30 April 2011

Interpretation made of artifact in March posting of Incised Composite Golden Ellipse

Composite Golden Ellipse (with interpretation of incised lines)

Allen Deibel of Canfied, Ohio, archaeologist and naturalist, has "The stone cat collection,"  a large number of mostly quartz feline themed figure stones from the Mahoning River Valley in north east Ohio.  Al informed me of a cat visage on the right side of this stone "from about one to seven O'clock."  I had noticed a cat and a bird figure but Al's cat did not square up with mine.

I interpreted the bird icon as being depicted as emerging from the egg shaped feature marked in white above.  If one incorporates the yellow bird, the white egg and the blue cat, it is a bulging cats mouth (the one Al reported to me) as if the cat has consumed the bird and the egg (which it did if one is able to visually combine the three colors into another cat face).  It looks like Sylvester with Tweetie Pie stuffed into his mouth, without the yellow feather sticking out.  The lines to the left, highlighted in blue, are interpreted to be a standing water bird mother feeding her chick, the two beaks making contact  to transfer food.  

This art piece depicts the theme of the cycle of life/death, predator/prey, iconography on a composite golden ellipse.

What is suspected to be residue of a manganese oxide based pigment, blueish, is seen on the left side of this artifact.  This is what leads to the interpretation of the standing water bird as a "blue heron."

From this link you go right to the original posting of this sculpture:


-kbj

25 April 2011

Peter Cottontail has left the building... Peter Cottontail has left the building.


Peter Cottontail has left the building
click photo to expand size

Found at the same site as the Peter Cottontail posting prior to this one, I did not think this was an intended artifact initially.  After examination under lighted 10x magnification, I detected several stroke marks or incisions in a series of lines going up the neck to the bottom of the head in the above photo.  On the opposite side of the artifact, facial details were detected which are worked in the flint and seen in the photo below.

I also detected a break spot where it looks like a "front leg" was attached to this item at one time.  The shadow of the break may be seen square #3 from right on the bottom row of the CM grid.  It also has two different rabbit views depicted, one on each side.  These three factors, along with the resemblance to a hopping rabbit at a site which has produced another rabbit icon, weigh as factors in assessing artifactuality here.

Peter Cottontail has left the building
(face toward viewer, Flopsy-like ear)
click photo to expand size
artifact on a CM grid for scale and perspective

Looks like rabbit's right ear is "floppy" from this perspective. In this view, the rabbit has turned its head to face the viewer.  Click photo to expand size to view the cartoon-like face of the rabbit, including eyes, nose, whiskers and an apparent smile- a look foretelling of the Trix cereal advertisement character rabbit. The front leg has broken off.  The rabbit has a pointed back to invoke a sense of swift, springing, movement.  Paleolithic representations of animals and people often have what we would call a cartoonish look.  It has been a part of the human aesthetic long before the Sunday newspaper comic section.

17 April 2011

Here comes Peter Cottontail....

Peter Cottontail
click photo to expand size
Polymorphic rabbit/feline/bear/deer/human sculpture
from Licking County, Ohio USA
lithic material is from Flint Ridge
photos taken on a CM grid for scale and perspective


This photo is an aide to refer back to the above to see a feline visage as highlighted here in blue.  Relax your focus, "look through your eyelashes," or stand at a distance from the screen to best see the big cat.


Closer view of rabbit's head

This is back half of the rabbit.  Back of the ear tip is seen in black material in upper left corner.  Two animal head images are seen here, taken to be a lion face and bear head in right profle.  Because they share common features in the stone, it may be difficult to percieve.


This is a bear head in right profile view.  Here, I have whited out a portion of the lion's face which is distracting to the bear image because they share features.  Orange arrow points to ear (serves also as the right eye of the second lion visage).  Blue arrow points to tip of nose.  Purple arrow points to tip the bear's chin.
 Short faced bear (Arctodus)
   
The tip of the bear's face may also depict the face of a man in right profile so this could be taken as a "synthesis of man's face with a bears head."  The man and bear share the same mouth. If one pays visual attention to the front of the faces like shown in this photo, the human depiction becomes more clear.  It looks like the face has a mournful frown.   



Pink and black are lion's eyes, yellow is the nose.  The nose also looks like a caprid (deer?) icon with its head turned as if looking behind it.  It appears there is a chunk or "bite" out of the hind quarter of the deer.  The deer is squarely in the eyes of the lion, being its nose.  Blue is the snarling mouth of the lion.
  

The maroon band of flint which is the face-on lion's snarling mouth, also seems to serve as red hairdo, or a turban style wrap, atop a grinning woman's face.  There appears to be an ear decoration on the woman, like an earring.  Maybe the woman is being consumed by the lion, the lion's red lips grasping her head to begin a meal?

Arrow points to earring looking stone feature.  I hypothesize the frowning man's face (fourth photo above) is mourning the loss of his partner, shown here at the lion's mouth, to predation.  Based on the paleo-anthropological record of skeletal remains, it is estimated 6% to 10% of early humans died at the jaws, paws and claws of carnivores.  So, humans were more in the food chain than solely at the top of the food chain in pre-modern times.

In final, the interpretations of images here are of two lion faces, a bear head, a man's face, a woman's face, one deer and one two-sided rabbit.  A third lion image, with paw extended toward the viewer and a tooth showing, has not been marked up in the photos.  Can you find it?

North American lion (Panthera leo atrox) reconstruction


Photo looking down on artifact as it stands on its base.  Without recognition, art pieces like this are being overlooked, forsaken by archaeologists, passed off as debitage or other debris, suitable for the pile of "burden stones."  

A similar looking sculpture with animals on two sides.  This side looks like the artifact featured in this post.  Also from Licking County, Ohio.

This side looks like a rabbit with a crystal inclusion perhaps representing the "magic womb" of the reproductive proclivity of this animal.  This is one of seven sculptures found in immediate proximity (a hoard) in Licking County Ohio and featured at the web site: http://subtleartifacts.com

Side two of the featured figure stone (on CM grid)


Side two again


Flint Ridge is the source for the raw material in this post.
Click photo to expand size

-kbj

15 April 2011

Maryland and Oregon artifacts demonstrate similar artist use of stone material in a pebble inclusion to feature reflective eyes

Reflective eye with wink (one eye closed theme)
Mark Jones collection, Piney Point, Maryland

From Maryland, near the confluence of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.  Found by prehistoric art and fossil hunter Mark Jones of Piney Point.  Please notice the two nostrils depicted here.  Nostrils are sometimes present on zoomorphic and anthromorphic portable rock art and are an element which can contribute to determining artifactuality.  Perhaps they were made to "add the breath of life" to the art creation.

"One eye open, one eye closed/missing" is a well documented, recurring, theme in "old world" Paleolithic portable rock art.  According to James Harrod, Ph.D., it may have endured to the Nourse/Celtic times with the mythological "One-eyed Oden" being a more recent manifestation of this meme element.  Please see Harrod's OriginsNet web site on side panel for more information.


Oregon example from Dennis Boggs 
The reflective eye is on the photo right here
Click photo to expand size



Closer view of Oregon sparkling eye
Click photo to expand size

Very up close of sparkling eye of Oregon artifact.  There may be another face depicted in micro-carving in the reflective stone material of the eyeball.
Click photo to expand size.


Reverse side depicts another face, perhaps exhibiting the enduring theme "predator bite out of head," first seen in the Oldowan and perhaps persisting to the Middle Paleolithic, as described by James Harrod in his "Four Memes..." paper with link on the right side panel.

This is my interpretation of a face, represented in green, and "bite out of the head" zone on the artifact represented in red.  In yellow is a possible second face nested within the bite zone, perhaps depicting predator taking the bite out of the head.

In another interpretation a third face may be represented on this figure stone.  So, this could be a (face(within a face))within a face))).


Five faces, two on one side and three on the reverse, may be depicted in this figure stone.

Screaming face with resemblance to Hans Gram's Germany example found in Columbia River valley, northwest U.S.A.

Found by Dennis Boggs, Irrigon, Oregon

11 April 2011

Perhaps an example of James Harrod's "mask of the opacity of suffering" from Hans Grams


From the Hans Grams collection, Germany
Artifact from Wegberg, German Rhineland

UPDATE From Mr. Grams:


"James B. Harrod von 20.04.2011: http://www.originsnet.org/ schrieb in einer Mail vom

'One day I had the opportunity to hand the 'one eye' sculpture, that Ursel Benekendorff sent me, to the late Roy Scheider, a skilled actor in TV, movies and Shakespearean stage. I said nothing other than: "what do you feel this stone is saying". He said (paraphrase) that it felt like the tragic vision of King Lear, one eye open is witness to all human doings and human suffering, one eye is closed in pain and and anguish over the human condition; also one eye looks inward, one outward. Also as the head is like that of a child, it also speaks of maintaining spiritual innocence facing the human predicament. I am reminded of the proverb of Jesus: 'Be wise as serpents, innocent as doves.'"

also from Mr. Grams:

"Finding W957S; category: 1; name: barrack;

find date:01.23.2009

found attired: Germany 41844 Wegberg-Klinkum in secondary location.

Weight 972 grams; dimensions [cm] 13x10x5.

"The stone bears the sculpture of a human head."

Hans Grams of Germany finds sculpture interpreted as "ape" and "bear" heads

From Wegberg, German Rhineland
Found by Hans Grams, late February 2011
Interpreted by Grams as "ape head" in first three photos.

Hamadryas baboon (Papio hamadryas)




The face is depicted as having a missing left eye (and nostril) here.
Please see James Harrod's "Four Memes..." link on the right side panel for more on this theme, called "the mask of the opacity of suffering" by him.  I see similarity between this German piece and the American artifact posted on March 7 seen here:

American sculpture which resembles the German sculpture in the position and view shown in the photo before this American one.  The left eye is missing or distorted, perhaps to depict an injury to the face.



Another bear view
From Wegberg, German Rhineland
Hans Grams, found late February 2011

08 April 2011

Standing Bird (bifacial sculpture)

Standing Bird (bifacial sculpture)
Dennis Boggs collection
Found at Irrigon, Oregon, along the Columbia River



Possible human face depicted on the backside of the bird on this side of the sculpture.  Lines added to assist reference back up to unmarked photo.
Perhaps this stone material was selected for a bird icon because of its "made of the air" property of porocity.  Light passes through the sculpture at two points where the material is thin.  The face is at low resolution and may require viewing at some distance from the computer display to percieve as it is marked up here.

Side 2

-kbj

06 April 2011

Big Smile

Big Smile
Irrigon, Oregon, U.S.A.  Dennis Boggs collection.
For geographic reference, this was found about 45 miles (70km) downstream from Kennewick, Washington, along the
Columbia River.


Faint traces of a triagular shaped right eye and triangular nose may be visible here.  The left eye is represented by a hole in the stone. The hole is not obviously worked so it may be a natural feature of the pebble material.

-kbj

05 April 2011

Mouth worked in fine detail, with use of serendipitous natural features, transforms pebble into polymorphic figure stone

Mouth worked in fine detail, use of serendipitous natural features, transforms pebble into anthropomorphic figure stone.
From Irrigon, Oregon, U.S.A., Dennis Boggs collection.

Arrow points to top of mouth area where focused carving marks are seen to create the appearance of an upper and lower lip.
  
Up close of mouth.


Left profile view of the face. Click any photo to expand.

Left profile view of the face with highlighted facial features.  Compare to photo above without the highlights.  The head hair meets the ear in the middle of the big circle.
(Return to the unhighlighted photo above this one and note the details of the man's nostril)


In the photo of the artifact above this Asian elephant trunk tip, the feature inside the circle resembles the tip of such a trunk in the closed, as if holding water, position.  In the artifact photo directly below, the human mouth on the face resembles the end of a trunk in the open, perhaps roaring or calling, position.

Possible proboscidean imagery when viewed head on like this, like viewing an elephant head on where the eyebrows of the face are the big ears and the nose of the man is the trunk.  The mouth itself looks like the end of a (mammoth?) trunk.


Columbia River at Irrigon, Oregon, artifact.  Found by Dennis Boggs.  The head is facing up on its designed flat base.


A very similar stone representational technique to create the mouth details may be seen from this sculpture from Germany.  It is as if lips and a tongue are present.  Click to expand size of any photo. Photo courtesy of Ursel Benekendorff.  Photo is  ©Copyright 2011. Ursel Benekendorff.  All Rights reserved. 


A polymorphic sculpture photographed in the garden of Jan van Es.
Artifact from Beegden, The Netherlands.  Like the Oregon example, it is a "long face" with proboscidean iconography in the eyebrows and nose, a human/mammoth morph.


-kbj