12 April 2014

Arkfeld site in Virginia reports portable rock art and carved ivory in current issue of Pleistocene Coalition News

Adam Arkfeld find, near Clear Brook, Virginia, registered site #44FK732

Landowner and amateur archaeologist Adam Arkfeld with assistance of Jack Hranicky, RPA (Register of Professional Archaeologists), recently reported on this possible engraved stone among many suspected art objects from the Arkfeld farm site in Pleistocene Coalition News. The art objects described from the site include a suspected (fossil bone) figure with what appears to be a carved horse's head as well as many other horse-like objects.

Without consideration of the possible engraved lines interpreted by Mr. Arkfeld, the overall outline shape of this stone is here interpreted as representing the profile head of a feline joined with the profile head of a bird. The joining of animals in this manner has been described by Paleolithic art author Pietro Gaietto. The feline is facing left and bird is facing right. A markup I made on the photo here illustrates how the two creatures are joined at the back of their heads.

From site #23JP1222 in Missouri in a posting April 5, 2014 on this blog, also interpreted as a feline head looking left joined with a bird head looking right. The Arkfeld site #44FK732 find may be seen as analogous to the site #23JP1222 find.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ken...

    It's interesting that Jack Hranicky has now jumped on the portable rock art bandwagon: "Another art form is stone sculpturing, which includes engraving and working limestone into images." When I showed him some good examples of this at a conference in 2005 he laughingly dismissed the possibility. Nice that he's now "discovered" the phenomenon at the Arkfeld site. This promising site certainly deserves professional investigation, including assessment by a qualified geomorphologist, given its problematic stratigraphy. Maybe it's "pre-Clovis", maybe not...

    I hope there are more convincing iconographic artifacts in the assemblage than are shown in the article, although the top one shown seems to be at least a real candidate. As seen in the photo, the discontinuities in the rock look natural, but the stone's appearance may well have attracted the attention of someone long ago, inspiring intentional enhancement. Rotated 180 degrees, it seems to have the typical and very common abstract bird-like appearance, with the likewise common protuberance (lighter in color and perhaps artificially abraded here?) at the posterior, often clearly representing another creature emerging egg-like.

    An increasingly popular fallacy evident in the article is the notion that extreme simplicity in lithic artifacts equals extreme antiquity. People have always just used whatever is available, as needed. Simple unifacial tools often appear in direct context with artifacts diagnostic as being as recent as Late Prehistoric. Likewise, Figure Stones clearly incorporating "old world" motifs appear in contexts at least as recent as Early Woodland.

    Regards, Alan Day

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