Modified pebbles as "medicine stones:" a cast study from the American Bottom

Brad H. Koldehoff, Julie A. Bukowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two modified pebbles were recently discovered at a late prehistoric mortuary site in the American Bottom. The pebbles were found in association with human remains and are minimally modified, suggesting that they are not utilitarian or decorative items, but are possible curative aids or so-called medicine stones. In ancient and non-Western societies, pebbles and crystals were often used in a variety of both public and private healing ceremonies conducted by medicine men or shamans. Frequently overlooked and unreported by archaeologists, pebbles deserve closer attention, especially when found in a mortuary context. This article highlights the importance of pebbles in archaeological contexts and discusses the possibility that modified pebbles recovered from prehistoric sites in the American Bottom represent medicine stones used in healing rituals.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690--704
JournalIllinois Archaeology: Journal of the Illinois Archaeology Survey
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


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