26 November 2015

Arkfeld Site mom's garden produces three bird sculptures

'Bird in left profile'

Adam Arkfeld find in his mother's garden on the Arkfeld farm property at Clear Brook, Virginia. The bird head is at left and tail and tail feathering are at far right. Sculpture on limestone plaques like this is common in portable rock art but still unrecognized by American archaeology. The shape of the stone's profile has been trimmed and the surface sculpted.

Adam's mother does not discriminate against Stone Age bird figures but rather finds them just as suitable as a modern ceramic bird figure for display under her table lamp.

19 November 2015

Hudson, Florida, resident finds iconic material including quartz crystal studded mammoth figure with smiling human face on its back facing skyward

'Smiling human face on back of crystal-studded mammoth figure'
Teresa Stamey find, Hudson, Florida, 3cm
"I literally thought I was going crazy when I started finding all these different stones that look like one or more animals, fish humans etc.. The first one was one that looked like your posting 'Pissy Birds'. I found a site Collectors Weekly and put it on. No comments except they liked it which didn't tell me anything. Then I found your site after so many searches. I knew I wasn't crazy then. Since finding the first rock I have found way over a hundred. I have fish, fish heads, bears, camel heads, gator heads, wolves  etc.. I'm sending pics to see what you think. I really appreciate you looking at the pictures and any information or advice you can give would greatly be appreciated. Maybe I can get my husband to quit calling me the rock lady. By the way we live in Hudson, Florida. Thank You so much for your time." -Teresa Stamey
The Ice Age artist was likely attracted to the crystals on this stone. The natural shape of the stone also presented a mammoth body shape including a 'trunk.' A human face was manufactured on the back of the mammoth to complete this previously described motif. The human and the mammoth share the same forehead as is seen in other North American examples including the posting just prior to this one.

When the human face imagery is rotated 90 degrees right, a mammoth figure facing right may be seen. I have circled its approximate eye. In this consideration, the mammoth may be seen with the human face on its back facing skyward. This motif was also seen just two postings ago.

Face on the stone compared to a reconstructed model of how a Neanderthal may have looked.

15 November 2015

38 pound rock collected by artifact hunter exhibits classic mammoth form, has a ground mammoth 'eye,' felines on its back and on its side

'Mammoth and feline combination sculpture' interpretation by Ken Johnston

Rock collected by Anonymous near Saddle Mountain, Oregon. The stone material is identified as 'agatized peat bog'

Illustration of a ground mammoth 'eye' in correct anatomical position (highlighted by yellow circle) with feline on the mammoth's back, looking in the opposite direction.

If one considers a body attached to the head of the feline, the mammoth's head dome becomes the raised haunches of the feline, perhaps in the lumbar lordosis position of a cat in estrus. The feline's 'tail' is also the 'trunk' of the mammoth.

There appears to be a feline depicted in a carve-out on the side of the mammoth and under the belly of the larger cat, perhaps showing this smaller feline as a newborn or 'in the womb.' Its head is surrounded by the stone coloration of red and deep purple. The head has ears, eyes, nose, mouth, chin. Its back is arched in typical feline fashion.

I propose two additional figures nested within the others. In the larger circle is another feline face with a triangular shaped eye and a round eye. Portable rock art researcher Jan van Es of Roermond, Netherlands, has written about the significance of the pairing of these two geometric shapes (personal communication). The nose of the feline face is in darker stone and I have highlighted the mouth in red just below it. Perhaps this is the male feline of a family of three.

In the smaller circle is a human head or face mask. The forehead of the human coincides perfectly with the crest of the mammoth's head, which is a North American paleoart motif documented several times on this blog. It implies a strong human association with this giant animal.

Click on and toggle between the photos to compare the illustrated and non-illustrated versions.

13 November 2015

A lion head with fluted whiskers, a mammoth figure with a human face profile on its back and a decorated hand axe in the Acheulean tradition from Dallas County, Texas

'Lion head with fluted whiskers'
Tony Holmes finds, hilltop site on his property in Dallas County, Texas

Tony writes "Note eyes nose and lips on right side.  Another eyes nose and lips lower right.  By turning stone 90 degrees to left, you then have what appears to be an elephant trunk down the left side."

Photo rotated 90 degrees. Ken Johnston illustration of mammoth figure facing left with human facial profile on its back. Tony Holmes's independent observations here of the human and elephant imagery are similar to those seen in several other examples on this blog.

"Note the face 2/3 of the way up the left side looking out to the left.  There are multiple faces on either side of this stone." (7.5 x 5.25 inches)

Tony has identified human face figurations on this handaxe which is a documented art motif of the Old World Acheulean tradition (James Harrod, originsnet.org). The patination on this tool implies a very old age.

Can you see a skull-like face 'mask' in the lower right of the hand axe?

Side 2 of the Tony Holmes hand axe with his illustration of one the faces on the edge.

10 November 2015

Two companion Tennessee stone faces, one with a mouth full of 'teeth'

Jason Lamont finds, Hardin County, Tennessee, along the Tennessee River

Side 2

Box highlights lips and mouth full of teeth. This very same kind of 'tooth detail' is also seen on sculptures from The Old Route 66 Zoo in Missouri and helps confirm this, and likely the companion find, are manufactured stone faces produced within a Stone Age cultural framework.

The darker companion stone exhibits an exaggerated and elongated chin as is again seen on examples from the Missouri site which implies a Stone Age cultural connection between these sites, separated by 375 miles.

Teeth and lips detail

Profile view of both figures

03 November 2015

Exotic stone uncovered by archaeologists on Jersey

A brief visualisation of an exotic stone found at a 15,000-year-old hunter-gatherer settlement in Jersey. The site, Les Varines, offers great views over landscapes now drowned by the English Channel. It is located in the Jersey parish of St Saviour and has produced over 5,000 scattered stone artefacts during the past five years of excavation, but in the summer of 2015 the team unearthed denser concentrations of tools and burnt bone and, for the first time, fragments of engraved stone. These are currently under study in an attempt to unravel the significance of these unique finds.

Experts are closely examining three exotic stones found in a trench corner during the latest excavations in the five-year project, believed to represent “sophisticated” stone age technology or works of art.
“Incised stones can be common on Magdalenian camps. Many are known from sites in the Germany and the south of France, where they are often seen to have a magical or religious use," says Dr Conneller.
“They show clear incised lines consistent with being made by stone stools, and they do not have any obvious functional role. Engraved works of abstract or figurative art on flat stones are part of the Magdalenian cultural package. One exciting possibility is that this is what we have here.”

01 November 2015

Face likeness on a boulder from the now lost, Lost Valley, Pennsylvania, archaeological site

Lost Valley archaeological site, #36CU0190, finds by Gary Yannone, et. al near Carlisle, Pennsylvania

The Lost Valley Site has been lost to a real estate owner change. The site survey archaeologists have lost access to the site and only their preliminary observations have been recorded. The site was producing some very interesting visual objects including this boulder with a human face likeness.

24 October 2015

Transylvania, Romania, figure stone invokes similar human nose artistic convention as seen earlier on a figure stone from Sri Lanka

Laura Ionescu find, mountains of Transylvania, Romania

Laura's find presented here is a single find outside of any known archaeological context. A stone like this is often very difficult to assess as a potential human artifact.

In this case, we are presented with an important clue which makes this isolated find a likely object of human attention in the Stone Age. There are two equal length incised lines which terminate at a point to create an upside-down "V" shape and it is placed in an anatomically correct position for a nose on the human face likeness on the stone. There also appears to be another incised line serving as a 'dimple' on the person's chin.
Hello Mr Ken Johnston. I am glad that stone that I have sent is of interest to you.This is the place where I found the stone: Turda Gorge (Cheile Turzii in Romanian) is a natural reserve (on Hășdate River) situated 6 km west of Turda and about 15 km south-east of Cluj-Napoca, in Transylvania, Romania.The Turda Gorges represent a complex geological, flora, fauna, archaeological area. Traces of human presence indicates Turzii in these caves since the Middle Paleolithic, Neolithic and culture belonging Cotofeni.Thanks. -Laura Ionescu
Illustration of the 'nose' on the Transylvania human head figure stone

Kavinda Dharmisiri's zoomorphic and anthropomorphic yellow sapphire stone, Colombo, Sri Lanka, featured in an earlier posting on this blog. The nose on the Sri Lanka figure is also made of two equal length incised lines terminating at a common point.

The find locations for the Romanian and Sri Lankan figure stones are about 4,200 miles apart. This may indicate a broad area of cultural influence which played a role in how humans marked stones to recognize or complete their human head likeness.

I have suspected the common artificial application of nose and nostril details on many figure stones seen on this blog may have been a way for Stone Age peoples to add a symbolic 'breath of life' to the rocks.

Romania and Sri Lanka figure stones with similar expression of human noses

22 October 2015

'Human face looking left' and a second face may be presenting two human chin types, from the site at Grand Pressigny, France

'Human face looking left'
From the site at Grand Pressigny, France, private collection
Photos by Henri Valentie

Side 2

Quasi-anthropomorphic face in right 3/4 profile. This face seems to present a prominent chin including a dimple. The one at top seems to be depicting a recessive chin on the person. I think the 'chin types' of recessive and prominent are a primary subject matter in this sculpture. Sculptures like this may be depicting the coexistence of two human types (neanderthaloid and sapienoid) with very different facial features.

Neanderthal and sapiens skulls for chin comparison

Side 3

Another view the stone presents a human-like figure standing and looking to the left. Photos submitted thanks to Henri Valentie.

17 October 2015

Avian mega sculpture from Clear Brook, Virginia, depicts a flying water bird and another bird on its opposite side

'Flying water bird (goose)'
Adam Arkfeld find, near Arkfeld Site, Clear Brook, Virginia

The head of the goose is at left, tail at right, and it is depicted as touching the ground or water as if in take-off or landing formation. Adam Arkfeld notes a mammoth head and likeness when this photo is rotated 45 degrees left.

'Raptor' interpreted by Adam Arkfeld on the opposite side of the goose view. Possible vulture, or scavenger?

The flying water bird appears prominently in portable rock art. Their high fat content makes them a nutritious food item for human foragers.

I was reminded of the predator-prey relationship between raptors and water birds by my next door neighbor who witnessed an American Bald Eagle take a Canada Goose on the lake shore near our homes this summer. There was a significant fight involved. It is possible this avian mega sculpture features the pairing of these two bird types in recognition of this relationship.

'Flying goose' is 5 feet wide

 'Flying goose' sculpture from south east Asia. Tira Vanichtheeranont collection, Bangkok, Thailand.

The Virginia and Asian flying water bird sculptures are significant because they both include a ground, or water, which serves as a base upon which to present the bird. The bases and the birds are the same piece of stone in both cases. There is a remarkable similarity in the 'tails' of the birds found a "world apart."

16 October 2015

Natural History Museum of Utah portable rock art objects illustrate mainstream archaeology's tendency to look for petroglyphs and bypass the entire category of sculpture

Natural History Museum of Utah portable rock art objects illustrate mainstream archaeology's tendency to look for petroglyphs and bypass the entire category of sculpture

Portable rock art, ca. AD 455
Painted stone
Archaic; Cowboy Cave, Utah
U of U Expedition 1975
42WN420 FS51500.1

Portable rock art, date unknown
Incised stone
Archaic; Hogup Cave, Utah
U of U Expedition 1968
42BO36 FS611.16

15 October 2015

A janiform stone figure from Missouri

'Two faces looking opposite directions'
Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, Jasper County, Missouri

Illustration of the defined features of eyes, mouths and chins of the two faces. Found in a context of many similarly ambiguous zoonthropomorphic figures at The Old Route 66 Zoo Site #23JP1222. Dodd hypothesizes some could have been used as puppet-like props for storytelling.

A statue representing Janus Bifrons in the Vatican Museums

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?