27 September 2011

Day's Knob, Ohio Archaeological Inventory site #33GU218, Guernsey County, has examples of portable rock art pigmentation and painting

Engineer and archaeologist Alan Day, of Cambridge, Ohio, brought the concept of mid-19th century Frenchman Jacques Boucher de Perthes' "pierres-figures," translated as "figure stones," to North America with his popular daysknob.com web site nearly ten years ago.  The real estate he purchased for his aerial radio antenna turned out to be high ground which was producing stone tools and as Alan deduced after researching the topic, stone art.
His web site home page is:
Alan writes on the subject of pigmentation at the Day's Knob  site:  "The above piece was taken to the laboratories of NSL Analytical Services in Cleveland, Ohio for compositional analysis by x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy.  It was determined that the dark material is a superficial layer of red ochre (iron-oxide-based pigment) quite distinct from the limestone.  The table below shows the elemental compositions of the lime- stone and the pigmentation:


"A painting on limestone, a more or less anthropomorphic figure.  Note the typical artificial incisions on the rock."

"An anthropomorphic painting (height 18 mm - 0.7") apparently in iron oxide on the edge of a sandstone rock .  Until recently, markings like these at this site have not been presented as paintings because of the insistence of some archaeologists that they must be the result of natural dripping onto a rock's horizontal surface.  This recently discovered figure, quite aside from its compelling appearance of artific- iality, is strong evidence to the contrary (confirmed by a professional geologist) since the image is on the vertical broken edge of the rock, perpendicular to its horizontal strata."

"The eye on this limestone horse-like carving was painted with the same material."

Please find more artifacts and more of the work of Alan Day, whose detection, description and presentation of archaeological anomalies must be given serious consideration and evaluation by archaeological science.

Portable Rock Art paintings identified by Alan Day, Day's Knob site, Ohio

A special thanks to Alan for use of his material and for kindly helping me understand my own anomalous artifacts and prehistoric art.

24 September 2011

Dutch archaeologist Jimmy Groen recognizes the possibility of paleoart

Dutch archaeologist Jimmy Groen recognizes the possibility of art pieces among artifacts
"Paleo Art? Middle paleolithic denticulé-flake from the Jeker region could also be interpreted as a human face."

I noticed a possible human facial profile in another artifact from his collections and made an earlier posting on that artifact at this link:
http://portablerockart.blogspot.com/2011/02/neanderthal-cameo-from-netherlands.html

23 September 2011

Ohio Hopewell excavation at Turner Mound by Harvard's Putnam in 1885 located four pebbles in a grave goods context similar to 2009 Clermont County "crown of pebbles" site

Grave goods pebbles from Turner Mound Group, Ohio, 1885
Peabody Museum collections, Harvard University
Peabody Number: 86-32-10/A634.1

Display Title: Pebbles

I located what appears to be a similar example of stone pebbles being included in, now, two Ohio Hopewell burials. This second group of four pebbles was also found in a Hopewell grave goods context 125 years ago, in the 1885 Harvard University excavation by F.W. Putnam of the Ohio Turner Mound Group in Hamilton County (Cincinnati area).

Contributions of Frederic Ward Putnam to Ohio Archaeology

These Turner mound complex grave pebbles appear to be composed of a similar, white, talc- like substance as seen in the six pebble crown stones from a nearby Hopewell burial archaeological site worked ca. 2009 by Ohio Hopewell scholar John C.(hris) Rummel. Minerals in the pebbles may have had medicinal or healing uses or perhaps they were used as a funerary "make up" to lighten up the body. Meanings and purposes are often unattainable from the archaeological record but recognizing patterns such as amorphous pebbles in two separate Southern Ohio Hopewell burials is a start.  


Here is a link to the earlier posting I made about six similar pebbles found in a crown formation in a female Ohio Hopewell burial excavated by archaeologist Chris Rummel near Miamiville, Ohio, in Clarmont County.  Special thanks to Chris for making the artifacts available for me to photograph and check out.

http://portablerockart.blogspot.com/2011/07/pebbles-producing-light-sparkling.html

These particular stones were likely in their place and formation for a significant reason (or reasons). As W. F. Romain writes in his book SHAMANS OF THE LOST WORLD ,p 164, identifying seven possible Hopewell cremation steps, he describes number five as:

“5. Selected grave goods were placed in symbolically significant locations, requiring intimate knowledge of the symbolism of the grave goods and their preferred placement.”

Perhaps this posting can expand awareness of these seemingly amorphous pebbles which were likely carefully selected for grave placement but the kind of thing archaeologists could overlook.  Maybe this could lead to recognition of additional examples. The entire Hopewell sphere tradition lasted for about 700 years from 200 BC to 500 AD.

Hopewell tradition information from Wikipedia

19 September 2011

Tennessee laughing pebble identified by Sherry Hill is similar to Italian example described by pre-sculpture and paleoart author Pietro Gaietto


Tennessee laughing pebble identified by Sherry Hill is similar to an Italian example identified by Pietro Gaietto of Museum of the Origins of Man




Evidence of the artist's grinding is present to make two eyes and a nose on the face.  The mouth may have a natural feature of a pebble but it now shows evidence of expansion by excavation and carving to create an ironic, laughing, expression.  A second, small, eyes, nose and mouth composing a face may be seen in micro detail in the circle highlighting the work on the left eye of the figure stone.

Sherry Hill has found and identified several art pieces among the typical flint knives and points she finds on the surface in the Doe River valley, Carter County, Tennessee.  In this view, the laugh expression could also be read as a giant scream or even a yawn.


American entertainer Jimmy Durante and his famous trademark "got'cha" facial expression (1893-1980)

Here, the artifact is shown on a 1 centimeter (cm) grid for scale

Carter County, Tennessee

Allesandra, Italy
"Fig. 4.22) Lithic sculpture. It represents a human head without the neck. Strong stylistic deformation in ironic sense, deduced from the large nose.
Size: Height cm. 12.
Place of origin: Tortona, Alessandria, Italy.
Material culture: Mousterian, but perhaps previous.
It comes from an ancient alluvium of the Scrivia Torrent; it is damaged, as there are no more external traces of working. But the traces are present in the recess that constitute the orbitale zone and the mouth. The human type seems an archaic Homo sapiens, but it does not have chin, and the forehead is little. The style lengthens the head vertically.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man."

16 September 2011

Museum of the Origins of Man identifies Paleolithic human head sculptures similar to Oregon examples

Paleolithic human head sculpture from Savona, Italy, identified by Museum of the Origins of Man, Pietro Gaietto

"Fig. 4.14) Lithic sculpture. It represents a head of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis with neck, and look upwards .
Size: Height cm. 15. It is worked in both the sides, almost full-relief. It has a pointed nape. It is a classic Neanderthalian.
Place of origin: Valle del Vero, Toirano, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: Mousterian.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man."
Sight line of eyes on human face depicted in this illustration by Pietro Gaietto

Irrigon, Oregon, sculpture standing in anthropomorphic position.  This sculpture has been the subject of an earlier posting with focus on its fish imagery when sitting on another of its flat, narrow, edges.

Side 2 of Irrigon, Oregon, sculpture


Portland, Oregon, anthropomorphic piece identified by Nona A.  It was found in the context of suspected crude stone tools and other art pieces.

Side 2 from Portland, Oregon, collection of  Nona A.
 
 
Portland, Oregon, from Nona A. collection
(click photos to expand)
 

Portland, Oregon, from Nona A. collection
(click to expand)

Savona, Italy, Museum of the Origins of Man

"Fig. 4.29) Lithic Sculpture. It represents a head of Homo sapiens sapiens with neck.

Size: Height cm. 27.
Place of origin: S.Pietro d'Olba, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: upper Paleolithc.
Worked from two sides, it is nearly a frontal representation. This type of sculpture, with high and robust neck, is present in several anthropomorphic menhirs at Carnac, with several types of Homo sapiens sapiens.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man."




The work of Pietro Gaietto of Genova, Italy, predicted the motif and location of a carved human head with a beard on one of the seven Ohio flint sculptures found together in a "hoard."  Please see the "Subtle Artifacts" link to read the article and see photos of these seven associated sculptures found in Licking County, Ohio.  

One of the seven Ohio sculptures was a stunning visual match to one of Gaietto's Italian sculptures and only after reading Gaietto I detected a man's head profile in the place on the Ohio sculpture where he said it would be on this type of artifact. Any person in a room with this sculpture can see the human head profile once it is brought to their attention, just as Gaietto brought it to my attention and helped me to understand what had been a strangely amorphous but obviously worked flint cobble until then.  This kind of "replication" of Gaietto's work has led me to conclude it might be very instructive on the subject of pre-sculpture and early sculpture- even in the Americas.  As crude, rough and strange as they seem, the forms and general aesthetic sense invoked by the sculptures identified and documented by Gaietto have also been independently detected by others as suspected artifacts in Eurasia and the United States.
 
Gaietto is author of "Phylogenesis of Beauty - A Unified Theory of Evolution" E.N.Z.A., 2008, Genova.

Subtle Artifacts: Seven Ohio Paleolithic flint sculptures   One of the seven Ohio sculptures is a morphological "match" to an Italian sculpture identified by Gaietto and has a human face profile where Gaietto's typology predicted.

09 September 2011

Victoria, Minnesota, landowner discovers Paleolithic cultural site including four bird art sculptures


Four bird sculptures, three of them found and pictured with associated pedestal bases.  This wonderful North American bird art assemblage is from a Victoria, Minnesota, site with a Paleolithic component.

Archaeologist Kent Bakken examines a Paleolithic artifact in his magnifying loupe. The link below will show some of the tools found in the context of the bird sculptures which led Kent Bakken to conclude there is a Paleolithic element at this archaeological site.

PHOTOS BY UNSIE ZUEGE

The largest sculpture pictured stands apart from the other three. It seems more abstract, stylized and ideal-based than the others, which seem to have more naturalistic forms. The four birds provide a great example of how different some of the pieces can look from each other- all representing bird imagery but in very different ways.

05 September 2011

Joel Castanza documents 37 Point Barrow zoomorphic sculptures from Alaskan archaeological history and identified as possible amulets

Flaked Grey Chert Grizzly Bear Effigy

Length: Snout to Tail 2.82" = 7.14cm
Height: Front Shoulder to Bottom of Front Foot: 1.28" = 3.3cm
Height: Rear Hump to bottom of Rear Foot: 1.44"= 3.61cm
Thickness: .30"
Lithic Comp.: Grey Chert
Distinct hump on the back suggests a grizzly bear
Cultural Association: Birnirk
Possible Age: Birnirk 1,700 B.P.- 600 B.P.
Provenance: Collected by Thomas Kennedy at Pt. Barrow 1883, Sold to Dr. HH Stewart of Eureka Ca., Sold to Gene Favell for the Favell Museum in the 1970's.
This item was de-accessioned in 2004. Purchased by Lummi Trading company, then sold to me (Joel Castanza) in early 2008.



(click photo to expand)

Above text and photographs courtesy of alaskanartifacts.com, Mr. Joel Castanza.  This is greatly appreciated by portablerockart.com.

A Russian book, "Early Art of the Northern far East" on Siberian portable rock art has been published in English by the US Park Service and Russian Shared Beringia Heritage project. It may help provide an old world precedent for iconographic North American artifact material such as Joel Castanza has thankfully brought to public attention. A link to a book sample is found here:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/early-art-of-the-northern-far-east-the-stone-age/oclc/313729350/viewport

04 September 2011

Hexagon Rock

Hexagon Rock
Ansted, West Virginia, find by Ken Johnston
(click photo to expand)

This six-sided platter was found among suspected crude stone tools and two possible bird head sculptures in a 30 meter surface sample of the Shady Creek bed at Ansted, West Virginia.  The bird heads have been the subject of two recent postings on this blog.  I searched the internet for images of hexagon shaped rocks and could not find any other than the kind of hexagon basalt formations from well-known Giants Causeway in Ireland and other sites.  I then began to ponder the statistical probabilities of a natural rock having six sides of relative proportional equity.  Not being a statistician, I thought I'd post it here for others to consider and comment on.  


A similar looking, hexagon-shaped, stone from the Gault, Texas, site has a grooved double pattern which clearly identifies it as an artifact.  The West Virginia hexagon rock has no such visible etchings but was found in a cut from a geologically recent creek bed and may be water worn.  The Gault artifact appears to have had a break on the right side as pictured here and, if so, plausibly could have had a more equitable hexagon shape prior to the break.  The lower right corner hints at an angle of the former edge of a more proportionally shaped hexagon rock.

The Gault site engraved plaque could have been a more proportionally uniform hexagon shape at one time and then broken as the red line drawn on the West Virginia hexagon rock illustrates.  A foot-long ruler is pictured across the rock.
For those people familiar with geometry and aesthetics, perhaps there is something to this piece.  Having found no images of hexagonal rocks on the web and finding this in a possible tool and art context, make it a candidate for possible artifactuality, perhaps a functional platter like object, but maybe intentionally made with six sides for the novelty or some culturally mediated or aesthetic purpose.  I note the outline as seen in the diagram below somewhat resembles the profile, in an angular, stylized way, of a right side of a mammoth or mastodon which is sometimes represented by its simplest features in paleoart.


Mammuthus columbi, Columbian mammoth palentologist's photo reconstruction with white markups made by me to highlight major visual lines of the extinct animal and how they form a hexagon in rough proportion to the Ansted, West Virginia rock and possibly the Gault, Texas, engraved art piece.