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A Paleo Bird Effigy is a stone artifact directly

associated with ancient tree and platform burials,

mankinds oldest and most widespread way of dealing

with a body after death.

A mysterious ritual practice of making and using a

stone "Bird Effigy" at funerals and cemeteries

appeared here in Michigan over 13,000 years ago by

people moving North after the last Ice Age.

The original 'Paleo' styles and patterns of the stone

bird effigy continued in use, unchanged, through the

long Archaic and later Woodland Periods. The most

obvious ones have been found around skeletons in

many excavated burial mounds.

Considered "curious" or barely ever mentioned, these

simple natural rocks and stones fall under the huge

category of artifacts called "PROBLEMATICALS" - a

category clearly recognized and accepted over 100

years ago.

Exactly why they were made, and the true purpose

they served remains a mystery to this day. That's

the problem with Problematicals!

During the Paleo period-14,000 to 10,000 years ago- a

mobile culture of Big Game Hunters stretched from Western

Europe through Russia, Central and Eastern Asia, and all

across North and South America.

The North American Paleopresence consists mostly of

occasional thin scatters of broken stone, typical evidence of

intermittant hunting camps or Big Game kill sites. Deep

stratified sites are rare.

In the dry American West, ancient trails, trail shrines,

mysterious rock alignments, stone piles and circles of

stone are associated with the earliest Paleo period.

Thousands of years of forest and vegetation growth has

obscured that kind of evidence in Eastern North America.

We knowthere were low population densities, lots of room to

roam and an incredible amount of wild food almost


Yet we know little about the people of the Paleo because

stone is usually all that remains and few human bones have

ever been found.

Back then, almost everyone who died was wrapped in skins,

along with their personal possesions, tied up in a tree, or

placed high up on a scaffold out of reach of scavenging


Usually the highest ground was used for this funeral practice

known as 'Aerial Sepulture'.

Though commonly called 'Platform Burial', it is with out

a doubt mankinds oldest and most widespread way of dealing

with a body after death.

Here in West Michigan, the SDM site is just one among

many around the world where there were concentrations of

'Platform Burials' by the people of the Paleo period.

What remainsare simple, abstract stone 'Bird Effigies', in

all sizes, and the tools they used to make them with.

This 'Bird' at a funeral/cemetary idea appears fully developed

here over 13,000 years ago and was practiced right up to

historic times.

The presence of fine retouched bi-faces, polished stone

implements and bits of pottery, for example, found on the later

Archaic (10,000 to 3,000 years ago) and Woodland (3,000

to historic) funeral sites, over shadows the rough stone 'Bird

Effigies' and usually go unnoticed by relic collectors.

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