BOLO/EGG STONE

 

 

 

1   2 3

 

4

 

5 6

 

7 8

 

Name: Most examples of bolo stones are about the size and shape of a chicken egg, giving them the common name “Egg Stone.”The Bola name suggests their use as a weight used at either end of a thong, thrown to snare birds (Milanich 1994:51). Other purposes suggested for this artifact type, including an anvil, have found little support.

 

Age: The Bola Stone is the oldest of all ground stone artifacts. One example was recovered from the Aucilla River Page/Ladson site in association with organic materials that dated to 12,330 radiocarbon years BP (Dunbar 1993). Other recoveries from the southeastern United States have come from contexts that also contained Paleoindian materials. Researchers at the Morhiss Mound site in central Texas reportedly recovered a “Bola” stone of similar size and shape, however it lacked the typical dimple and had an apparent string groove. The Morhiss recovery was said to date with the Early Archaic materials from the site and probably should not be compared to those Bolo stones recovered throughout the southeastern U.S.

 

Description: Recovered examples average about 60 mm in height and 45 mm in diameter at their widest point (figure 1). Extreme sizes can range in size from one half inch (figure 2 to over 3.5 inches in diameter (figure 4). Whatever their purpose, the tool type consistently displays one slightly concave to flattened or dimpled end. This, too, can vary from flat (figure 1) to deeply concave (figure 3) or even appear more like a hole (figure 7). The dimple or indentation usually appears on the smaller end of the egg-shaped stone, but as seen in figures 3 & 6, even this rule can be broken. Their use, whatever it was, required hardness more than exact shape as demonstrated by an apparently broken and mended stone (figure 5). Dimpled stones were reported from the Tellico site in Monroe County, Tennessee (figure 8). While these stones retained the typical dimple and their Paleoindian context, they stones were a flatted oval in cross section and had an indentation or possible string groove along each side that ran from their dimple to the rounded bottom of the stone (Gahagan 2004:41). The stones from the Tellico site were comparable in size and weight to other Bolo stones in the Southeast. These stones and their use apparently became unnecessary by about the transitional Paleoindian times as they disappeared from the scene.

Distribution: Bolo/Egg Stones of the type described and belonging to the Paleoindian period have been recovered in association with Paleoindian materials throughout the southeastern United States.