20 October 2016

Rockport, Arkansas, portable rock art site on the old family farm

'Bird in flight' figure stone
 Patrick Wilson and family finds, The Stone Wall Site

Rockport, Hot Spring county, Arkansas. Near the Ouachita River, a Mississippi River tributary.

'Mammoth body and human head facing left'

This is a 'mammoth and human' combination sculpture exhibiting two motifs already described on this blog. First, this view may be seen as a human head and face looking left, with a mammoth form cresting its forehead and where the mammoth 'trunk' and the human's 'nose' are the same element in the stone. It is like the mammoth's 'head bump' and its arched back and posterior are the human's 'hairdo.' 

Blue line illustrating mammoth form combined with the human head with their 'eyes' circled. The mammoth shares it's 'trunk' with the human's 'nose' which is seen in many other examples. The human's eye has been created using a Paleolithic rock art convention of jamming a manufactured square pebble into a crevice of a stone to define and give depth to an 'eye,' or to add 'teeth' to a 'mouth' etc.

Drawing Copyright (c) 2015 Bradley Lepper, Ohio History Connection.  Lepper has traced a European cave art depiction of a figure with both human and mammoth qualities. This same fundamental combination (mammoth and human sharing forehead) is seen in this Rockport, Arkansas, sculpture example. 

The second significant common motif exhibited by this sculpture may be seen when the sculpture is reversed. A human head looking left may be seen here, where the human's face is also the 'posterior' of the mammoth figure.

Mammoth in profile facing left with rear legs defined

A human-like image faintly visible on this stone looks like a human bust with shoulder and arm in left 3/4 profile. The human's 'head' is in the upper right part of the stone. I placed the interpreted human face in a box. Images like this may be many thousands of years old and sometimes they look like hauntingly faded photographs on stone.

Close up of human face image which was made by an artist selectively altering the rock's surface to create eyes, nose and mouth

Human face in retouch work looking left on a large flint

'Sleeping duck stone figure with head turned onto its back'

Illustration of duck's 'bill' and worked fully circular 'eye' in a Paleolithic art convention and in correct anatomical placement.

A sleeping duck in nature

A sitting anthropomorphic figure (troll-like) looking right with arm raised to its mouth area.

Bird head with eye

Bottom of underside of the bird head (by the floor here) has a human head with worked eyes, nose and mouth. Pietro Gaietto of Italy has described this motif in Paleolithic sculptural art there and it is seen in other United States examples.

Assorted finds from the site by Patrick Wilson and family, Rockport, Arkansas, indicate the presence of Stone Age humans curating and concentrating stones which resemble humans.

Novaculite outcrops throughout the area have attracted humans for millennia. Photo by Patrick Wilson. Patrick's grandpa first noticed an abundance of worked and iconic stones on his property many years ago.

Arkansas novaculite translucent banded knife blade found by Patrick Wilson

18 October 2016

Human head in right profile on a stone plaque from Arkfeld Site

'Human head looking right' on a stone plaque
Adam Arkfeld find, Site #44FK731, Clear Brook Virginia

This piece has become weathered after its manufacture and the stone appears worn away somewhat. This may speak to its great age.

On the back of the human face profile I interpret a 'bear head' looking left where the bear's 'nose' and 'mouth' are at the human's 'neck.'

Illustration of the eye, nose and mouth which are still faintly visible. The combination of an animal head and a human head is common in Paleolithic art.

Another Levallois-like point from Arkfeld Site

14 October 2016

Bird stone figures with heads turned back from Piacenza, Italy, demonstrate trans-Atlantic art similarities

Water bird with head turned back and tail feathering at far right
Luigi Chiapparoli finds, from Piacenza, Italy

Ken Johnston illustration of the bill of the duck looking back to the right with a circle around a human face depiction and a circle around the head of a creature facing right as if emerging from the duck's 'tail feathers.' This animal resembles a 'seal.'

(Left) A flaked bird figure with eye divot and bill tucked into its back feathers and alternately interpreted as a bird with beak pointed right. (Right) a duck figure with its head turned back. This art motif is described as early as the Lower Paleolithic ca. 500,000 BP by Mrs. Ursel Benekendorff of Germany who has called it the "preening water bird." I have referred to it as the "sleeping duck" motif as well.

There are commonalities with some Italian and North American finds like this which suggest a trans-Atlantic cultural connection in the Stone Age. See the prior posting of similar birds from Virginia's Arkfeld Site.

Luigi Chiapparoli is a recognized independent rock art investigator working in the Piacenza locale. Numerous stone figures and landscape rock art features have been identified by Lug and featured earlier on this blog.

Piacenza locale, northern Italy

Montarsolo, near the portable rock art finds. Photograph by rock art investigator Luigi Chiapparoli.

13 October 2016

Possible 'bird with head turned back' sculpture is in three levels of relief for head, neck and body just like example already reported

'Possible bird with head turned back in three levels of relief'
Adam Arkfeld find, Clear Brook, Virginia

This Arkfeld Site example of the 'bird with head turned back' motif was featured earlier on this blog. The new find is more ambiguous, almost 'cubist' in its angular abstraction. These two bird forms are both made on a lithic reduction template which created three levels of relief on the stone to express the head, body and neck of the birds. The similarity of the iconography and the manufacturing technique support the new find being an intended bird sculpture in the same tradition as the earlier example.

A Mesopotamian stone "duck weight' used in measurement is in the same natural motif as the two sculptures from The Arkfeld Site.

11 October 2016

Bird figure stone standing on flat base

'Bird figure stone standing on flat base'
Arkfeld Site, Clear Brook, Virginia
Arkfeld Site heavy duty point

09 October 2016

A solid central Virginia Paleolithic art and tool site has been identified by another amature archaeologist who is told he has found "river rocks"

'Bird figure stone'
Adrian Ellis finds, central Virginia
'Bird in hand with eye and beak detail'

Hook-billed bird head (like an eagle) with stone removal to make the beak identified by Adrian. Bird heads and bird figures are commonly found at these kinds of archaeology sites.

Bird forms and quasi bird forms from the site

Three animal head sculptures identified by Adrian Ellis who has an MFA degree in sculpture from UCLA and has studied stone sculpture. The top two look like felines and the bottom one is more vague but likely feline too. They all have worked 'eyes.'

Illustration of the worked eye areas on the three animal head sculptures

A Levallois-like point from this central Virginia site

A geometric point

Worked and then worn through use rhomboid shapes identified by Adrian

Oldowan rhomboids, Netherlands, 700,000 to 200,000 BP, from originsnet.org for comparison to Virginia examples above found by Adrian Ellis.

A simple Oldowan Mode I Lithics cobble tool from Virginia with two breaks to create a sharp edge. These simple cultural materials with such light modification are too often overlooked in American Archaeology.

A worked stone survey from the site. There is a noticeable lack of flint among the artifacts at the site. This may indicate a preference for non-flint materials because flint is often tied to the landscape in very specific places. It may indicate a people not very familiar with the flint tool stone resources in the area who have to make do with what they have at hand. It may indicate a people with Asian tool making traditions which favored coarse stone materials because flint and chert materials are relatively scarce there.
"I also want to share with you how poorly I've been treated by the archaeological community... Still cannot believe that I have been told these are only river rocks, if you have half a brain, you can see they are tools." -Adrian Ellis, Virginia
Central Virginia location of these featured artifacts found and identified by Adrian.

The field of Archaeology continues to squander opportunities to identify new patterns of lithics behavior on the landscape by its inability or unwillingness to take some very astute and observant non-professionals like Adrian Ellis seriously.