An Elongated Slate Long Neck Birdstone, From the Collection of Jan Sorgenfrei

Glacial Kame Culture, Late Archaic Period, 3000-500 B.C.
Whitley County, Indiana
length 6.125 in.

Made from a green, lightly banded slate with a splotch of tan on the lower right side of body, and with a smaller tan area on left.  A beautiful, slightly expanding fantail, and a long neck with proportioned head, create a sense of grace, elegance, and dignity that is a pleasure to behold.

For various reasons, many birdstones acquire a name or nickname that distinguishes them from all others.  This birdstone has come to be known as the “Shilts Bird” and is one of the finest birdstones in the Sorgenfrei collection.  It was named after John H. Shilts of Columbia City, Indiana.  Shilts, born in 1862, was a pioneer northeast Indiana collector and accumulated a large and fine artifact collection.  Charles C. Smith acquired this birdstone, and about one third of the entire Shilts collection in 1944.  A large portion of the Smith collection was dispersed in 1983 but the Shilts bird continued to be lovingly curated by Charles C. Smith until his death in 1995. 

Ohio Archaeologist, Vol. 1, no. 3, 1951, pg. 32
Birdstones of the North American Indian, Townsend, Earl C., 1959, pg. 403-B
Prehistoric American, Vol. 29, No. 3, 1995, pg. 6
Ohio Archaeologist, Vol. 49, No. 1, 1999, Front cover
Prehistoric American, Vol. 43, No. 4, 2009, (Birdstone Special Issue), pg. 81 (center)
Legends of Prehistoric Art, Vol. 2, Onken, 2011, pg 539

Collection History:
J. H. Shilts, Columbia City, Indiana
Charles C. Smith, Modoc, Indiana (Cat. No. 12)
Richard Sisson, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Jan Sorgenfrei, Findlay, Ohio

Provenance:From the Collection of Jan Sorgenfrei, Findlay, Ohio


The condition is virtually flawless.  Earl Townsend describes the Shilts specimen in his birdstone book as being "exceptionally fine".  The Shilts bird will become a highlight in any collection.

Estimate: $12,000 - $18,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


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