A big collection of mysterious stones and rock art

hagstones, found rocks with holes in them


We continue to get emails from readers sharing their rock art finds, and this new one is quite a collection. These pictures come to us from a reader named Shannon who lives in – and found these – in Johnson County, Missouri.

There something different about this group compared to other pictures of found stones that have been sent to us, in that most of these have round holes in them. Has anyone seen so many with holes like this? It’s hard to know whether these holes were made by a human hand, or found that way. I’m not a rock expert, but a quick Google search suggests that naturally-made holes in rocks are sometimes called “hag stones,” “holey stones,” or “witch stones,” and are believed to give people the ability to peer into a mystical or fantasy world, and are considered by cultures around the world to be a protective amulet when hung on a cord.

hagstones, found rocks with holes in them

I also see that “hagstones” (found spelled both ways: hag stones, and hagstones) have been viewed as magical across the world, but the scientific reason for the hole is that it is created when water and other elements pound on the stone, and eventually create a hole at the weakest point on the stone’s surface. This is why hagstones are often found at the beach, or in streams and rivers.

However, this explanation seems to go against what our viewer explained: she said she found them on private property in a small town in western Missouri, and in cornfields. Maybe there was water there in centuries past? It’s hard to know. Here’s a closer look at some of these hagstones.


But there’s more than just hag stones and holey stones in this collection … check out this pair! At left (below), we have what looks like some sort of standing creature, with what appears to be a distinct head, an upturned left arm, and – most amazingly – capable of having a steady upright position! And below right is something that looks pretty clearly like a face effigy, a profile facing left, with an eye socket, nose, and a small downturned or frowning mouth.

found rock art: upright animal and profile face effigy

Here’s another pair of face effigies:

face effigy stone profiles

What do you think? If you have any information or knowledge about rocks or stones like this, please share your thoughts in the comments section below. We’d like to track down some rock art experts or geologists and see if we can get some more information for our readers who send in these pictures. Also, make sure to jump ahead and read our follow-up to this post here.

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5 thoughts on “A big collection of mysterious stones and rock art

  1. I have found several pieces of rock art, spirit stones, face effigies, animal effigies … some of them story rocks. I’m new to it myself, only been collecting for a few years now. I have some that I say are totem rocks. They amaze me, and would love to know more about what I have. I live in middle Tennessee. All that I do know about them is from websites.

    1. Based on your descriptions and geographic location, there are several possible avenues of research. Rather than searching websites for similar rocks, research the primary cultures responsible for making such items and you’ll likely arrive at a definitive answer. The following groups produced such art in and around Tennessee: The Adena (Ohio River Valley 400BC-400AD), the Hopewell culture (500-1200AD, Mississippi and Ohio River regions from Michigan to Georgia and Mississippi River to the east coast), the Mississippian culture (800-1400AD, Mississippi River Valley), Ft. Ancient culture (1200- 1600AD, Ohio and Kentucky with contact to surrounding areas) and possibly the Poverty Point culture.

      My guess is Hopewell or Mississippian because of their prolific trade networks, art they produced, and overlapping regions to include central Tennessee. These groups are similar, yet with different stylistic conventions they adhered to. Both cultures built earthen mounds distinct from each other, so maybe find out who built the nearest mounds to your location and research that group first.

    1. We do not buy any stones at Artsology, we just share the stories and pictures of those who find these rock art pieces.

  2. Why not? I mean I think it would be cool to be able to buy it, sell some of the stuff that people have that’s cool and or maybe even an option to trade things as well! That would be a great addition to the website!

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