Wednesday, May 04, 2016

It’s easy to make a snake (part two)

     Well maybe there’s really a big difference between that little stone snake my granddaughter once made and that second suspected stone snake or serpent I later showed her, asking for a second opinion.
    It would take a whole bunch of granddaughters just to move that big boulder, wouldn’t it?
     And could my granddaughter – or anybody’s granddaughter – do a little sculpting (pecking and polishing) to somehow get that effect of the appearance of an eye?
    Not that I know for sure that someone, somebody’s granddaughter or grandfather, actually worked on that stone, that boulder, to make it look like it does. “It’s too complicated for grandpa,” I once overheard my granddaughter say to my wife one time. I don’t know how to properly identify human made marks or distinguish them from natural ones on a boulder that has been sitting exposed to Connecticut climate conditions for an unknown number of years.

    I recognize that it’s much easier to spot a stone that already looks like a snake head with an eye, which perhaps is the case here, a reddish inclusion in a cobble stone:
    And perhaps somebody did recognize those snake-like ophiomorphic (or at least zoomorphic) qualities of that stone (and still, here again, I don’t know for sure if there was some human manipulation to this stone to get it just as it is), placing it just where it can still be found in a zigzag row of stones – you know, one of those rare “traces” of unintentionally made stone walls you’ve read about that are merely the stone remains of field clearing stones randomly tossed up an early post-less wooden fence that has a lot of different names that includes “Snake Fence” and “Worm Fence.” There’s a joke in here about them somewhere, since they are so common in the area: You could say they are actually “medium rare” – and rather than just haphazardly constructed, many are “well-done.”
      It’s the placement that counts, manipulated or not, I believe. The stone was chosen and placed at the outward “point” of the zigzag, smaller and smaller stones laid down in a “course” of stones – just as other possibly ophiomorphic/zoomorphic stones are as well, illustrated sort of simply here, along with a wider view of the zigzag, looking sort of southeast from the edge of a road that was probably a trail to what the locals call “The Indian Fish Camp” on the “backside” of Lake Quassapaug:
Here’s an even more “complicated” overlay from an older post, where a few other “point” “Head-like” stones also appear:

Here’s just a “trace” of a linear and zigzag, with more either astute observations of variations of a repeating pattern or just some further illustrations of why I should seriously consider taking medication:
 The above is possibly an uncompleted row or maybe a row that has been robbed of stones, causing it to appear so sparse. A few miles away from this spot are some “well-formed” and still quite intact zigzag rows, where there seems to be an entwined snakes (or serpents) theme going on:

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

It’s easy to make a snake (part one)


    “It’s easy to make a snake,” my granddaughter explained to me. She placed the pebbles on the ground, saying, “You start with biggest and then put down the next biggest and the next biggest and then smaller and smaller, until you stop with the smallest.”
    “I think you are correct,” I said to her. I think she was about to turn four years old that summer, but I could be wrong. Maybe not though. She added two tiny quartz pebbles as an afterthought and looked at me, told me, “These are the snake’s eyes.”
     It is pretty easy to make a snake that size – almost anyone can do it, if they want to.
     And anyone who looks at it doesn’t have to think too hard about what that little row of little stones is meant to be interpreted as. That little row of little stones is a little stone snake because it looks like a snake, a triangular stone for a head and stones of diminishing sizes behind it for a legless body that tapers to a tail.
     So some months passed, and I think I was driving to some destination which now I can’t remember exactly what it was, when I saw something that also seemed to resemble a stone snake, but much bigger than that one my granddaughter made. Maybe it was actually to hike this particular trail in an Open Space Preserve four or five miles from my house, looking for something that could be considered Native American Iconography in some stone walls - or perhaps see if something about the land the stone wall enclosed would suggest a Native American use and origin.

      I saw this below, and I’ll admit that I said (to myself), “That looks like a snake!”
   A few months later, I brought my stone snake making granddaughter to take a look and see what she thought. She said, “Eek! A snake!”



Monday, May 02, 2016

Back On The Corner Again

An overlay above, where soil meets stone below...
Zoomorphic or just coincidence?
Intentional placement by Indigenous stone worker or just random placement by colonial builder?
Worked stone or just as it was found? 
A thoughtful (imaginative) observation of a repeated pattern or just another illustration of the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data?
Would I find this repeated in the interior walls?




Overcoming the Ambiguity of a Rock Pile

Exerpts from:
"Overcoming the Ambiguity of a Rock Pile: Their Examination and Interpretation in Cultural Resource Management Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow"
By Charity M Moore and Matthew Victor Weiss
This paper was presented on January 9, 2016 at the SHA 2016 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology.

 The Present State of Rock Feature Research
   “While researching this paper, my colleague and I came across many experienced archaeologists who had regularly encountered rock features, or were at least aware of their existence, but who had not previously thought to record or research them. In many cases these "non-standard" features are overlooked in favor of traditional archaeological resources (see Ballard and Maver 2006:37-38; Ives 2013; Muller 2009). In CRM, tight budgets and schedules make it especially tempting to ignore ambiguous features, as no developer wants to be told that they should avoid a pile of rocks based on an unproven possibility that it may be significant. The uncertainty surrounding rock feature interpretation then perpetuates the lack of research. My co-author and I contacted the officer or head archaeologist at each SHPO in order to gauge their awareness of and opinions on the rock feature problem, as well as to gather approaches to their recordation and interpretation. The results were widely varied, with no clear patterns in regard to region of the U.S., the characteristics of known rock features, or the presence or absence of recognized Native American tribes. Only a few states, such as Montana, North Dakota, and Oregon, have formal guidance in place (some of which I will discuss later in the presentation) Connecticut is currently in the process of developing ceremonial stone landscape (CSL) forms and/or guidance (James Gage, personal communication, 2015)...
    ...(T)he most concerning and extreme SHPO opinion came from Massachusetts' website, which claims that "research into such stone piles [has]invariably shown that these features are not associated with the Native American settlement of Massachusetts" and then goes on to imply that historic-period rock features are not culturally significant (MHC 2015).Furthermore, their SHPO has refused to accept forms which report prehistoric rock features (Gage and Gage2015a). Their SHPO did not respond to our request for further information, but their opinion has often been discredited (e.g. Gage and Gage 2015a; Muller 2009; NEARA 2015; Rush 2015) and even overturned by other federal

agencies in the high profile Turners Falls case (Albertini 2009; NPS 2008; Timreck 2011)...
     This past October, my colleague and I were able to attend a conference entitled "Interpreting the Past: Ceremonial Stone Landscapes of the Northeast," during which academic and CRM archaeologists, Native Americans, and SHPO and Tribal Historical Preservation Offices (THPO) representatives self-critically discussed the poor state of research and protection for sacred indigenous landscapes. A resulting publication is planned. The general consensus was that archaeologists must stop imposing their own academic, racial, or ideological biases and must recognize that prehistoric, post-contact Native American, and historic European American rock features are worthy of study and preservation. Panel discussants noted that archaeologists who are faced with their inability to interpret a rock feature often mistake their ignorance for some kind of epistemological impasse inherent to these features. Because the growing body of literature refutes such an impasse, we must consider if our inability to interpret may actually be the result of insufficient effort on our part and on biases about what types of cultural resources are important or interesting. Through deep collaboration with native groups, archaeologists can learn to hear the landscape and have the responsibility to speak on the behalf of native peoples, especially when the absence of federally-recognized tribes or loss of oral traditions about rock features is the result of their displacement and cultural suppression. Sites like the celestial alignments at Fort Drum, New York (Rush 2015),the "memory piles" along the Constitution Pipeline in Pennsylvania and New York (Cassedy and Bergevin 2015),or the CSLs at Lawton Foster Road and Turners Falls in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, respectively, (Albertini2009; Drummond 2014; NPS 2008; Timreck 2011) could not have been recognized by archaeologists alone, but can now be used as case studies to interpret other stone landscapes.
   These issues have had another unfortunate side effect. Members of the public who are confronted with the apparent antiquity and awe-inspiring nature of rock features often become frustrated with their dismissal by professional archaeologists, or by archaeology's failure to explain their origins, and turn to pseudoarchaeological explanations. These features' ambiguity creates an ideal situation for theories about extraterrestrials, lost civilizations, and supernatural entities to flourish, as people try to make sense of these visually impressive landscapes. However, this ambiguity has not stopped many non-archaeologists and amateur researchers from conducting insightful and thorough research on cairnfields, rock effigy sites, etc. Although their conclusions are not always based on conventional science, history, or archaeology, the resulting websites, blogs, and articles contain a wealth of primary data that is invaluable to the archaeological researcher (e.g. Native Stones.com 2006; Waksman 2005; 2015; see Muller 2009:17). Rather than belittling or alienating non-archaeologists, we should encourage public interest in archaeology and coordinate our efforts to understand the past. The websites and publications of the New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA 2015; see Ballard and Maver 2006; Holstein 2012; Muller 2009), a group of primarily amateur rock feature researchers, and historian mother and son team Mary and James Gage (Gage and Gage 2015a; see Gage 2009a; 2009b; 2014; 2015; Gage and Gage 2015b; 2015c) have been particularly valuable during our research..."
A Call For the Adoption of Archaeological Theory and Rock Feature-Specific Guidance
   "Only when rock feature sites are regularly recorded in a thoughtful and knowledgeable way, we will be able to identify meaningful patterns and better understand the past through the application of archaeological theory, such as Tilley's (1994; see 1996) phenomenology of landscape, Boivin and Owoc's (2004) work on perceptions of the mineral world, and Ingold's (2000) dwelling perspective. Ingold's work is particularly applicable, as it can be used to explore the affordances (which are perceived properties and use-values) of stone, individual stone constructs, and their environmental settings in order to develop possible meanings and reasons behind their construction. These theoretical approaches, which could be collectively subsumed under the study of "paleo-environmental inhabitation" (Moore 2012), are readily applicable to rock features. For example, Trevarthen's (2000) study of prehistoric cairns demonstrated how geological affordances like color and luster can convey ideology, William's (2007) study of medieval cemeteries revealed how burial cairns and other mortuary and commemorative monuments were carefully designed by the living to selectively reflect individual and collective identifies and relationships, and Johnston's (2001) work on prehistoric clearance cairns explored the ways in which cairns structure both the physical and social realm.
    Framed and intersected by navigable water and ancient travel routes, the Upper Ohio River Valley has been a geographic center for economic and cultural development spanning Native American cultures like the Hopewell, early European-American settlement and agriculture, nineteenth-to-twentieth century industry, and the current oil and gas boom. As people built rock features, in all their forms, functions, and origins, they were reflecting a shared, but ever changing, understanding of human experience and interactions with the materiality of landscape (e.g. augmentation, imitation, interaction, modification of existing conditions). However, until all archaeologists, SHPOs, and agencies begin to adopt region-appropriate guidance and best practices, guided by some of the techniques and resources discussed here, and to respect indigenous beliefs about the agency of landscape features and their ancestors (e.g. Holstein 2010), this information will continue to be unreachable."
 The full presentation can be accessed here:


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Seems Like Just Yesterday


   It seems like just yesterday that I was looking at photos from Chaco Canyon, pondering a possibility that some of those courses of stones just might be snake-like the way they were laid down.
   Turns out it was just yesterday, and I heard a little about it throughout the day, a mixed bag of reactions on the Face Book page where I posted something about it, the page where I found some interesting photos { https://www.facebook.com/groups/1408175099455213/permalink/1702043543401699/}:
  "Interesting; I am going to look at masonry courses more carefully now..." to "Not seeing a snake...!" and of course: " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia"



So, later in the day, I'm at the northeast corner of my house. I'm focused on the missing drip stones and mortar, looking down where soil meets stone. And I look up at this uppermost course of stones in the corner that the sill rests on. Is it a repeat of a snake pattern of stacking stones - a head-like stone (maybe natural, maybe chipped a little) and some sandstone pieces that taper from thick to thin or is my mind just assigning meaning to one more instance of pareidolia? "What we find depends on what we are looking for," they say. "And one is an accident, two is a coincidence and three is a conspiracy:"





John Normile photos from Chaco Canyon I kept looking at (off and on):
Above: the snake that caught my eye from the photo of a wall (below):








Paried O'Delia (as the Irish say) is the suggestion that there is an unintentional, non-existent, percieved pattern in something random, a happy accident apparently. When I looked again and again at this one, stone snakes on my mind (and knowing there's a great deal of snake imagery in other Southwest artforms, petroglyphs to pottery, past to present) I really did have to wonder if there might have been snakes on the minds of the builder(s) at this section of wall with different sized stones alternating in a rather artistic manner. 
 I'll put in some circles for eyes on the larger sized snakes and leave it to you to ponder the even smaller stones that may also be considered possible stone snakes by the more imaginative:





Friday, April 29, 2016

Chaco Masonry Snakes

Here’s the photo in my Face Book feed (as they say) that caught my eye, a photo by John Normile In-Sites: Pre-Columbian Architecture of the American Southwest:
    It’s on this group’s page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1408175099455213/
    My eye was drawn to a certain segment of a course of stone, for all the usual reasons that cause a person to tend to say, “I think that stone (or row of stones) looks like something,” in this case a snake.
    Well, all the reasons plus one or two. People don’t usually point out a similarity to snakes in the famous and iconic Stone Walls of New England and especially in the retaining walls or the foundation of old houses that were once on the edge of the Indian Frontier, when that Frontier was still a wilderness and only known by the local Indigenous People known as Indians and/or Native Americans.
    Well, I do point out that similarity here in Connecticut and I do it more and more often in the last few years, thinking I’m seeing a repeated pattern of Indigenous Iconography in stone walls that are assumed to be everything but Indigenous in origin.
    This morning I’m wondering, not for the first time, if anyone has ever suggested that the stone stacking technique in “Pre-Columbian Architecture of the American Southwest” might be related to snakes. Is this segment of stones, cropped from the photo above, a representation of a snake? 
     An overlay “painting” I just made to emphasize what I mean:
      I’m waiting for permission to use the above photo, find out if it is indeed a photo from Chaco Canyon and all the other details. I suspect it may not be too far from a good example of a snake petroglyph.
      And yes I’m looking for other examples of snakes in the stonework.
      And, yes, it’s not that hard to find some others.
     And I don’t know, as I said, if anyone else has ever suggested such a thing.
     Travel those ancient trade routes southward, to the places where corn, beans and tobacco came from and you will find places where snakes show up in Indigenous Architecture, some easy to see, some not.
      Ask yourself, “If they exist in Indigenous stonework there, then why not here in the American Southwest?”
     Ask yourself, “Why not then in what may be Indigenous stonework in Connecticut and elsewhere in New England?”



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sherlock Stones and the Preacher’s Stone Fence

(Inspired by those TV shows that place the well-known character of a similar name in modern times)
   “What do you make of these stones at this gateway, Dr. Possum?” said
Sherlock Stones. “Which draws your eye first?”
   “Well it’s anchored by boulders on either side. Colonial farmers did that to keep the wall from falling apart at a gateway, they say,” answered his friend, Dr. John Possum.
     “So they say,” Stones said. “There’s also another repeat of the pattern we’ve seen in other places – observe, Possum, don’t just see...”
     “Why there’s those ‘diamonds’ again!” Possum exclaimed. “One on each side, approximately the same distance away from the boulders.” Stones and Possum had spent several days travelling about this town and a few neighboring towns, making observations of similar gateways and certain stonewalls that ended in boulders. “Technically, I suppose you could call the shape a rhombus, as they are designated in the Geometry branch of Mathematics,” Possum added.
     “Only if all sides are exactly equal, my dear Possum,” Stones replied. “Without careful measurement, we don’t know that - they may well be ‘rhomboidal,’ yet each not a true rhombus.”
      “So now, step closer to the one that actually caught my eye first, Possum,” said Stones moving to the left of the gateway. “Note well, my friend, that we have seen that many of these – call them ‘end stones” for convenience sake – are triangular in shape. I find the white band of stone interesting.”
      “Interesting indeed,” said the Doctor. “It looks as if some natural process that shaped the boulder has resulted in something that trigger’s one’s mind to image that there is an eye on this boulder! It’s a phenomena known as Pareidolia, when the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists. Quite common, in fact. Clouds in the sky that ‘look like something’ - and all those sightings of religious figures in water stains or pieces of burnt toast. In the field of psychology, it is sometimes termed Pareidoliatic apophenia, or just plain old apophenia - the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data.”
      “I’ve asked a geologist friend, interested in Mimetoliths, to take a look at this boulder,” Stones replied.
      “Eh?” Possum pondered a second. “Stones that “mimic” objects, perhaps? Sounds like the Greek mimetes - an imitator - combined with lithos – a stone of some sort.”
    “Very good, Possum! There’s hope for you yet! In most cases these stones are purely accidental cases of the seeming playfulness of Mother Nature. In some instances, on certain stones, however, microscopic examination reveals that the human hand has enhanced the natural. This particular stone is lichen free for the most part, unlike most that we have observed. It is also a very hard type of stone that has resisted the weather much more than others. I suggest that this stone may be more like a “sculpture” than a natural and unintentional similarity to a snake.”
     “Good Heavens, Stones! That’s quite a leap – a simple boulder to stone snake!” Possum paused to think a moment before asking, “You do recall that we are standing at a gateway to the property originally owned by the first Puritan minister in this town? What the Devil is a stone symbol of the Devil doing on such a property? Granted that the first fences of the times were easily constructed wooden rail fences, but surely the descendants of a minister or the farm hands they employed would not be making monuments of the Serpent who urged Eve to eat the apple in the Garden of Eden.”
     Stones was on bended knees now, looking closely at the two depressions in the stone slightly below and slightly behind the perceived “eye” of the perceived snake. “Considering how this stone does as well as does not resemble an actual snake, these depressions may resemble actual features of the head of a pit viper. Snakes have no visible ear, so they don't hear sounds as we do, but it's not quite right to say that snakes are deaf. They have vestiges of the apparatus for hearing inside their heads, and that setup is attached to their jaw bones, so they feel vibrations very well and may hear low-frequency airborne sounds. This uppermost depression may represent that spot.”
    “While the other may resemble the pit that gives the “pit vipers” a common name,” said Possum, nodding. “So we are looking at not only a stone snake, but a poisonous stone snake at that!”
    “Perhaps, Possum, perhaps.” Stones stood back up. “I noted similar such marks on other similar boulders, albiet cover in lichen. The number of instances implies a pattern, a repeated one at that, rather than mere coincidence. Consider the Indigenous stonework one finds in Mexico and southward, down into South America. A Great Feathered Serpent occurs in many different kinds of stonework, carved into softer stone, but a snake-like being none-the-less.”
    “Yes, that’s true,” Possum said, “And there are many places around the world where this snake business enters into myths and legends, spiritualties and religions, and, yes, architecture too. Shared by humans world-wide, you could say, this snake fascination.”
   Stones was looking closely now at the “eye.”
    Possum did as well, said “These could be several events recorded in stone, so to speak, as the boulder was shaped by the glacier, moved along the ice, tumbled out of it, stuck by other stones, eventually deposited nearby.”
    “True, Possum, true,” Stones said. “But recall that not too very far from here is the site of one of the state’s oldest archaeological discoveries. There were people here much farther back in time than our good minister ever imagined. We stand at a place considered a virgin wilderness by those Puritans, that some believe was actually more of a widowed Cultural Landscape, created and tended by the use of fire for countless generations of the Indigenous Peoples we call Native Americans – and Indians because Columbus believed he was in India. The Puritans claimed that Indians enclosed no land, but the famous dissenter Roger Williams made some statements that recalled that Indian Sachems knew the “bounds” of their lands, especially when using fire in their hunting practices. Williams never mentions stones as “bounds,” but I know of nothing that is naturally more fire-proof than stone to ensure that fire does not spread further into anyone else’s bounds – or burn up all the resources within one’s own bounds, like a hearth inside a wigwam or long house. In the last thirty years, much has been discovered about this practice of burning by Indigenous People the world over, the reasons for it going well beyond the hunting aspect. Those Puritans, by the way, were quick to define what a legal fence was just after the argument was presented by the founder of Providence Rhode Island, how high in particular, allowing the claiming of vacant land and setting the precedent for legally establishing ownership with the simple act of building of wooden rail fences. A closer look at some of these stone walls or stone fences may be necessary to establish whether or not what those Puritans were saying was actually true – placement, stacking techniques and Indigenous Iconography. The sheer number of these walls of stone alone perhaps suggests that they pre-date a Golden Age of Stone Wall Building that lasted roughly 100 years." Stones paused a second or two before saying, "I wonder what a soil scientist could tell me about the ground beneath this stone? Something that might contradict what these Puritans claimed that is the basis of the belief that Indigenous Peoples of New England were not intelligent enough to stack stones like these?”
    “Oh Stones!” Dr. Possum exclaimed. “Next you’ll be telling me that these Puritans weren’t 100% correct with all their information about witches!”
    Sherlock Stones didn’t answer, although he smiled. He was already walking toward the boulder on the opposite side of the gateway...
Other Stones observed by Stones and Dr. Possum: Other Stones observed by Stones and Dr. Possum

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mimetoliths; Stones That "Look Like" Something

Pareidolia: the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists.
Mimetoliths: stones that “mimic” objects [Greek mimetes (an imitator) and lithos (stone).
Pareidoliatic apophenia, or just plain old apophenia: the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data.
   In 1958, Klaus Conrad coined the word "Apophänie" to characterize the onset of delusional thinking in psychosis. In contrast to an epiphany, an apophany (i.e., an instance of apophenia) does not provide insight into the nature of reality or its interconnectedness but is a "process of repetitively and monotonously experiencing abnormal meanings in the entire surrounding experiential field". Such meanings are entirely self-referential, solipsistic, and paranoid — "being observed, spoken about, the object of eavesdropping, followed by strangers". Thus the English term "apophenia" has a somewhat different meaning than that which Conrad defined when he coined the term "Apophänie".
Please note: "Apophany" should not be confused with "apophony" - the alternation of sounds within a word that indicates grammatical information (often inflectional). Example: sing, sang, sung, song.

  Pareidolia is a type of apophenia involving the perception of images (or sounds) in random stimuli.

    Above: “Image of three circles and a line, which the human brain automatically and subconsciously recognizes as a face - despite the complete lack of resemblance to a real human face. This is an example of how the brain can be considered "too good" at recognizing faces.
   Though some, especially if hungry, may see it as two eggs and a strip of bacon,” or so Wikipedia believes.
Example: Figure 8 below, from “Rocks and Fossils Collected from Mississippi Gravels” at first seemed to me to be a possible human face but I figured that the David Dockery must have been hungry because he says it’s a “fried egg:”
    But then I realized I was looking at the wrong plate and should have been looking #8 in this one (called momentary reader’s error, I believe):
Dockery does admit he took a pencil to #9:
     Dockery also tells us that “many times a collector will find an interesting rock that looks like an Indian artifact.” He actually means a “stone” and is hardly being scientific by saying “looks like” when he means “could be said to resemble,” which is pretty much the same thing but the friends who used to talk to me about such things seem to hate the phrase “looks like,” it looks like (Oh no I did it again: I mean “it seems”). Dockery says archaeologists have a special term for these sort of interesting stones and is not afraid to say “Archaeologists call these stones IR, an abbreviation for interesting rocks.” He says nothing about why a scientist would call a stone a rock, which I find interesting.
     And I found that Dockery was more interested in fossils (except for a stone he said “looks like a petrified egg roll”) than faces so I made some toast because now I was hungry too and went on to look up this R. V. Deitrich who Dockery claimed coined the negolism Mimeolith to see if I could find more examples to go in my “stones that look like something” folder, which should really be my “stones that could be said to resemble something” folder.
      And so I hitched on over to: http://stoneplus.cst.cmich.edu/mimetoliths/
      Deitrich begins by saying, “Nearly everyone has, I suspect, looked at one thing and imagined it looked like something else.  Indeed, many observations of this kind have been recorded.  -- Four examples are: the Chinese poet Lo-tien (773-846) mentions viewing stones (see www.bonsai-nbf.org/);  Shakespeare (1564-1616) has Hamlet exclaiming about cloud shapes that resemble "a camel," "a weasel," and "a whale" (Hamlet -- Act iii, scene 2);  Mark Twain (1835-1910) has Adam, in The Diaries of Adam and Eve, lamenting (e.g. when Adam asks Eve why she named a certain thing such as a lion a lion  " . . . always that same pretext is offered -- it looks like the thing (i.e. a lion).";  Robert Williams Wood (1868-1955) in his little book How to tell the birds from the flowers . . . (1917) provides several delightful sketches and poetic remarks that pertain to such observations;  and, there are , of course, the implications, especially in some peoples' minds, that relate mimetoliths and pareidoliatic apophenia.”
   R.V.’s focus is on naturally occurring stones and his gigantic illustrated list includes just two possibly humanly enhanced stones (that he sounds a little doubtful about), but he does include this interesting photo (IP) below:
#43.  Makapansgat jasperite cobble (height ~ 8 cm). This cobble is described as a manuport because its diverse markings have been shown by "detailed microscopic analysis" to be natural -- i.e., neither made by nor modified artificially. It was found in South Africa at a site to which it was carried "either by Australophithecus africanus, or by an as yet unknown hominid" "between two and three million years" ago. Additional information and references about this cobble are on the web site: http://mcw.vicnet.net.au/home/portable/web/manuport.html . (© photo by R.G. Bednarik).

Note: That link didn’t work for me but this one did: http://www.ifrao.com/manuports-and-very-early-palaeoart/
    Well that’s food (a fried egg, possibly an egg roll) for thought, isn’t it? A pre-human manuport, a stone or Interesting Rock carried to a cave because it “looked like” a (pre)human face (or two eggs and a strip of yet to be invented bacon).
    As I approached the end of the web page, I found that I liked this R.V. Dietrich who says, “Is it any wonder that we, usually "down to earth" geologists, when we look at certain topography, rock exposures, rock and mineral specimens, and beach stones sometimes think,  "That looks like a ... "?  -- Certainly not!!!   Imagination is not only one of the capacities that separates humans from other living beings:  It is common; it is fun;  and sometimes,  as Burke’s (1940) lyrics go, "Imagination is funny; it makes a cloudy day sunny . . ." {https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagination_(1940_song)}
     Consequently, it came as a surprise -- indeed, a shock -- to me when one of our would-be professional spokesmen dismissed practices involving imagination exercises of the kind just mentioned in rather negative terms:  ". . . faced with the history, the psychology, and the obtuse logic of describing minerals in non-mineral terms, one can only conclude that it will continue despite any complaints. The best defense may simply be to see the humor in it all" (Wilson, 1978). -- Fortunately, I think, Wilson's attitude is not held by many Geoscientists (especially educators).”


Pareidolia: the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists.
Mimetoliths: stones that “mimic” objects [Greek mimetes (an imitator) and lithos (stone).
    A neologism is the name for a relatively new or isolated term, word, or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use, but that has not yet been fully accepted into mainstream language. Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person, publication, period, or event.
    A behavioral scientist will tell you inanimate objects like stones do not have the ability to exhibit any sort of behavior such as to mimic something, but mimetolith is easier to say that Pareidolialith...
  Lots of this is just "cut and paste" from:
   There is currently a controversial debate concerning whether unusual experiences are symptoms of a mental disorder, if mental disorders are a consequence of such experiences, or if people with mental disorders are especially susceptible to or even looking for these experiences. --Dr. Martina Belz-Merk

“....nothing is so alien to the human mind as the idea of randomness.” --John Cohen

    "Apophenia is the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena... http://skepdic.com/apophenia.html