31 March 2014

Human "creative explosion" occurred on the order of hundreds, not tens, of thousands of years ago and probably along with the emergence of the genus Homo (J. Feliks)

Homo erectus image on an Acheulean scraper interpreted by Ken Johnston

This Acheulean scraper I noticed in a French Paleolithic tools collection (Calvados, Normandy, West of Paris Basin, est. 550,000 to 300,000 years BP) must be considered for a possible early human facial profile in retouch work on the flint made on a "head-with-neck" shaped stone.

As rock art scholars Robert Bednarik, John Feliks and James Harrod have demonstrated, collecting and creating rock material with meaningful visual properties was well under way by hominins hundreds of thousands of years ago. The capacity for symbol, language, ideological constructs and religion may be observed from nearly two million years ago. The concept of a "human cognitive and creative explosion" around 35,000 years ago is now fully refuted by archaeological evidence presented by these gentlemen. It is time for archaeologists, museums and collectors to re-evaluate even their oldest lithic samples for iconic properties like seen in this example.



What may appear to be "an ordinary tool" may reveal more information to archaeologists when they consider the possibilities of artistic visual properties which have been forsaken to date.


21 March 2014

Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, bird form finds defy probabilities of natural coincidence

This bird form is one of several found in the context of other likely sculptures in the back yard of Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, resident Jeff Vincent. The discovery of multiple bird form stones in such a small area defies probabilities of natural coincidence and points toward motivated human agency.

Side 2 of bird form, from Jeff Vincent

Shaped birds identified by Jeff Vincent

Jeff Vincent collection

This Jeff Vincent bird form was featured in an earlier posting on this blog

18 March 2014

Bird-human combination from The Netherlands

Jan van Es collection, Roermond, The Netherlands
Bird head looking left with full human face on side of bird's head

17 March 2014

"The Venus Britannia. 400,000 B.C." demonstrates potential age of art traditions found in North America


"HERE FOR THE FIRST TIME WE INTRODUCE 400,000 YEAR OLD FIGURINES DISCOVERED IN BRITAIN BY FAMOUS ARCHAEOLOGISTS. THEY ARE HOUSED IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM AND PREVIOUSLY IN ROCHESTER MUSEUM, KENT. THE ARTEFACTS CONTAIN HOMININ FACES, MOTHER GODDESS FIGURINES AND CARVINGS OF ANIMALS, SOME OF WHICH ARE NOW EXTINCT.

THIS BOOK EXPLORES THE FIGURINES FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE MOTHER GODDESS AND SHAMANISM. THROUGH THESE THEY REVEAL THAT IN THE DISTANT PAST BEFORE MODERN HUMANS EVOLVED, THE HOMININ HEIDELBERGENSIS HAD A RELIGIOUS UNDERSTANDING OF AN ALL POWERFUL MOTHER GODDESS AND THAT THIS KNOWLEDGE WAS MANIFESTED IN A FORM OF SHAMANIC WORSHIP AS STILL PRACTICED BY INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS AROUND THE GLOBE TODAY. HOMININ RELIGIOUS PRACTICE IS COMPARED WITH A PARTICULAR STUDY OF THE ANCIENT WAYS OF SIBERIAN SHAMANISM AND ITS USE OF TOTEM ANIMALS.

THE FIGURINES ARE ARTISTICALLY CRAFTED TO A HIGHER STANDARD THAN STONE AGE HUMAN ART AND REVEAL THAT HEIDELBERGENSIS WAS AS INTELLECTUALLY AND MORE ARTISTICALLY EVOLVED THAN EARLY HUMAN POPULATIONS."

Image Copyright (c) J.D. Shaman. Interpreted by Shaman as a human male facial profile facing right and a female facial profile facing left on the opposite side of the same stone. From Britain.

The book by Shaman had a couple of pictures of iconic flints which reminded me of finds made by North American amateur archaeologists such as the "combination figure stone" below from the David Boies Collection. The question here for Archaeology: are the North American art similarities because of a shared art tradition with the "Old World" or an independent convergence?

David Boies find near Austin, Texas, human facial profile looking right 

Bird facing left

Human facial profile looking right

"There are people: Greg Reeder, Jan van Es, Jimmy Groen, Ken Johnston, Alan Day and Don Hitchcock who are actively involved in the study of Paleolithic art. However, there are few others if any who understand the full intricacies that British Lower Palaeolithic combination art from as far back as 400,000 years ago involves..." - J.D. Shaman

13 March 2014

Luigi Chiapparoli has discovered an outcrop which may be depicting a reclining feline atop a mammoth at Piacenza, Italy

Iconic rock outcrop discovered by Luigi Chiapparoli, at Montarsolo, Piacenza, Italy

I was immediately impressed here by an image of a mammoth's head dome emerging from the earth with a feline perched on the mammoth's back which is a North American Paleoart motif described in portable rock art on this blog, including from site 23JP1222.

I think it is likely this discovery made by L. Chiapparoli was a mimetolith, or a rock feature that looked like something "real" to someone in Paleolithic prehistory. The lion atop prey and lion atop mammoth and lion overlooking birds and eggs were visages of idealized imagery which were part of the visual cultures of some Paleolithic peoples. This natural feature resembling a feline on the top of a mammoth head may have been enough to prompt some shaping or further modification or treatment of this feature as symbolically meaningful. It will require study to see if any traces of human work can be found in the details.

Mr. Chiapparoli's site has other examples of iconic outcrops which are likely examples of rock art sculpture.

It seems possible the natural stone outcrops in the area may have significated it as a special place on the landscape and it may help explain the large numbers of portable rock art objects found at the foundations of the fixed landscape art. Perhaps these were locations for ceremonial activities as Chiapparoli has hypothesized.

Ken Johnston illustration of the mammoth head dome and the feline in this interpretation

Piacenza map location

11 March 2014

Human face masks, lion head sculpture and bear figure from the Henri Valentie collection, IÎle d'Oléron, France

 Henri Valentie collection, IÎle d'Oléron, France

H. Valentie writes: "Hello
I appreciate your site I often viewed. I found this stone on the island of Oleron, lower paleo. On this same stone faces two heads. Stone is 1.9kg, 18.4 cm long, 11.5 cm wide, 6.7 cm deep

 Pebble masquette, Henri Valentie collection, IÎle d'Oléron, France

The Vincenzo Tupputi collection from the east coast of Italy includes many examples of "masquettes" on pebbles like this one identified by H. Valentie.

Pebble masquettes are also found in North America as seen in this example identified as a worked pebble face from the Mahoning River valley, Canfield, Ohio, by Allen V. Deibel. Both the Ohio and France masquettes have an exaggerated, cartoonish looking, nose.

Henri Valentie collection, IÎle d'Oléron, France
Lion head sculpture looking left: length 15.5 cm, width 12 cm, depth 7 cm.

Compare Henri Valenti's identification of a lion head figure to the lion head sculpture identified by Charles Belart at Wimeraux, France.

Bear: length 36 cm, width 13 cm, depth 4 cm.
Carved into the limestone, bear and lion were found on the same site at the edge of sea shore

These pieces were found on the site of the lion and bear: 1 sided lower and middle Paleo Paleo neo blade knife back Neolithic perforated shell and a human head? The head is pierced through.

Sincerely
Mr Henri Valentie"

Ken Johnston markup of the lion head profile looking left (pink eye, red mouth, natural black nose) and his interpretation of a smiling human skull facing the opposite direction. Click on the photos to expand and toggle to compare markup lines to worked stone features. The combination of feline and human imagery like this may be reflective of an ideologically significant paradox of the lion as a human predator and provider of prey in the form of carcasses and bones humans could exploit for nutrition.

Possible horse figure from Missouri site

Animal figure, possibly horse, Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, Jasper County, Missouri. Site number 23JP1222, "The Old Route 66 Zoo," a figurative art megasite producing many dozens of iconic figures as seen on this blog.


06 March 2014

Bird-human and horse head optical illusion sculpture from Ohio has comparable composition to Colorado example, despite being made of very different stone material


Artifact find from Alan Day's registered archaeological site 33GU218, Guernsey County, Ohio. The sculpture stands upright in this position on a flat base.

The Ohio sculpture is made on a sandstone panel while the Colorado example in the prior posting was made on jasper. Even though they appear to be unrelated objects based on their outward appearance, they are related compositions, demonstrating what may be considered a North American artistic convention where the back of bird (wing) is composed of a horse head facing opposite the bird.

Jan van Es markup illustration on the photo shows a horse head looking to the left, with the bird-human looking to the right. This smaller horse head may be seen as one of two horse heads, where the larger head extends to the left edge of the stone and includes the image of the smaller one.

Artifact from Kostenki I site, Don River valley Russia, ca. 40,000 years before present
Source: Arctic Anthropology, Vol. 7, No. 2 (1970), pp. 129-136

Close up of the Guernsey County, Ohio, bird's human-like head looking right to compare to artifact from Europe pictured and illustrated above.