This 30cm piece was partially exposed in a near vertical eroded bank along a minor waterway at Location 1. It was located approximately six feet below the top of the bank and one foot above the dry creek bed behind dangling tree roots. It has been examined by the Geology Department at Georgia State University and preliminarily determined to be fashioned from Lizardite. It shows signs of antiquity and possible exposure to fire. There is an approximate 1/4" section of an unknown type of stranded material secured by dirt to one of the perforations and various small areas of unknown accretions scattered on the surface. Efforts are underway to determine if the source of the Lizardite can be determined and also have surface accretions analyzed.
Preliminary opinions on the form and motifs have been identified as first appearing in the Chengdu plain of the Sichuan basin in Southwestern China. The distinctive eye cartouches and pronounced eyes found on the Taotie(?) faces on the cross guard and those on the "head" on the handle, are stylistic duplicates of those first appearing with the Sanxingdui culture (1750-1200 BCE). This eye motif along with diagnostic Sanxingdui "wing" shaped eyebrows can also be seen on a face appearing on another piece also found at Location 1. These motifs persisted in successive cultures making culture specific identification difficult, if not impossible at this writing. It is hoped our recent working relationship with an iconography specialist in China will produce more definitive information. It should be noted that at this time, we are not aware of a similar eye motif in North America art. The eyebrow motif, pronounced eyes, volute shape fangs and diagonal cross-hatching of the character on the cross guard, are stylistic equivalents to some depictions of the Mesoamerican rain deity. The similarities of Olmec art and other cultural attributes to ancient China has long been a subject of scholarly debate.
After consuulting with two specialists, it was their opinion that the soil is not in situ and that OSL test results would be inconclusive. Given the costs and time associated with this procedure, it was decided not to pursue this test. Fortunately we have another option that may prove productive.