Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Interesting Rock Found in Ohio: Follow-up
Prior post. From the Middletownjournal.com Expert says turtle boulder is just a rock Rock found on farm near Oregonia By Marie Rossiter Staff Writer Updated 1:51 PM Wednesday, April 22, 2009 A local archeology curator said a turtle-head shaped boulder found near Oregonia is not a sculpture, as claimed by its finder. Dirk Morgan, owner of Morgan’s Canoe and Outdoor Center, said he believes his find is an effigy of a turtle that could date back to the Hopewell Indians who lived in the area more than 1,000 years ago. Bob Genheimer of the Cincinnati Museum Center viewed the 200-pound boulder at Morgan’s home on April 21 and said he found no evidence of shaping or manufacturing. “My strong opinion is that it is an artifact of nature, or an ‘ecofact,’” Genheimer said. “It appears to be an eroded and water formed sandstone glacial erratic. There is no doubt that it appears to be a turtle head, but I believe it’s an artifact of nature, not culture.” Morgan said he appreciated Genhemier’s visit, but disagreed with the assessment. “I’m not going to bury the rock back in the ground based on one opinion,” Morgan said. “I’m going to get more opinions. I feel if I didn’t, I would be doing this find a disservice.” The sandstone boulder was found last week by Morgan on his farm near Oregonia while searching for rocks for his wife’s garden. The rock will be featured as part of Geo Fair at Cincinnati Gardens starting May 2. Terry Huizing, who is a curator of minerals, rocks and meteors at the Cincinnati Museum Center, said when he heard of the rock and saw a picture, he thought it would be a good addition to the annual Geo fair. Huizing said he hasn’t seen anything like this in his 30 years in the field. Experts from around the country will be at the event and will have a chance to study at the rock. “It will be the first step in determining its origins,” said Huizing. “We have simple tools to help identify it.” Rocks like this are not native to southwest Ohio, according to Huizing. He said they typically come from the north as a result of glacier movements. Morgan said he probably walked by the giant rock thousands of times before noticing it. But, when he went out last week, his curiosity finally got the best of him. “Only the top was visible and I knew a big piece of it was buried underground,” said Morgan, owner of Morgan’s Canoe and Outdoor Center. “When it didn’t budge when I tried to kick it, I decided to dig to see exactly how big it was.” Morgan said he clearly saw a pair of eyes and a mouth carved into the sandstone. But, before he jumped to conclusions, he said he ran to get his wife, Lori Morgan, to get her opinion. Morgan said he came to the conclusion it was a turtle head, possibly carved by the Mound Builders who lived in the region more than 1,000 years ago. According to Morgan, the turtle has historical significance. “Legend says Mother Earth lives on the back of a turtle shell,” Morgan said. “The turtle is an important symbol in ancient cultures.” The curiosity factor has drawn friends, neighbors and even strangers to see the rock. “I’m eager to have others see it,” Morgan said. “Having it on display is a great opportunity.” **************************************************************************** The rock is sandstone, which is - relatively speaking - easily weathered over time. Arguendo, if the rock was carved some 1,000 years ago and was exposed to the elements for say 500 years before being covered with earth (however that happened), would it be reasonable to assume that one could, by eye-inspection alone, detect whether the rock's "features" were formed by tooling or carving? Did Bob Genheimer of the Cincinnati Museum Center bring equipment along with him that enabled him to make this determination? While I'm open to the possibility that this rock is a naturally-formed thing that just happens to resemble a turtle head, how was the symmetry of what appear to be two eyes and what look like two ears or ear-holes formed by an accident of nature? I've no idea, but isn't a credo of science this: that the easiest explanation is usually the correct one, i.e., the resemblance and symmetry were formed on purpose by human hands? I hope there is further follow-up on this story. Too often these interesting stories crop up and then disappear forever, and no one knows what happened.