21 April 2014

A carved gomphothere tusk horse sculpture from the Arkfeld site, Clear Brook, Virginia

Arkfeld farm site, #44FK732, fossil gomphothere tusk with horse carving
length 38cm, diameter 7cm at large end, weight 2.4kg
Photos by Adam Arkfeld, Clear Brook, Virginia

Adam Arkfeld writes, "This tusk was recovered in a wet clay bed formed by runoff from limestone bedrock. The ivory has been completely mineralized. It appears that the horse was carved when the tusk was still "green." The level of carving detail would not be possible on limestone."


Close up of horse head and neck, including incised lines

Adam Arkfeld notes the Virginia carved horse head has a stylistic similarity to this horse head petroglyph image from Chauvet cave, France

These Magdalenian period carved ivory and bone figures from Europe depict bridled horses. The Virginia example may be depicting the same, including a bridle rein extending along its "neck."


The carved horse head on a gomphothere tusk is featured in the current issue of Pleistocene Coalition News along with other site information by Adam Arkfeld and Jack Hranicky, R.P.A

I propose the incised lines illustrated by the white marks on the gomphothere tusk may represent a simple bridle and rein on the horse figure. Pleistocene human control of the horse is suspected in Eurasia but not in North America. With this interpretation of this find, it may be worth considering this possibility here.


Horse head carved on ivory, Hohle Fels, Germany, ca. 30,000 years BP. (image flipped for a more direct comparison to the Arkfeld site example)

16 April 2014

One eye open, other eye shut, feline and human faces in micro-art on a pebble from the Columbia River valley

Micro-art feline face

Isolated image from the pebble of a one eye open, other eye shut or missing feline face (with tongue out) interpreted by Ken Johnston. The right eye is a small cluster of quartz crystals and the left eye contains some empty space, affecting the known one eye open art motif. Figure stone find by Dennis Boggs at Irrigon, Oregon.

Dennis Boggs find, Irrigon, Oregon

Here I interpret a human head with one eye open, other eye shut or missing representation on the same pebble. There are two nostril holes worked on this face to add the symbolic breath of life to the figure. There may a recognition or representation of the two hemispheres of the human brain on this figure.

One-eyed human and feline figures have been described from Eurasia as well as North America on this blog. Jan van Es of Roermond, The Netherlands, taught me what to look for in Paleolithic micro pebble art and this North American figure is similar to those van Es has shared from Lower and Middle Paleolithic archaeological sites he is familiar with from northern Europe.

The typical context for Mr. Boggs' finds include worked pebbles like at left and center, as well as suspected manuported exotic stones like at right. A number of stones appear worked to access quartz crystal inclusions and will be featured in a future posting here.

Left is the figure stone featured in this article. Right is another Dennis Boggs human head figure stone featured earlier on this blog. One may see the similarity in the stone working technique/technology used in the manufacture of the eye elements on both figures.

Feline figure as the stone fits most comfortably in the hand, as if the cat is reclining on outstretched front legs. The "front legs" feature is very smoothed as if worn by rubbing and accomodates the thumb perfectly when held like this.

Feline face looking out from the "cave" created by the human hand when it is held as a "rubbing stone."

African lion with tongue out like feline on the figure stone (left eye illustrated as missing)

15 April 2014

Texas flint with two facial profiles on its edges in the Acheulean tradition

Texas flint with facial profile on upper right edge identified by Bill Waters

ca. 500,000 to 100,000 B.P. Dunbridge, U.K., handaxe with human face profile on edge interpreted by Ken Johnston to compare to Texas example above it.

Eye, two nostrils and (smiling?) mouth worked into this same Texas flint (side 2) as a human head left profile, interpretation by Bill Waters, Bill Waters collection

At some point in time, North American Archaeology will have to explain and account for the existence of Lower and Middle Paleolithic "Old World" art forms being found here.

This human facial profile on the edge of this Texas handaxe from the Bill Waters collection was featured in an earlier posting on this blog. This is a known expression of the Acheulean tradition in Western Europe and has been documented by several serious amateurs there and by early art scholar James Harrod, Ph.D. at OriginsNet.org

Master flint knapper and figure stone investigator Bob Doyle of Maine created this flint with a human facial profile on it as an experiment in "replicative archaeology." Bob uses the word "carve" to describe his work on the face details. 

12 April 2014

Arkfeld site in Virginia reports portable rock art and carved ivory from a tusk of the now-extinct gomphothere in current issue of Pleistocene Coalition News

Adam Arkfeld find, near Clear Brook, Virginia, registered site #44FK732

Landowner and amateur archaeologist Adam Arkfeld with assistance of Jack Hranicky, RPA (Register of Professional Archaeologists), recently reported on this possible engraved stone among many suspected art objects from the Arkfeld farm site in Pleistocene Coalition News. The art objects described from the site include a suspected baby mammoth figure and a gomphothere tusk with what appears to be a carved horse's head as well as many other horse-like objects.

Without consideration of the possible engraved lines interpreted by Mr. Arkfeld, the overall outline shape of this stone is here interpreted as representing the profile head of a feline joined with the profile head of a bird. The joining of animals in this manner has been described by Paleolithic art author Pietro Gaietto. The feline is facing left and bird is facing right. A markup I made on the photo here illustrates how the two creatures are joined at the back of their heads.

From site #23JP1222 in Missouri in a posting April 5, 2014 on this blog, also interpreted as a feline head looking left joined with a bird head looking right. The Arkfeld site #44FK732 find may be seen as analogous to the site #23JP1222 find.

11 April 2014

Eyes and mouth make faces

Pebble with face. Jeff Vincent find, Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, in the context of other portable rock art objects

Macario Solis find, Yakima County, Washington

Numerous iconic artifacts identified by Mr. Solis from a 50 acre area. He writes "This rock appears to be a small hammer. On the stone, you can see a sun. Within the sun, you can see two eyes and a mouth. On top of the sun, you can see an image of a little girl."

Eye and mouth elements arranged within a pattern trigger primal human facial recognition capacities


09 April 2014

07 April 2014

April 4 bird form finds from Jeff Vincent at Mammoth Spring, Arkansas

Jeff Vincent found bird sculpture, April 4, 2014, Mammoth Spring, Arkansas

More stone birds from Jeff Vincent's back yard, April 4 finds

Illustration of a Paleolithic stone bird figure from M.A. Kiriyak, Early Art of the Northern Far East (Siberia)

Possible canine stone figures from Germany and Colorado

Flint tool from a north Germany collection may have been intentionally worked to remove selected patches of cortex for eyes and a nose so as to affect the visage of a canine on the tool



Side 2 of tool with possible canine decoration

Chris Schram find, Westminster, Colorado. Petrified wood object identified as a worked stone invoking canine imagery and found in a portable rock art context including other animal figures.

Chris Schram compares this photo to the stone above it

05 April 2014

French and American sculptures may depict creatures looking left split with bird head profiles looking right

Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, site #23JP1222 in Missouri.
Possible feline-like head looking left with bird head facing right
The Old Route 66 Zoo site, a portable rock art megasite

Please compare to the France example below

Acheulean or Clactonian, Mouthiers, Charente, France, photo by Pietro Gaietto
Human with prominent jaw looking left (Gaietto) and bird facing right (Johnston)

02 April 2014

A petrified wood Wood Bison, bird and human combination figure stone from Westminster, Colorado

Chris Schram find and interpretation as a Wood Bison figure, Westminster, Colorado

Chris Schram has interpreted this as a worked piece of petrified wood in a representation of the body of the Wood Bison. It was found in the context of many petrified wood portable rock art objects. While researching bison, Chris came upon the Wood Bison and noticed it had a prominent vertical hump above the shoulders and a straight, sloping, back strikingly similar to the one seen on the figure stone.



By rotating the Wood Bison image 90 degrees to right, the form may be interpreted as a bird, where the bird's beak and the bison's horn are approximately the same element on the stone (highlighted by my yellow mark up on the above photo). Thus, this may be a combination of two or more creatures on a single stone as is seen in so many other portable rock art examples on this blog.

This famous scene from the cave at Lascaux, France, shows a man with a bird head, a speared bison with its intestines drooping to the ground and a bird on what appears to be a staff. The bison, bird and human combination is likely not a coincidence and probably reflects a related symbol system between North America and Europe.

If you look carefully you may be able to see the face of a human in left 3/4 profile on the back of the bird (or belly of the bison, depending on your perspective). The human depiction on the back or tail of the bird is a motif seen on this blog so this object fits (and reinforces the validity of) a defined scheme.

31 March 2014

Human "creative explosion" occurred on the order of hundreds, not tens, of thousands of years ago and probably along with the emergence of the genus Homo (J. Feliks)

Homo erectus image on an Acheulean scraper interpreted by Ken Johnston

This Acheulean scraper I noticed in a French Paleolithic tools collection (Calvados, Normandy, West of Paris Basin, est. 550,000 to 300,000 years BP) must be considered for a possible early human facial profile in retouch work on the flint made on a "head-with-neck" shaped stone.

As rock art scholars Robert Bednarik, John Feliks and James Harrod have demonstrated, collecting and creating rock material with meaningful visual properties was well under way by hominins hundreds of thousands of years ago. The capacity for symbol, language, ideological constructs and religion may be observed from nearly two million years ago. The concept of a "human cognitive and creative explosion" around 35,000 years ago is now fully refuted by archaeological evidence presented by these gentlemen. It is time for archaeologists, museums and collectors to re-evaluate even their oldest lithic samples for iconic properties like seen in this example.



What may appear to be "an ordinary tool" may reveal more information to archaeologists when they consider the possibilities of artistic visual properties which have been forsaken to date.