02 October 2013

Ohio artifact centered on a white inclusion in the stone has a "fish mouth" aspect on its edge, similar to a France example

 Flint Ridge, Ohio, flake tool centered on white inclusion with possible iconography
 
This flake tool stood out at a Flint Ridge quarry and workshop location as having a very old appearing patina and it looked to have been set up on a prepared core so as to center the flake on a white inclusion in the stone. When I later studied the flake I noticed what could be horse head imagery and showed it to Brennah, age 10, who happens to ride at an equestrian center on Flint Ridge. She said it had a "fish's mouth." Her mom looked at it and confirmed the "horse's mouth" was more like a fish mouth to her.
 
The possible horse imagery I perceive on this flake is approximated by this photograph of a modern day Andalusian. I think there is a high risk of pareidolia with this observation but I am documenting it in the event it could be a pattern that bears out in future suspected figurative portable rock art works. There is a small hole on the artifact in the place of a horse's nostril and such elements are suspected to have been used by Stone Age artists to animate or bring symbolic life to stone art figures. This supports the idea that a horse image may have been created or recognized in prehistory.
 
The combination of a horse head image with a fishy mouth may not seem to make any sense to us today as an intended figure but in photos in the prior posting Jan van Es has described a combination of horse, fish and human imagery on the same stone from an "Old world" site. This combination of horse and fish may have had a symbolic meaning to ancient peoples and may be a kind motif to be on the look out for in portable rock art analysis. As van Es has written, a "shadow language" from our human past is available for our discovery and study. What might be perceived as only tools by conventional Archaeology may also be found to have significantly informative iconic properties upon re-visitation and a new consideration.
 
Mousterian handaxe from France centered on a white patch of cortex left on the stone, also having a "fish mouth" aspect on its edge at right which is somewhat similar to the "fish mouth" on the Ohio artifact. Of course perhaps a coincidence or my own projection of a perceived similarity but perhaps a recurring subtle iconic form to be aware of in portable rock art studies. I found the France example while looking for artifacts centered on white inclusions like the Ohio example and noticed the similar fish mouth feature on it. A coincidental observation but is the appearance of these similar forms on the worked edges of two artifacts a clue that there might be more such icons yet unrecognized?

Ohio flake turned 45 degrees left is centered on a white spot in the stone and a has a "fish mouth aspect" on its edge like the France handaxe example. 

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