited by Scylla

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
piranha

...As for ventifact, small blobs of lava do not have that rough and angular a surface. This looks fractured, not windblown...

Attached for comparison is a dense mafic-intrusive that cooled slowly within the magma column before becoming a windblown volcanic ventifact.

post-4301-0-05578600-1383494914_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
painshill

The thing about ventifacts is that they frequently have a "brazil nut" shape... with a trihedral rather than polyhedral cross section.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RichW9090

I have indeed seen polyhedral cores made of such relatively poor materials. The key here, and amazingly no one seems to have asked for it, is a view of the larger end of the piece. If it is an artifact, a core, the fact that the material is relatively coarse-grained would mean that there had to be careful striking platform preparation. That would be immediately obvious on an end view.

Rich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
z10silver

150331d1383426609-geofact-biofact-artifa

1452159_10100345144634319_1885851976_n.j

Edited by z10silver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dinoman

Folks, this really is a mystery rock, unlike other artifacts I have seen, however, the concave nature on the sides of this vesicular basalt tells me it was manmade and may have been a weapon, a toy, an experiment, a tool, an ornament or bartering item of some kind. We have no idea what intentions lurked in the minds of our ancestors or what they used them for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
painshill

Folks, this really is a mystery rock, unlike other artifacts I have seen, however, the concave nature on the sides of this vesicular basalt tells me it was manmade and may have been a weapon, a toy, an experiment, a tool, an ornament or bartering item of some kind. We have no idea what intentions lurked in the minds of our ancestors or what they used them for.

Sorry, but I have to disagree. I see nothing artefact-like about either the form of the item or the breakage/shaping. It looks natural. Rich mentioned that he would like to see if it had a "striking platform". It doesn't. And I wouldn't expect it to have since it's not glassy enough to flake in the usual core fashion. At that size and without glassiness, it would need to be chipped, pecked, ground (some combination thereof), or broken via bipolar reduction. I don't see any evidence of any of those things. And the fact that it's "unlike other artefacts you have seen" should perhaps tell you something.

I don't really see any particular mystery either. I see fracture (rather than cleavage) and a likelihood that the fracture is following the alignment of crystalline material in the matrix as a result of slow cooling of magmatic material. You can argue about whether it's geologically basalt (as defined) or not, but it's in the basaltic family spectrum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×