Possible PNW basalt Gaming Ball?

USNFLYR

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It is the rainy season where I live. That means I often go to my rock garden and (re) check river bed finds. Very rarely will I find Native American artifacts. More often, I find stones that look cool, and deserve a nesting place in my garden. My exploration takes place on non tribal land, within creek/river beds in SW Washington. This "ball" is 13 1/4 (circumference). It is Aprox 4"X4” (HXW). I believe that the stone tumbled in the river, but it is almost a perfect ball. I rotated the ball. There is areas of chunks missing and one flattened area (maybe the stone sat on that surface over many years?). I recently read of Gaming Balls. I do not know if the tribes near me used Gaming Balls, and I do not know what the size or type of stone that ball would be.

Any help to rule out the artifact theory would be helpful (again). This forum has always had patience is guiding (and educating) me!

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joshuaream

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It looks man-made to me, I can't recall that material naturally wearing into spheres.

East of the Rockies game pieces do tend to be non-porous materials, but Cog Stones and other discoidal shaped pieces from California and Mexico are often made from that bubbly material. (You can Google Cog Stones and see pictures of them.)

Literally the other corner of the US, but down here in Miami, Florida and the Keys one of the very few types of stone relics that have been found are small heads of coral shaped into balls. They are thought to be an extension of the ball game found in the Caribbean.
 

Pointblank

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I agree with Joshua that it was originally shaped by Man but could have been rolling in the creek over the years. I don't think its Basalt and I also don't think Pumice unless its very light. Pumice is very soft and can typically float. It looks like another kind of volcanic rock that I see a lot of down south of you in the Great Basin. Not sure what the name is but it is very hard, is porous and fairly heavy. I've seen manos and pestles made frpm that type of material.
 

southfork

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I find volcanic rock in spheres on occasion out in the great basin. And frequently here in N California where glacial action has piled rock into moraines. I have Manos and pestles made from volcanics.
 
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USNFLYR

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I agree with Joshua that it was originally shaped by Man but could have been rolling in the creek over the years. I don't think its Basalt and I also don't think Pumice unless its very light. Pumice is very soft and can typically float. It looks like another kind of volcanic rock that I see a lot of down south of you in the Great Basin. Not sure what the name is but it is very hard, is porous and fairly heavy. I've seen manos and pestles made frpm that type of material.
Thanks Pointblank. I live downstream from Mt St Helens, so it makes sense that some sort of volcanic stone drained down. It is a near perfect sphere, so I keep researching.
 
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USNFLYR

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It looks man-made to me, I can't recall that material naturally wearing into spheres.

East of the Rockies game pieces do tend to be non-porous materials, but Cog Stones and other discoidal shaped pieces from California and Mexico are often made from that bubbly material. (You can Google Cog Stones and see pictures of them.)

Literally the other corner of the US, but down here in Miami, Florida and the Keys one of the very few types of stone relics that have been found are small heads of coral shaped into balls. They are thought to be an extension of the ball game found in the Caribbean.
Thanks Joshua. Cog stones do have some of the porous features.
 
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USNFLYR

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I think most are tools not gaming balls
Wow, what a nice collection! My take away after viewing the photos, is that while walking creek beds and sand bars I should keep my eyes out for any stones with unique shapes or grooves. Maybe my ball was used as a tool, and then became weathered and broken down?
 

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I find chert balls that were used for knapping. Many will have a rind of cortex on them for grip in pressure or edge work.
Nice addition to your collection.
 
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USNFLYR

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It is the rainy season where I live. That means I often go to my rock garden and (re) check river bed finds. Very rarely will I find Native American artifacts. More often, I find stones that look cool, and deserve a nesting place in my garden. My exploration takes place on non tribal land, within creek/river beds in SW Washington. This "ball" is 13 1/4 (circumference). It is Aprox 4"X4” (HXW). I believe that the stone tumbled in the river, but it is almost a perfect ball. I rotated the ball. There is areas of chunks missing and one flattened area (maybe the stone sat on that surface over many years?). I recently read of Gaming Balls. I do not know if the tribes near me used Gaming Balls, and I do not know what the size or type of stone that ball would be.

Any help to rule out the artifact theory would be helpful (again). This forum has always had patience is guiding (and educating) me!

View attachment 2026334 View attachment 2026335 View attachment 2026336 View attachment 2026337
I did some research on how nature can create round balls. Interesting article about potholes, and rocks that get trapped in swirling eddies inside the potholes. See below and click on "potholes"

 

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I did some research on how nature can create round balls. Interesting article about potholes, and rocks that get trapped in swirling eddies inside the potholes. See below and click on "potholes"

Happens in the creeks and streams a lot.
 

dougachim

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Wow, what a nice collection! My take away after viewing the photos, is that while walking creek beds and sand bars I should keep my eyes out for any stones with unique shapes or grooves. Maybe my ball was used as a tool, and then became weathered and broken down?
not very many running creeks in the desert where I live
 

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