10 July 2012

An Acheulean jasper scraper from the Grand-Pressigny, central France, which pairs human and baboon heads like previously described example

Acheulean jasper scraper from the Grand-Pressigny, central France
Collection of Ken Johnston, this perspective interpreted as a human face in right profile view

Typology : Pointed Side Scraper.
Material : Yellow Jasper.
Cutting : This implement was cut in a Jasper pebble.  A few flakes were cut to create the pointed sub-triangular shape. The three points and the edges were finely retouched. Both faces and one side were left mostly cortical to ensure a strong and safe grip.
Dating, hominid : This implement belongs to the Acheulean Culture (Lower Paleolithic period, circa 300 000 to 650 000 years ago), and was conceived by Homo HEIDELBERGENSIS ( European Erectus ).
Origin : Found in the area of the Grand-Pressigny, in the center of the France; discovered in the Creuse's ancient riverbed.
Sizes :  3 7/8 inches X 3 7/8 inches or 9.5 cm X 9.5 cm
Weight :  280 g
Condition :  Intact, no modern damage

Click photos to expand and compare


A somewhat similar facial profile identified by Dennis Boggs, Boardman, Oregon, on this beautiful translucent crystal laden flake (a "lithophane," Johnston) where the crystal area (cortex) may be seen to serve as "hair" in the anthropomorphic facial profile. The artifact depicts a left facial profile which has been inverted in this  photo to allow comparison against the French example from the same perspective

This second right facial profile on the same artifact seems more zoomorphic than anthropomorphic. It may an intentional representation of an animal such as a baboon


Please see this posting from about one year ago where I described a human face and a baboon face incorporated into an Acheulean handaxe, also from France. This second example illustrated today seems to confirm the possibility the baboon/human pairing was a widely expressed motif in that area which amateur and professional archaeologists should be aware of. They are, in fact, decorated tools, existing in the realm of early human art and spirituality as well as function.

Acheulean jasper scraper from the Grand-Pressigny, central France
Collection of Ken Johnston

The above perspective shows how elusive possible iconography is to collectors and archaeologists working in the field. The above photo, showing the artifact as perhaps taken at usual "macro level" of archaeological interpretation, may be seen as a relatively insignificant worked block of flint. Only upon very close examination of the retouch work can the details of possible zooanthropomorphic forms be revealed. With this more "micro" level of examination of artifacts in existing collections and at sites yet to be discovered, it will be seen that Boucher de Perthes himself was correct is positing the existence of art right with the tools of his "antedelluvian man."

-kbj

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