27 April 2012
Licking County, Ohio, limestone bird form stands on base. It was found by Ken Johnston at a suspected prehistoric cultural site near Buckeye Lake in Licking Township. It has a general similarity with a known bird sculpture from a German site. (click photos to expand)
Side 2 of the Ohio bird
One minute video of the Ohio bird rotating on a turntable
Posted by Ken Johnston at 11:59 AM
23 April 2012
Europa in America: Woman/goddess riding bison and white bison figures found together in an Ohio cornfield
The mythographers tell that Zeus was enamored of Europa and decided to seduce or ravish her, the two being near-equivalent in Greek myth. He transformed himself into a tame white bull and mixed in with her father's herds. While Europa and her female attendants were gathering flowers, she saw the bull, caressed his flanks, and eventually got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete. He then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete. Zeus gave her a necklace made by Hephaestus and three additional gifts: Talos, Laelaps and a javelin that never missed. Zeus later re-created the shape of the white bull in the stars, which is now known as the constellation Taurus. Some readers interpret as manifestations of this same bull the Cretan beast that was encountered by Hercules, the Marathonian Bull slain by Theseus (and that fathered the Minotaur). Roman mythology adopted the tale of the Raptus, also known as "The Abduction of Europa" and "The Seduction of Europa", substituting the god Jupiter for Zeus.
Woman/goddess and bison: Zeus and Europa flint figures found in an Ohio cornfield.
Found by Pam Douglass at Jacksontown, Licking County, Ohio, near Flint Ridge. Within a few feet of this figure, Pam found a flint she identified as a sculpted white buffalo head which was featured in a prior posting, featuring a crystal-lined "eye" which penetrates the flint. It is seen in the final artifact photo below.
The bison and female relationship in paleoart dates to Chauvet cave and earlier. It persisted through Greek and Roman mythology. A question for art scholars based on the two finds featured here is: at what point in time did the bison become white in the art? That might help date these two exquisite pieces of flint work. This Licking County, Ohio, Flint Ridge artistic flint work is documented for greater archaeology for the first time here on portablerockart.com
In a prior posting, Ken Johnston interpreted a bison in this perspective. The "eyes" are highlighted as green stars. A small tail stub is highlighted at far left. (click photos to expand)
View when the artifact is rotated 1/4 to the left from the bison view above
A pregnant woman may be seen where her breasts are also the shared nostrils of the bison from the other view. Her protruding belly is the reddish flint at the far right. The woman and bison also share an eye which is a sparkling silver inclusion in the flint. It is revealed here by the black line markings that the woman's arm is depicted as reaching back to hold the horn of the bison. Even her forearm muscles are shown. The woman's lower body in this view could also be interpreted as a mammoth view head on with the funnel shape of the trunk being depicted. This would be in line with known paleoart. Duncan Caldwell has written of the "first optical illusion" which is an artifact which can be interpreted two ways, as a mammoth or a bison, depending on how you view it.
Crystal eyed, breasted woman, hair flowing, with arm reaching back and grasping the horn of the bison
Pam Douglass found both artifacts here in immediate proximity and interpreted this one a white buffalo head
""The association of woman/Goddess and bison is deep. Again and again they are found, in different forms, together, often both pregnant. If we look at the gestation time of women and bison, we find that they both have a 10 lunar month pregnancy. Like the Horse and Bear, the Bison is an animal with great mythical importance. We tend to think of the bull cults of Minoan Crete or Çatal Höyük, or the horned Goddesses of Egypt, but the bison/bull is of course also one of the most often depicted animals in Palaeolithic art, and so must have held great significance much further back in history as well. In fact, like the clay bear statue described in GA12, there also exists an exquisite clay bison sculpture from the same period. A bull and cow bison about to mate, the cow ready and the bull scenting the air, can still be seen deep in the cave of Tuc D’Audoubert. The association of Goddess/woman and bison in Palaeolithic art is a particularly strong symbolic image of the shamanistic concept of life and death and suggests lunar mythology of transformation and gestation. [Marija Gimbutas, 1989]. There are many examples of this mythic importance of the bison; Laussel’s goddess being perhaps the most famous, holding her pregnant belly and the 13 lunar month-notched bison horn." (The Abduction of Europa by Rembrant, 1632. Click painting image to expand.)
Posted by Ken Johnston at 10:49 AM
20 April 2012
Hopewell mica cutout remnants found at Ansted, West Virginia
(click photos to expand)
This Hopewell tradition mica was found by Lyn Niday eroding from a path along the Kenawah River at Ansted. Lyn collected what was exposed at the surface and noted the mica appeared to have been cut. Because of the delicate nature of mica in thinner sheets, it is amazing the "lobe" represented by the three sections at right remained in tact. Maybe this mica is a small part of what was a larger piece of art work. The mica is thought to originate in the Carolinas and to have been moved into the Hopewell sphere via a system of trade and exchange.
Hopewell tradition mica cutout artifacts include bird claw and bear tooth icons. The Hopewell are dated from 200 BCE to 500 CE.
This mica was found in the area of the Armstrong expression of the Hopewell interaction sphere. There is an excellent museum at Hopewell Culture National Park at Chillicothe, Ohio
Posted by Ken Johnston at 10:48 AM
18 April 2012
Right human facial profile on a flake, Rick Doninger find, south west Indiana
Coarse stone "birds in flight"
A possible zoomprphic form in flint. Another flint from Rick's site featured an elephant form (trunk curve and eye), a bison, a lion and a human face portrait.
A worked zoomorphic head form (bear-like)
Many tool artifacts recovered from the quarry work shop in Indiana don't easily fit the well known taxonomies of North America. Notice the fully developed knife in center, including handle foretelling of contemporary knife forms. (click photos to expand)
A classic Levallois flake (center) and Clovis point (right of Levallois) and other points represent varied stone working technologies Doninger has identified
Posted by Ken Johnston at 10:47 AM
14 April 2012
Natural mammoth-shaped boulder in Ohio was modified to include a human face mask as similarly identified by Luigi Ciapparoli at Piacenza, Italy
Licking County, Ohio
Boulder with natural mammoth-like trunk curve and mammoth head bump in profile on right side. Patina on left rear of stone indicates a worked, fresher surface, demonstrating the known paleoart face mask motif of "one eye open, one eye closed," often in a moaning or distressed-looking expression as seen here. (click photos to expand)
Luigi Ciapparoli has identified similar works at Piacenza, Italy, and has prepared a Flickr slide show of his finds and interpretations.
The Ohio face mask boulder as discovered by Ken Johnston while driving in Licking County, Ohio, near Buckeye Lake. The face is seen from the side at far left at the back part of the boulder
Posted by Ken Johnston at 11:29 AM
11 April 2012
Bird figure with eye. Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find from the "Old Route 66 zoo" stone sculpture megasite, Jasper County, Missouri
The bird sculpture above "squares off" its body by a horizontal and vertical line truncation creating near 90 degree angles. The Ohio and West Virginia examples below seem to feature the same kind of "squaring" in truncating or framing the bird images. (click photos to expand)
Side 2. This bird sculpture was found in direct association with dozens of other Missouri sculptures
A flaked stone tool found near the sculptures at the "Old Route 66 zoo" site
A "squared off" bird find by Ken Johnston, at Ansted, West Virginia
A "squared off" hanging bird sculpture, Alan Day, Day's Knob, Ohio
07 April 2012
05 April 2012
Washington resident seeks comments regarding suspected stone face figure found at Columbia Park in Kennewick
Greg Martin family find from shore of Columbia River, Kennewick, Washington
I came across your blog when I was searching for information on small rock carvings. I was looking for information that might relate to a suspected face carved on a small stone, found by my daughter’s boyfriend, along the Columbia River, in Columbia Park, near Kennewick, WA in mid-March. It is possible that the features are simply a natural occurrence, but to me the configuration seems to imply some manipulation.
The stone is about 4.5 cm tall by 3 cm wide and 2.5 cm thick (at thickest point). It appears to be water worn as are most of the gravels found along the river and in the region. As with much of the water worn gravels found in this region, it is possible that it was transported here during one of the many cataclysmic Missoula Floods which swept through western Washington and along the Columbia River channel following the last ice age.
I have included four different views of the stone and would be interested in your interpretation and comments, as well as any from readers of your blog. Thank you for considering my submittal.
Greg Martin, Kennewick, WA
I think your intuition is correct about the manipulation of this piece. It seems from the photo the left eye could have a part of the natural stone and the right eye, the nose line and the mouth were added. There is a known motif of "one eye open, one eye closed or missing" in paleoart, so it may be in line with that. Usually the left eye is closed or missing and in your case the hole, or missing eye, is at left side of the face. The faces are usually in a moaning or mouth agape position, so yours is unusual in that it appears content or slightly smiling. I will be happy to post it soon on my blog. I don't get as many comments as I'd like, but I will solicit them on your behalf.
A man named Dennis Boggs from Irrigon, Oregon, I think 40 miles or so downriver from you, sent me his 50 year collection of "stones that looked manipulated" and I have identified a number of "face stones." You can do a site search of "boggs" and see the list of postings. Others in Washington and Oregon have also identified similar material. Your daughter's boyfriend (or you) should return to that same location and look for more possible worked stones with figures because there are almost always more where one is found. You can look at my postings to see some of what may be possible out there. This would at least help you assemble a "cluster of surface finds" and developing context information is so important in archaeology. There is no way to tell without more pieces and a real archaeology effort to determine if they (assuming you find more) are in a place of original deposition or if they have been aggregated by natural processes. I think people are finding them in both situations.
I note you are a scientist and my position is that science needs to be brought to bear on these kinds of anomalous finds. However, I think you might find archaeologists are not too keen on the topic of intended imagery in crude pebbles. I have been diagnosed with pareidolia by so many archaeologists, you'd think they were licensed to practice psychology! It would seem that microscopic evaluation by a competent specialist could determine or rule out human agency on the hundreds of finds being identified by laypersons, even with taxonomies coming to light because of the internet, but archaeology does not have a healthy mechanism to evaluate anomalies- it is not a real scientific enterprise but seems to be a group of gatekeepers who have vested interests in maintaining the status quo.
Thanks for taking time to write and for your photos.
Thank you for your swift reply to my inquiry. I will take your advice and return to the area where the stone was found and see if there are any other examples of manipulated material. The stone was found on the river shore in a highly trafficked area of the Park, actually not that far from where the bones of ‘Kennewick Man’ were found.
One of my hobbies is tumbling stones (usually river rock). My grandkids like the shinny rocks and it stimulates them to ask questions about geology. After handling thousands of local river or water worn rocks over the last few years, I have never come across any with the sort of features which appeared to be human manipulated/created. You can be assured that I will be doing my future collecting with a much more critical eye.
Thanks again for your response.
Does anyone have comments or advice for Greg, or similar finds to this one?
Posted by Ken Johnston at 9:20 AM