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Bathing Mammoth. Pleistocene megafauna animals represented by camel figurines and mammoth statuettes suggests this to be an Ice Age Native American Indian artifact site.

Ice Age Animals


Pleistocene megafauna animals represented by camel figurines and mammoth statuettes suggest this to be a Ice Age Native American Indian artifact site.

Updated with New Stuff: 05/14/2017

Long Extinct Mega Fauna

Every spring from 2002 through 2005 we carried these stones on our backs in knapsacks half a mile, since we did not want to drive on the farmer's field. Since then, only a few stones wash out each year from this spot[1] at site 2601 on the Spoon River and as we add these to the collection, newer discoveries are being made. Once I realized how old these figurines might be, I started looking at these "left-over" rocks from the perspective of Ice-Age man. Could Ice Age animals, represented in stone, be laid out before us - just waiting to be reunited with their mating stones? We'll let you be the judge. Please tell us what you think at Paleoart@frontiernet.net 


Bathing Mammoth, side. This "tortoise shell" chalcedony Ice Age Native American Indian artifact animal figurine represents long extinct Pleistocene megafauna. Bathing Mammoth, front. Note how the trunk fits perfectly into the head stone of this Ice Age animal figurine and also allows a gap for the "tusks", likely made of twigs by the ancient artist, as I have demonstrated below. True ColorBathing Mammoth, rear. These smooth stones of this Ice Age animal figurine are so perfectly matched; they appear to come from the same Ice Age rock that was broken down the Spoon River by glacier.    

108.  Bathing Mammoth

Mammuthus primigenius

These 3 stones had me bewildered for about a year. At first I thought them to be an elk or bison, but elk and bison do not have long tails. So they ended up getting bagged and tagged "unknown" for 4 more years. When we finally deduced the age of our find, it occurred to me to look for other animals - Ice Age animals that went extinct about the time these stones were first turned into art. I then noticed the head stone had been chipped a spBathing Mammoth with twig "tusks". The tusks are twigs from a local growing bush that were soaked then wrapped around a tree branch to form the spiral shape of the Ice Age mega fauna animals formidable weapon. Figurine color not true.ecific way. I wondered how long it took the ancient artists to find the trunk to this now extinct pachyderm. The trunk not only looks like the beast is folding it up to eat, it also holds up the head stone against the weight of the body stone - a wholly unique way of stacking stones into a figurine. Note the chocolate/caramel coloration matches these 3 stones perfectly and the tiny cell-like patterns in the stones look almost like elephant skin. Being mottled, it also looks as if the Ice Age beast has shed some of its wool. Smooth chocolate/caramel "Tortoise shell" chalcedony, 3 parts along with 2 sets of "tusks". 4.2"h x 7.0"L; 935 gm

Mammoth, mastodon and other Ice Age animals remains have been found in Illinois. Yet at first it was hard for me to believe the Paleo-Indian River Owl encountered Ice Age animals - especially these beasts - even on occasion. It's unlikely they hunted them as there were easier prey to take down that were large enough to feed a clan of people - not to mention all the fish and small game that were available.

Wooly Mammoth with twig "tusks". Ice Age Native Americans could have easily added the tusk “accessories” to this extinct Pleistocene animal Ice Age Indian artifact figurine.

109.  Wooly Mammoth

Mammuthus primigenius

To find a figurine of one mammoth could be considered a coincidence. But to find a second must be considered a confirmation just how old these statuettes are. I added "tusks" to the Ice Age animal figurine above and formed them as the clan artist may have done - by coiling cut green bush stems around a tree branch and letting them dry in the sun for a few weeks. The natural twig tusks do not help to support the trunk or head in any way, but rest against the body stone. Caramel jasper; 3 parts. 4.5h x 6.3"L; 938 gm


Pleistocene megafauna animals represented by camel figurines and mammoth statuettes suggests this to be an Ice Age Native American Indian artifact site.

American Lion

American Lion Cub, top view. Was NOT your typical demure pussycat.

American Lion Cub, side view. Pleistocene mega fauna animals represented by lion figurines suggest this to be an Ice Age Native American Indian artifact site.

110.  American Lion Cub

Panthera atrox

This Ice Age animal figurine of the cat has many poses. It sits with its head level and with the terrain as shown above with paws tucked in like a true cat; with head looking skyward; and with the cat standing on its haunches with head level or up. The head stone has a deep, natural groove running along the underside for the complete length of the stone, allowing it to tilt in a 70°arc. Sienna jasper, 2 parts, (we are still looking for the tail, if there is one). 4.8"h; 992 gm

American Lion Cub, front view. The extinct Ice Age American Lion was 25% larger than the African lion.

We think of the African Lion as the king of beast, but the extinct American Lion was 25% larger than the African lion. One might argue that this could represent an American Mountain Lion. But Mountain Lions have a shorter snout and though the River Owl may not have had a choice in stone selection for the head on this one, American Lions did exist about the time mammoths roamed the U.S.


Four-in-One Ice Age Animals

A. Saiga Antelope, front view. Pleistocene mega fauna animals represented by Saiga Antelope figurines suggest this to be an Ice Age Native American Indian artifact site.

102A.  Saiga Antelope

Saiga tatarica


The Saiga antelope went extinct in America around 10,000 years ago and now faces extinction again on the Mongolian steppes of Eurasia.


This little Ice Age animals figure (above) perplexed me ever since we found it in 2002. It turned out to be a 4-in-1 figurine! The antler/horn stone had been carefully chipped out by the ancient artisan on the underside so as to allow it to stack on the head. The head stone of this Ice Age animal figurine was also chipped on its underside so that it would stack on the body stone. See where the ancient artisan chipped them, below. This Ice Age animal figurine may also pose as ...

B. Water Buffalo. Pleistocene mega fauna animals represented by Water Buffalo figurines suggest this to be an Ice Age Native American Indian artifact site.102B.  Water Buffalo  

  Bison priscus 


Here, the head is turned upside down with antlers turned back for horns.

With the head placed upside down and the antlers pointed back to become horns, the figure could represent an extinct Ice Age Water Buffalo.

D. American Musk Oxen. Pleistocene mega fauna animals represented by American Musk Oxen figurines suggest this to be an Ice Age Native American Indian artifact site.102D.  American Musk Oxen

Bootherium bombifrons


Here, the antlers are pointing down.

By flipping the horns down, the figure becomes the extinct American Musk Oxen.

C. Ice Age Bison. Pleistocene mega fauna animals represented by Ice Age Bison figurines suggest this to be an Ice Age Native American Indian artifact site. Figure color not true.

102C.  Ice Age Bison

Bison Antiquus

Here, the head is resting against the body stone with antlers pointed back for horns.

With the head placed before the body and antlers pointed back to become horns, the figure could represent an extinct Ice Age Bison. Here, the figure is shown from the other side.

4-in-1 Ice Age animal figurine.102.  Four-in-One Ice Age Animal



A breakdown of the four Ice Age animals shown above showing where the horns and head were worked by the ancient artisan.  Not for Sale

Ice Age animal figurine 102 above was found on the hill in the open field where red figures are rare, making this Ice Age animal figurine quite unique. This photo shows working by the ancient artist on the bottom of the horn stone (foreground left) and head stone (foreground right) which took considerable skill and the stones don't have enough mass to have been chipped so deeply by natural means. Someone held them because the other sides of the stones are unmarked and still river-smooth. Also note the smooth surface of the chipped sections due to long-term burial in the sandy soil. Maroon jasper, 4 parts. 3.0"h; 204 gm.

Ice Age Moose

Ice Age Stag Moose, front view. Even today, Moose is not an animal to intimidate. Imagine coming face-to-face with the much larger Ice Age version of this animal.Ice-Age Stag Moose, side view. Long-legged and large, Ice Age Stag Moose was an animal that could feed in relatively deep water of wetlands on the tundra or in the spruce forests.107.  Stag Moose

Cervalces scotti

This extinct Ice Age animals figure is tall. The body stone is supported in the back by a "leg" stone resembling two side legs of the beast, of which the end can be seen from the front. Stack wet. As precariously as this Ice Age animals figure appears to be stacked, I have stacked it so many times, I eventually found the perfect position (shown here in photos) and it stood on my bookshelf on a bouncy floor for over a year before I decided to bag and tag it. Chestnut jasper w sparkling quartzite antlers, 4 parts. 7.0"h x 5.3"L; 1327 gm

It had a deer-like face but a moose's body and strange broad antlers that stood out straight from either side of its head. Each antler branched into irregular tines and spikes that extended in all directions - some of them backward. From the ground looking up, the antlers would appear to be on top of it head like the figurine. In Illinois, it apparently lived mostly in the northern half of the state where the figurine was recovered. Moose are large animals and nothing to mess with, even in modern times they have been known to kill people. Now imagine an Ice-Age moose much larger...

Short Face Bear

Red Cave Bear. The top predatory animal in North America, Ice Age bear stood over five feet tall at the shoulder, making it larger than the modern grizzly, brown, and polar bears of North America.31.  Red Cave Bear

  Arctodus rufus simus

This free-standing little feller was also found on the hill in the open field. It was the sixth figure we found. Red figurines must have been treasured by the clan since we have found so few of them and the ones we do find, are on the hilltop where high ranking members of the clan would have lived. Not a single red figure has been recovered in the depression that washed out in 2002. All came from the hilltop. Nostrils gathering wind of a foreign scent, this deep maroon chalcedony bear is in the act of rising to a standing posture for a better view. It's quite likely this Ice Age animal figure represents the extinct species Short-Face Bear. Maroon chalcedony, 2 parts. 3.6”h; 291 gm. Also see 32. Charging Short-Face Bear.

The extinct Short-Face Bear was larger than the modern grizzly - even larger than the polar bear. Like modern bears, it too was an omnivore and it stood 5 feet at the shoulders and 11 feet tall on its hind legs. An encounter with this giant would have been either a tale to tell, or ones last tale. Even the modern little black bear is nothing to fool with. Now imagine stumbling upon the Short-Face while picking berries! Mommy ...

Blue Bear. Bears were often the token healing spirit for ancient Native American Indian medicine men because the bear feared no creature other than its own kind.30.  Blue Bear

Ursus lividus

This snarling bruin with laid-back ears and flared nostrils has its paw and back-fur raised in offense. Its’ brown and dark-blue mottled fur places the bear in mid-spring, shortly after hibernation and probably very hungry and dangerous. The wear-polished headstone may have been a lucky charm and contained the protective spirit of the owner’s animal guide. The man who owned this figurine may have been a brave hunter. The bear’s head was lightly worked underneath by the ancient artisan to seat onto the body. The midnight blue coloration is caused by ancient life carbon in the primal mud. Chocolate and midnight-blue chalcedony, 2 parts. 5.5”h; 1317 gm       Donated to the Illinois State Museum


Walking Black Cave Bear. When standing upright, the Ice Age short-faced bear was over 11 feet tall and this animal could weigh as much as 1,800 pounds.35.  Walking Black Cave Bear

Arctodus simus

We first thought these pieces to be petrified wood, which is often times found around the recovery site. It turns out the body stone is translucent smoky metaquartzite layered with iron-rich brown quartzite, giving it the old wood grain appearance. It could possibly be petrified dinosaur poop (coprolites - which we have many samples found at site 2601). The head of this Ice Age animal figurine is made of identical material. This little cub is naturally laid out in relief on this strange material with the head resting on top. Sienna and black "Burnt wood" metaquartzite (?), 2 parts. Vertical orientation. 2.7”h; 137 gm


Ice Age Horse

Ice Horse. Pleistocene mega fauna animals represented by horse figurines suggest this to be an Ice Age Native American Indian artifact site since arrowheads found with them are from the Paleo Indian to Archaic Periods.106.  Ice Horse

Equus occidentalis

(Neck and tail may not be original or belong to this figurine)

This Ice Age animal was biologically more like the African Zebra (but without the stripes) than the modern horse, and colored more like the stones that represents it. Here, this horse happens to have multiple colors, like some modern horses have today. From above, the horse looks as it is galloping. The neck and tail stones may not be originals or belong to this Ice Age animals figurine. Cinnamon, caramel and sienna jasper, 4 parts. 4.1"h x 6.3"L; 616 gm  Not for sale - not complete. For a complete horse figurine see Spirit Animal

The Western Horse went extinct in the Americas around 10,000 years ago, but before it did, it became smaller in an effort to adapt to its changing environment. It would be another 9,500 years before American soil again felt the impact of horse hooves when Spanish explorers arrive searching for gold in 1519 AD. The River Owl could have hunted the Western Horse for its meat, probably not realizing its value for work and transportation.

Giant Beaver

Giant Beaver. Ice Age giant beaver looked generally similar to the modern beaver, but this animal was considerably larger.103.  Giant Beaver

Castoroides ohioensis


This beaver is made of caramel jasper with highly polished head (probably because it was heavily handled by its original owner and may have been a good-luck hunting charm for catching the animal). To the ancient Native American Indian, animals that could travel between the basic elements i.e. earth to water (such as frogs, turtles and beaver) were special creatures and considered sacred. Knowing that, it is little wonder this figurine was collected from the river by Ice Age Indian. 3 parts. 4.5"h; 495 gm

There is evidence giant beaver Co-existed with modern North American beaver towards the close of the last Ice Age. Its large fur pelt would have made a fine and warm coat or sleeping robe. Since the retreating ice sheet left behind hundreds of large lakes, this largest rodent that ever lived must have flourished in abundance.

Big Beaver. The cutting teeth (incisors) of the Ice Age giant beaver were up to 6 inches long.104.  Big Beaver

Castoroides ohioensis


This Ice Age animal figure is made of cinnamon jasper. To the ancient Native American Indian, animals that could travel between the basic elements i.e. earth to water (such as frogs, turtles and beaver) were special creatures and considered sacred. Knowing that, it is little wonder this figurine was collected from the river by Ice Age Indian. 3 parts. 3.4"h; 397 gm  

Some scientists believe the Giant Beaver had a rat-like tail but there is no hard evidence for this. So far we've found 5 beaver figures, 2 "regular" size and 3 "giant" size, and they all have wide tails. Narrow tails are rare with our finds - possibly because farm implements have broken them into smaller pieces. So the debate continues ...

Black Beaver. Beaver with darker coats could stay warmer in the late Ice Age. Note sparkling black hematite crystals which make up this Ice Age animal figurine.89.  Black Beaver

Castoroides ohioensis

This Giant Beaver is an unusual Ice Age animal figurine in that it is composed of hematite-rich hornblende with long black crystals of prismatic diamond-shaped cross section called spectacular hematite. They sparkle brilliantly in the sun (Note the happenstance sparkle from the camera flash where an eye would be). Shiny objects were rare in the Pleistocene and it is certain that this figure was a keepsake. There probably was black beaver back then as there are today. Even though this figure is pretty in sunlight, it was probably a seldom-used tool kit: The head would have been a good pecking tool for chipping flint; the body could be a bone or general purpose hammer; the tail a very functional knife with high-iron content. Hornblende, 3 parts. 5.1"h; 639 gm


Ice Age Camel

Wrong Way Camel, front view. Ice Age western camel had a very similar build to the living two-humped camel, but was slightly taller (standing seven feet at the shoulder) and may have lacked humps.Wrong Way Camel, side view. Ice Age western camel was more closely related to the llama than to living camels.Wrong Way Camel, rear view.

105.  Wrong Way Camel

Camelops hester

Though the neck of this Ice Age camel appears to be precariously stacked, the figurine is quite stable. Also, though I'm not completely sure this is the right neck stone, it does convey the concept of an undulating neck of the camel gait. The V-notch of the body stone accepts the neck stone almost perfectly. Possibly leg stones may be missing on this Ice Age animal figurine. Sienna jasper, 3 parts. 5.75"h; 400 gm

When one thinks of camels, one thinks of the Middle East. The American Camel went extinct about 10,000 years ago. The American Camel had only one hump and would have been a lot harder to ride than modern two-humpers.  Also, camels originated in the Americas around 45 million years ago. About 2 million years ago they migrated to Eurasia and Africa, moving in the opposite direction of the many other mammoth fauna that migrated to North America ("Hey-ya! You-a-guys-a are a-goin' the wrong-ga way-ya!").

Camel head. Although its teeth suggest a diet of grasses, plant remains extracted from its teeth show very little grass and suggests Ice Age camel was an opportunistic herbivore (eating any plants that were around) like its modern day relatives.Camel Head

Camelus Titanotylopus

(Body at-large)

 Here is another camel head we found, and judging by its size (three inches long) the body of this Ice Age animal figurine should be fairy large. It hasn't washed out yet, or may have been cast away 170 years ago when the Spoon River bottomland was first cleared for farming.


Ice Age Rhinoceros

111. Wooly Rhino w Calf

Coelodonta antiquitatis

After finding the larger rhino, I noticed the head of the baby and found its body stone, which was clipped by the ancient artist to accommodate the head perfeWooly Rhinoceros with Calf. Ice Age Wooly Rhino had a massive body and a thick shaggy coat that protected it against the harsh climate of the tundra near the great glaciers of North America.ctly. For both Ice Age rhinos, I took the liberty to code the foot/leg pebbles underneath with an indelible marker - each one carefully labeled RF for right front; LF for left front; RR for right rear; and LR for left rear. These marks can be removed with rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip. (I did this because it took me quite a while to find the right leg-stone placements to make each Ice Age animal figure level. The legs are pebbles found near our house and not the original parts) The white chert horn found with these stones reflected the flash from the camera washing out the minute pits which gives it an ancient ivory appearance to match the other stones. (The horn sits flush with the rhino's face, not behind it as the photo might suggest.) Sienna jasper w white chert horn, 13 parts; horizontal and vertical orientation. Cow: 2.5"h x 7.4"L / Calf: 1.5"h x 3.6"L total weight = 890 gm

Native rhinoceros in North America seems strange, but fossils in tar pits and remains in peat bogs have been found in the U.S. and Canada. These huge, short-tempered beasts must have been quite formidable even to the seasoned Paleo hunter. If they were like their decedents, the African rhino, they would thunder in and stamp out campfires, being the "Smoky Bears" of the wilderness. (Imagine being run up a tree and having your warmth-giving campfire put out on a frozen autumn night.)

In the following pages: Own the tools and weapons that touched these mega beasts over 11,500 years ago...



[1] After my foster mother died in June 2010, her family sold the property and the new owner will not allow anyone on his newly acquire land - including us. Fortunately he does not know the exact location of the site or that there is anything valuable there. Though we still have hundreds of pounds of stone to sort through, we will never get to hunt these figurines again...

© 2007, 2017 by Steven & Delores Hampton

Pleistocene ICE AGE megafauna ANIMALS, camel statues and MAMMOTH figurines


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