27 December 2013

Mousterian iconographic art lurks unrecognized within objects Archaeology has interpreted exclusively as tools

"Face mask hand axe"
From Verberie, OISE (60north, Paris France), 11 x 6 cm--4.2 x 2.3 in.
ca. 300,000 to 40,000 BP

This French Mousterian hand axe has been worked to incorporate imagery of the "one eye open, other eye closed or missing" motif on this side and a subtle human facial profile on the obverse side. An inclusion in the stone serves as the right "eye" and the maker of the hand axe has retained a part of the stone's cortex as the left "eye" and the "nose." The result is a "face mask hand axe."

Side 2: It should not be difficult for archaeologists and collectors to identify potential iconographic objects among their artifacts if time is taken to examine them very closely. I would consider my interpretation of a face on the edge here as "weak" but the relative clarity of intent of the maker to invoke the "one eye" motif make it worth reporting the observation here.

Side 2 may also have a "face mask" representation

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