12 October 2015

U.K. Neanderthal flint core-tool likely also a sculpted bird figure

 From an old U.K. collection. Size 11cm x 4cm

"An elongated Levallois core. Numerous alternating Levallois removals along length of core, creating a single continuous edge. Some signs of use along one lateral edge, so may have been used as a scraper at the end of its use as a core."

Photo by Finlayson Nature Photography. "Alpine Choughs feature regularly in Neanderthal sites, where they are the most frequent corvid."

The bird likeness here would not have been lost on our Neanderthal cousins and was likely a fully intended outcome of the stone work. 

Opposite side is not worked but also has a bird shape with beak protrusion

Two Ohio flint bird form tools featured earlier on this blog

I have identified a number of flint bird forms, some used as tools, at Flint Ridge in east central Ohio. Is it possible there is a relationship between the 'Old 'World' and 'New World' flint working traditions?

11 October 2015

Two stone heads from Washington

'Two stone heads'

Andy Draine finds, Washington, photo received courtesy of Jan van Es. Finding one might imply a natural coincidence. Finding two of similar size and the same lithic material implies the potential for identification of a localized pattern.

09 October 2015

Natural rocks with slight modifications become a figure stone and a hand axe

'Animal head (undertermined, perhaps wolf, bear or mountain lion) (3 cm)
Chris Blumenstock finds, Valley Forge, Tennessee

The eye and mouth of the animal head are areas where careful scientific examination is likely to confirm artifact status of this stone. The ear area may have also been humanly modified.

Stone with removal to sharpen the right edge seen here. This hand axe has an affinity with 'Old World' cordiform Acheulean hand axes.

'Phi in the Acheulian' by John Feliks shows how the one million year tradition of Acheulean hand axes implies the expression of the Golden Ratio driven by a human aesthetic which dates to the dawn of humanity and up to our present time. (My units for the calculation were derived by measuring the image as displayed on my computer screen in centimeters. This does not reflect the actual size of the artifact.)

08 October 2015

A micro art human-animal polymorph on a flint core from the Middle Acheulean

Jan van Es find, Boukoul, Netherlands (3.8 cm width)

"The image is the underside of a stone core, but there are more images on this core. The Middle Acheul= 180.000-250.000 BP. All the images come from the same stone core." -Jan van Es


05 October 2015

Second amateur archaeologist reports iconic finds along with tools in the Doe River valley, Carter County, Tennessee

Chris Blumenstock find, Valley Forge, Tennessee
Thought you might like to see these rocks from the Doe River Valley of Carter County Tennessee. I was searching and trying to find out more about them when I found your site. You had several objects from Sherry Hill in Rittertown which is a couple miles upriver from me, here in Valley Forge. The stuff I find is similar. I interpret many of these as being turtle heads. I have humans, bears, birds etc. but more "shouting turtle heads" than anything. There must have been many people living in this valley over the years based on the stuff they left behind...  I think some of them were for entertainment, like stone age TV. I've had a lot of time to study these, been finding them for years. Some of them are remarkable feats of workmanship. -Chris Blumenstock

Human head in left 3/4 profile on a pebble identified by Chris. The face details have faded over thousands of years but are still detectable to careful observers like Chris. Nose, mouth, chin, eye, eyebrow and hairline may have been elements of this human portrayal.

The "knife", upper left in the flint photo, looks like a snapping turtle head profile on the right edge and a hominid face profile on the left edge. -Chris

Chris identified this as a possible human-bird combination but I can identify this piece as demonstrating a Paleolithic stone sculpture motif of a combination of a human head profile looking left split with an animal (bovine, likely a woodland musk ox) head in right profile. This 'joining of heads' motif is seen in many examples on this blog and has been described by Paleolithic sculpture researcher Pietro Gaietto of Italy.

Human head facing left, animal head facing right

Ken Johnston illustration of the human head facing left and the animal head facing right. The animal's eye and mouth area are highlighted. This is consistent with Chris's observation about a knife in a photo above: The "knife", upper left in the flint photo, looks like a snapping turtle head profile on the right edge and a hominid face profile on the left edge.

Frame illustrating a Doe River Valley pattern of notched pebbles described by Chris as 'shouting turtle heads.' These forms have also been identified by some other amateur archaeologists in North American portable rock art contexts.

Map showing the Valley Forge, Tennessee find location

 Valley Forge, Tennessee, photo by Chris Blumenstock

29 September 2015

'Talking to the mammoth' Texas worked flint includes human face image in artistic left 3/4 profile

'Human head in left 3/4 profile on a flint'
David Boies find, Westlake, Texas

Isolated human face worked in the flint while retaining and exploiting the stone's cortex as hair and eyes background. This human portrayal has hair, a forehead, two eyes, a nose, lips, chin, cheeks and ear with ear lobe.

Note the flint work to create a full set of lips on the face portrayal. Just to the right of the lips in the photo are two roughly parallel incised lines in the flint. These are remnants of the scores etched into the flint by the artist to set up the fracture lines in the stone for the two lips.

David Boies has identified many similar portable rock art pieces in the Austin area and some have been featured on this blog.

When the stone with the face figure is rotated 180 degrees it has a shape close to some stylized mammoth icons in portable rock art. Human and mammoth icons are sometimes combined as is likely the case here.

Illustration of mammoth bust in left profile which may have been more clear many thousands of years ago.

The human's 'ear lobe' is the 'eye' of the mammoth and the 'lips' of the human are the 'ear' of the mammoth.

Perhaps the human is symbolically talking to or calling to the mammoth in this piece.

27 September 2015

Italian rock art researcher identifies another figure stone at Piacenza

Luigi Chiapparoli find, Piacenza, Italy

Luigi Chiapparoli illustration of a face and a hand worked into the rough stone. "In this stone I see a musician" he commented.

Close up of the carved face looking left with a circle around another face I saw on the primary figure's forehead.

There may be a few other faces depicted on this stone.

17 September 2015

A cult of silent nighttime hunters? Beak on recent bird sculpture find lends support to earlier hypothesis of 'Clovis spear points as owl-symbolic'

Recently discovered owl sculpture with two other birds depicted on its face as featured earlier this month.

In prior years on this blog I identified two Ohio spear point artifacts which are possibly from the "pre-Clovis era" (before about 13,500 years ago) and which may indicate attempts to make the points symbolic icons of the owl.

Illustration of interpreted owl eye and beak features on the Licking County, Ohio, owl sculpture and a close up of the 'hooked owl beak with two nostrils'

Recently I discovered and identified a second flint and quartz crystal owl sculpture from Licking County, Ohio, which has a beak depiction on the bird which is strikingly similar to what I suspected was a beak depiction on one of the owl-iconic spear points. This post introduces this comparison.

Coschocton County spear point made of Coschocton flint found by Dr. Robert Curry near Wakatomika Creek on his farm near Dresden, Ohio, and acquired by Ken Johnston. Described as a "Cactus Hill" type after study by Dr. James Adovasio of Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute. It is likely pre-Clovis and has two similar and symmetrical divots in the flint in the anatomically correct position for 'owl eyes.' Featured earlier on this blog.

Licking County, Ohio, broken spear point base typed by me as "pre-Clovis" because of the basal concavity, large flake removal and its thinness. It resembles some Spanish Solutrean bases I have seen. The base is centered on what I have interpreted as a 'beak' on the face of the owl form.

The beak may be a natural imperfection in the flint or it may have been etched into the flint. The feature seems to demonstrate starts and stops as would be seen with human carving. There is another 'beak' on the opposite side of this piece which was featured earlier on this blog. This side seems to depict a hooked beak.

Spear point 'owl beak' compared to sculpture 'owl beak.' Their similar shape and execution on the flint leads me to conclude this could be an artistic convention to create the owl beak anatomical feature which may likely be found on other owl-iconic artifacts in my local area and perhaps beyond.

I think the new find supports my earlier hypothesis that Clovis points are "owl-symbolic" where the fluted channel came to represent the more explicit 'eyes' and 'beaks' which may have been made on pre-Clovis spear points. The removal of the channel flake may have been a quicker way to produce the owl without having to take so much time for more time involved eye and beak details.

Even if the flute channel is not related to the owl symbolism the basal tangs on Clovis points remain as symbolic of the ears of an owl. This may have been done to bring the magic power of the owls' hunting prowess, evidenced by night vision and silent flight capabilities, to the human hunt.

Dr. Bruce Bradley of the University of Exeter has described the relatively fast emerging and short life of Clovis tool kits as a possible cult-like response to the need for an urgent change in established life-ways. One may speculate that the reduction of available megafauna at the terminal Pleisistocene may have triggered the need for a more focused and fully expressed ritualistic symbol-driven hunting system.

If large animal protein, bone and ivory were less available as scavenged items, hunting and the use of spear points may have emerged to continue to maintain elements of the big animal culture. Maybe the 'owl' icon was seen as a way to improve their odds.
According to the BBC series "Planet Earth", elephant night vision is "not much better than our own." This puts elephants at a notable disadvantage when there are hungry predators around, as demonstrated in the series, when a pride of around 30 lions takes down a medium-sized elephant which has difficulty seeing them once it gets separated from its herd.
Two Paleolithic spear points from Benton County, Tennessee, Ernest Sims Collection.

As of now the "Clovis spear points as owl-symbolic" hypothesis may be weak with just a few examples but by posting my observations here maybe someone in the future who has made similar observations will have a reference.