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No. 11 in a series; Col. John F. Berner/director

“Discoidals, the rolling stones.”

Discoidals have mesmerized artifact collectors for nearly two hundred years.Discoidals, a relatively a late artifact in time, continue to captivate the attention of serious collectors. These cylindrical stone artifacts were manufactured from a myriad of colors and materials. The smallest we have encountered is one made of gray and white marble, measuring only 1” in diameter and but 1/2” thick, and it is the circle roller type. This biscuit shaped artifact has one diameter slightly larger so it will roll in a circle. Other specific types include the Salt River type with a slight cup and central ridge. The Jersey Bluff type also has a slight cup but is thick in width. The Cahokia type discoidal has a deeply polished cup but is narrow in width. Refered to as Ft.Ancient style, these are crudly made of sandstone and feature a variety of engraving with circles or star patterns.

The most highly regarded of all discoidals is identified as the Tennessee type. Most common is deeply scooped and polished with a central cup; least common is the double cup, featuring a raised central cup. This type is always made of the highest quality material, primarily white or golden quartzite. The Tennessee types measure from 4” in diameter to a few as large as 7” in diameter. Never a perfect circle, these hand polished specimens often show wear striations on the highest rolling surface of the artifact and may have tiny abrasions or nicks.

(left to right) Circle roller of marble 1” diameter, Biscuit discoidal of Greenstone 2” diameter, Conglomerate Biscuit, 3 3/4” diameter, White quartzite single cup Tennessee 5 1/8” diameter.