Bannerstones are finely worked symmetrical stone artifacts, characterized by two “wings” separated by a drilled central hole. They are found in a variety of archaeological contexts throughout Eastern North America in sites dating the Middle to Late Archaic periods. Archaeologists have suggested that they may have been used as weights for throwing sticks (atlatls), though their use and meanings remain a matter of some debate. Their individuality and fine craftsmanship, and the use of the stone’s natural markings to create distinctive patterns, are indicative of the considerable skills and artistry of their makers. Like many bannerstones in museum collections, this one lacks precise provenience information. All we know is that the uncle of Dr. Kenneth Easlick, a U-M professor in the Schools of Dentistry and Public Health, found it on the surface near Macon, Michigan, around 1916.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.