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Archaeology/Native American clay marble or something else?


I found an unusual small stone sphere a few years ago in the gravel parking lot in Lakewood, New Jersey which very much resembles a photograph I saw recently from the British Museum of an ancient Roman (toy?) marble. Seeing that photograph piqued my interest in finding out what mine is.  The sphere I found seems to be stone but does not appear to be naturally formed.  It has a perceptible "girdle" around its middle.  (I would be happy to send you a photo.)  It is the color of concrete and measures 2.75" in circumference.  It may be a Native American or early American clay marble.  Since I've never held a genuine clay marble, I don't know whether they are as heavy and solid as stone as this one is.   I was wondering if you might be able to tell me what it is?  

Thank you for your time.
Lucinda Lewis
New York City

Dear Lucinda
Your best bet with this is to bring it to one of the archaeologists at either the Museum of the American Indian (down by Battery Park) or the American Museum of Natural History.
Nature can produce spherical objects, but any good archaeologist ought to be able to assist you.
(I am leaving shortly for sabbatical, and will have no email for prolonged periods.)
John Shea


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John J. Shea


Questions about Old World prehistoric archaeology (mainly Europe, Near East, and Africa during the Paleolithic period/Pleistocene Epoch). IMPORTANT: I do not give advice about colleges. I do not appraise the value of artifacts or fossils. IMPORTANT: Between February 14 and September 01, 2014, I will be on sabbatical leave. During this time I will have limited access to email. This means that there may be very long periods (i.e., weeks) between your posting a question and my having time to answer it.


University professor of anthropology/archaeology since 1991. Dozens of publications in peer-review anthropology journals. Director of archaeological-paleontological expeditions and excavations in Israel, Jordan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Kenya. See my main profile under Allexperts` "Anthropology" section. Professional website: Personal website:

>20 years as faculty at major research university

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