15 October 2012

"Strange shaped flint: rock art?" A possible Neolithic Belgian pierre figures identified by archaeologist Jimmy Groen

Find and photo by Jimmy Groen, The Netherlands, courtesy of Jimmy from his blog ARbannig

Groen writes, "The image above is representing a piece of local Hesbaye flint, found at the nearly the highest part of the hill named "Montagne St. Pierre" part of the community of Visé in Belgium.( location Lat.. 50.78192708669826 x Long 5.675597190856934) Visé Lanaye in Google Maps

This area, rich in flint, is known for large tool production zones from the prehistory, for the production of tools from the locally mined flint, so in the area  pieces of flint can be found easily. The local flint type is a rather coarse flint, probably mined at the location named Heyoule, this conclusion is based on the fact , the flint was found in the loess layer, so it has been transported at this field. Characteristics for this flint type are: very weak expressed bulbs ( because of the granulate structure) no rings of percussion and a dull appearance, if not patinated. During the production of tools, flint was mined from the cretaceous slopes of the Meuse river, for the production of tools. A raw flint core,  after eventual decortification, was prepared with a platform, to strike regular blades or flakes from , to get  blanks for the production of a large diversity of tools ( scrapers, knives, drills, etc.).

The flint piece, found in the field, has such a platform type, but the platform ( bottom side of the flint object in the picture below) was not used for the production of blades, maybe some flakes were taken of the nodule.  The flint piece is  remarkable and does not at all look like the usual, traditional ( often pyramidal) cores that were left over after blade- or flake debitage and sometimes still are found in the fields. Moreover, this not a debitage core, but  looks rather like some sort of  flint sculpture, maybe representing someone with a quiver with arrows...

This is reinforced by the fact some parts of the stone show a secondary retouch at some edges ( at top parts of the image), but this cannot be functionally. Step- fractions occur, maybe these are placed deliberately for sculpting the stone.

The assumed period for the production of tools from local flint in this part of  Mt. St Pierre is the Middle to Late- Neolithic, appr. between 4000 and 2600 BC.

Technical details:
Length = 7,6 cm
Wide = 7,8 cm
Depth = 2,8 cm

Preliminary conclusion:
A remarkable flint piece was found, with traces of limited debitage of flakes. Besides of this, the secondary retouch at two edges, would plea for the anthropogenic origin of the flint piece. This secondary retouch is not made for a functional purpose.The flint piece cannot be used as a tool ( like a tool core). It is quite well possible this is a piece of rock art (Figure stone, Pierre figures) or might have served as some sort of special object. The round form at the left could be the head of someone, and the triangle shape a quiver with arrows. This would make it a small statue of a torso."

-L. Jimmy Groen, Maastricht, NL

Ken Johnston illustration of possible image of a man's torso with a quiver pack on his back (Groen). On first impression of this object, I saw a rabbit head facing right. The Groen and Johnston interpretations of possible imagery may both be "valid" in the sense that art objects can have a greater meaning composed of parts of combined forms. For example, this figure may signify "a man rabbit hunting."








Now, one may use the Groen and Johnston interpretations to make another interpretation which is derived from a synthesis of the first two. Perhaps alternatively, the quiver interpreted by Groen may also be seen as a rabbit figure facing left on the back of the man. It may depict pre-hunt and post-hunt imagery, or two points in time, in one figure. (click photos to expand and compare).

-kbj

No comments:

Post a Comment