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Small “Circle Roller Discoidal” Native American game piece (maybe)

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    Posted 3 years ago

    (83 items)

    I picked this stone up while walking near Cedar Bluff Alabama about 40 years ago. It caught my eye because it’s shaped like a red blood cell (erythrocyte).

    I’ve always wondered who made it and why they went to the trouble to make something so perfectly circular with a raised edge on both sides and a convex center on both sides.
    There are very slight, almost imperceptible, differences in the rims.
    I never gave the rims any particular thought until tonight when I was photographing and researching my collection of arrow heads and what I think are stone tools.

    I knew about “chunkee stones”, disc shaped gaming stones from the Mississippian Period (AD 500-1500) and decided to refresh my memory on those. That reading lead me to an article titled “Circle Roller Discoidals” by Bruce Butts, Winterville, Ga.

    What happiness and excitement that article brought me!
    The author describes a Native American game similar to our modern-day bowling.
    Remarkably, in 1923, an excavation in Rabun County, Ga revealed a perfectly level packed clay area making a playing field of 3 “alleys” with 17 stone “circle rollers” lying on the “alleys” and in “pockets” at the end of the alleys.
    Additionally, 80 miles away in Alabama at a site called Towaliga, another such “bowling alley” was discovered.
    Per the article’s description of the game: the player would roll the disc-shaped stone down the alley and because of the way the stone was carved slightly heavier on one side, the stone would roll in a curve. The object of the game was to make the stone roll down the alley and into one of the pockets.

    After I read that article, I tried rolling my stone across my wood floor to see what would happen.
    Can you imagine my excitement when my stone rolled in a perfect big circle, going around and around in several perfect loops getting progressively smaller, till it finally fell over!!

    I plan to do more research and to try to contact the author of this article for more info, and hopefully to have my stone authenticated.
    But for now, I believe I found a “Circle Roller”!

    Such a long description- I tried to boil it down but still it was long.
    Thanks for your time and patience in reading it!

    I welcome comments.

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    1. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 3 years ago
      So little time we have to know so little about something. I was always searching for a stone to ignite my interest when I was young. Love this ones token like appearance !~
    2. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      PhilDMorris, you would especially have enjoyed having this little stone when you were a child. I can’t wait to show my family what I discovered about it rolling in circles!
      Thanks for the comment and love.

      Thanks for the love Newfld, Brunswick, Yougottahavestuff and TheGateKeeper!
    3. Dannytwofeathers Dannytwofeathers, 3 years ago
      Very nice chunkee gaming piece i have found one not long ago i know the pottery game pieces were made by woman for there children and fathers also made them for there children also the edge work is very well polished and very smooth and i can see the work on the top surface like they hammered the top and smoothing the surface it took time to do very lovely find indeed i would so love to play chunkee with you i have alot of these discs that i had found in my years i am glad you pulled yours up i have my new addition to my collection makes me want to be a kid again my find still rolls would not be hard to find two sticks for the bottom of the hill on on each side to roll the disc to see if they can go between the sticks
    4. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      Bobby, BB2, kwqd, Fortapache, Danny2feathers, Thank all of you for the loves!

      Danny, thanks for the comment. I wish I could go back and look in that same area for more of the game pieces but too much time has past to find the exact spot...but, from what I’ve read, there would have been numerous such stones involved in the games.

      Just looking at this stone under magnification and seeing the tiny strike marks left as the maker chipped away stone to get the contours just right, it’s a reminder that those ancient people were skilled, thoughtful, smart, patient, determined, and fun-loving.

      They had to know which kinds of stone could be formed, shaped, smoothed, drilled, without shattering into pieces.
      No wonder it’s believed that the game stones belonged to the villages (not to the individuals) and they were treasured and passed down thru the years. The main article I read said they have not been found in graves - and graves usually included items belonging to the individual.

      And the ability to smooth and perfectly level the ground to make a game court for chunkee and circle roller stones!
      That’s just incredible to me because I’ve spent all day just leveling up a spot in my yard for a concrete pedestal table and it’s 2 concrete benches...and still, it wasn’t perfect!

      Thanks for your thoughts about this cute little stone!
    5. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      Thank you Mrstyndall for the love!
    6. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      I totally agree! I can’t even imagine chipping away at a stone with another stone and ending up with something like this.

      Who knows how many hundreds of years it laid on the ground until I happened upon it.
      But now that I have it, I feel a responsibility for it now, if that makes sense.
    7. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 1 year ago
      Wow, 15 loves for “my” tiny rock. I feel like I’m just the guardian over it, just showing appreciation for it’s form and awe at the skill of the person who made it.

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