Some time ago, and during a period of many years, a few archaeologists and various amateur collectors retrieved a number of oblong stone artifacts from the area around and including the Great Sand Dunes National Park in south-central Colorado. Eventually, many of the stones were given to the museum at Great Sand Dunes National Park where they remain stored today. [Photo of Great Sand Dunes artifacts via Archaeology Podcast Network.]
Dr. Martorano tested the Great Sand Dunes stones and determined that not only were they lithophones, but they were so precisely fashioned that each stone has a pair of dead spots so that the stones can be held with the fingers or suspended from a cord while they are played. [Both photos via Colorado Public Radio. Far right photo shows Dr. Martorano (L) and musician Andrea Martorano (R) via Colorado Public Radio.]
One of the Great Sand Dunes lithophones was dated to 5,000 years old, but archaeologists cannot determine the ages of the rest and there is no evidence to indicate who made them. In late 2018, Dr. Martorano added, “...Where did they get the rock to make these? And how old are they? We really don’t know a lot about that because many of these were picked up by collectors.”
Once again, people: for the sake of all of us having the chance to learn much more about our collective past, if you come across an artifact like this or of any other kind, leave it where it is and let scientists study them as-is.