29 January 2014

Austin, Texas, bird-form has human face depiction on its back with another bird head form serving as the human's nose


The overall shape of the stone is a bird form in left profile

A human face on the bird's back, where the human's chin serves as the tail of the larger bird. A smaller protruding bird head form serves as the nose of the human.

Mark Jones find, Piney Point, Maryland, depicting a view of a vulture from behind with a human face depicted on its back and tail was featured in an earlier posting on this blog. The human's chin is the end of the bird's tail, just like in Mr. Boies Texas example. 

The Maryland and Texas objects are made in the same culturally-mediated tradition, despite being found 1300 miles apart. 

28 January 2014

Researcher Alan Day reports confirmed human agency on Ohio limestone bird-form with input of a geologist/petrologist in article in "Ohio Archaeologist"

Image of limestone bird-form from a poster presentation made by Alan Day at the International Rock Art Congress held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2013. Photos by Alan Day. 

Independent portable rock art (figure stone) researcher Alan Day of Cambridge, Ohio, has confirmed human agency on stone figures at hilltop sites in Guernsey and Muskingum Counties, Ohio. Day co-authored a recent article in Ohio Archaeologist with petrologist Dr. Eric Law about a limestone-bird form.

Most all archaeologists do not have the expertise to fully evaluate conditions of human agency the way a geologist/petrologist (rock formation specialist) is able to. Archaeology should acknowledge its general limitations in this area and should begin to defer to a scientific approach to evaluating artifact status as Mr. Day has done.

However, Day's article shows Ohio Historical Society archaeologists have no interest in pursuing the subject of stones with iconic properties despite Ohio having a large number of examples reported by amateurs. They must have already determined they do not exist or they are not important to the development of archaeological knowledge in the Buckeye state. They would be wrong on both counts.

Image and text from the journal Ohio Archaeologist, published by The Archaeological Society of Ohio. Copies of Ohio Archaeologist are available from the Society. VOLUME 63 NO. 4, FALL 2013, pp. 37-38. The quote is attributed to article co-author Dr. Eric Law, professor of geology and petrology at Muskingum University, New Concord, Ohio.

22 January 2014

Polyiconic mammoth sculpture is third such example to date from 23JP1222

Mammoth sculpture identified by Stacy Dodd, and Rod Weber, The Old Route 66 Zoo, 23JP1222
Jasper County, Missouri

Ken Johnston illustration of his interpretation of a running lion figure depicted in bas relief on the side of the mammoth sculpture. The lion and mammoth have a "shared tail."  Shared body elements like this are commonplace in polyiconic sculptures of the Stone Age. (click photos to toggle and compare)

Running lion silhouette approximates the interpreted bas relief form illustrated above

Close-up view of the lion's head (facing left)

Scholars interested in American rock art can no longer deny the presence of figure stones here and must establish a new focus on iconographic portable rock art. Archaeologists who do not bring portable rock art expertise to their multi-disciplinary teams will continue to destroy their sites and leave behind the most important information available about the pre-historic peoples they seek to learn more about.  

Mammoth sculpture 1: identified as having 2 bison images on its back and a lion head on the mammoth's trunk

 Mammoth sculpture 2: identified as having a lion glyph incorporated into its back 

Mammoth sculpture 3: featured in this article, identified as having a running lion figure on its side, sharing the tail of the mammoth as its own tail

20 January 2014

Fish figure with "eye" from the Upper Rogue River valley, Oregon, is compared to Russian and Ohio examples

Fish figure collected and identified by Shelly Kaye, Upper Rogue River, Oregon


This figure was found outside of any supportive context but recognized as a "fish" by Shelly. The imagery compares favorably to the 2nd of the three fish from Siberia in the illustration below. Even though not from an archaeological context which could be detected by the finder, objects such as this may provide other ways to indicate artificiality. 
Illustration of Siberian example

This Oregon figure has a dark spot as the eye which may be evidence of pigment application as is seen in other portable rock art examples. Perhaps these residues can be tested. It may be that something similar to a "birch bark resin manufacturing process" was used to develop the pigment which would confirm this as an artifact. Birch bark resin was used by Neanderthals for glue and is thought to be the earliest synthetic material made by humans identified to date. Eyes are also made by grinding on stones or exploiting natural stone inclusions.


16 January 2014

Horse head sculpture from Missouri site

Interpreted by Ken Johnston as a horse head sculpture from The Old Route 66 Zoo site, 23JP1222, Jasper County, Missouri. From a dense context of iconographic artifacts identified by Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber as seen on this blog. Mammoth, horse and bison were favorite fauna for Paleolithic hunters in North America and portable rock art images of all have been identified from this Missouri archaeological site.

10 January 2014

Mammoth sculpture from site 23JP1222 has now faint lion glyph incorporated into its back, which along with other examples demonstrates a Paleolithic art theme

Identified as a mammoth sculpture by Stacy Dodd. From 23JP1222, "The Old Route 66 Zoo" site near Joplin, Missouri, Rod Weber, landowner. This is the second mammoth sculpture from "The Zoo" featured on this blog.

This artifact presents a fairly simple "big picture" icon of a mammoth form where the entire perimeter of the stone in this view resembles the profile of a mammoth- in a seemingly simple cookie-cutter outline. This art object depicts two extinct Pleistocene creatures, mammoth and American Lion.

Missouri Archaeological Inventory site OR66Z "The Old Route 66 Zoo" This amateur discovered archaeological site has produced many dozen examples of deliberately worked iconographic flint and limestone objects and is available for professional archaeological investigation. It is a palaeoart megasite which presents a unique in situ opportunity for archaeologists and art scholars.

(click photos to toggle and compare original to markup)

Faint lines faded with age in the soil can still be detected and define the body of the lion interpreted by Ken Johnston, including rear leg and tail. The definition of the lion's body has been etched into the stone. Several art pieces with this motif have been seen on this blog, enough to establish "lion atop mammoth/human/bison" as recurring depictions in United States portable rock art.

Labels of the worked stone features composing the lion head image

Lion's head looking right. This is a depiction of the now extinct American Lion, Panthera leo atrox. Actual size in microsculpture is about 2cm.

Reconsruction of now extinct American Lion head as depicted in stone above

Some early Americans may have had paradoxical relationships with lions, where humans lived in constant vigilance against predation and surprise attacks by lions while at the same time being dependent on lion kills of fauna to leave flesh and marrow meats behind the humans could exploit for nutrition.

08 January 2014

African Acheulean beaked tool on a bird shaped stone is similar to U.S.A. finds

This stone has an appearance reminiscent of a perched bird. Such similarities would not have gone unnoticed among our ancestors. Acheulean, est. 600,000 to 100,000 BP. Sahara Desert, North Africa. This piece is 5.5" long, 3.25" wide, over 1.5" thick and weighs 20 ounces. 

The bird form with a natural beak inspired the toolmaker-artist to prepare the stone with a sharp edge on the beak, creating a graver, and remove additional stone likely to help accommodate the grip of a hand.

Flint Ridge, Ohio, bird sculpture is a tool with a yellow beak-graver and an excurvate knife at the crest of its head

Flint Ridge, Ohio, tool in the form of a bird figure

Bird form gravers: Oregon example at left, Ohio example at right

Licking County, Ohio: Interpreted by Ken Johnston as a coarse stone tool with a sharp edge fashioned as the head of a turkey vulture. The nostril accurately represents the one on the real bird.

Possible symbolism with these bird beak tools may recognize the bird's beak as the "tool" it uses to emerge from its egg.

03 January 2014

Archaeologists snooze while Austin, Texas, amateur discovers "One eye open, other eye closed" figure stone (with added nostrils) among dozens of portable rock art objects

David Boies find, Westlake, Texas

A representation of the figure's right eye may be seen in the eye socket. The left eye is depicted differently, suggesting a closed, damaged or missing eye. The left side of the figure's face is distorted as is seen in so many other examples and the mouth is given an emotional expression by selective removal of a hunk of stone from the lower left side of the face.

The figure stone has been given two nostrils by the Stone Age artist. This may be symbolic of the artist's desire to "animate the stone with the breath of life."


"My name is David Boies and I have studied Native Americans and their cultures for over forty years. As any portable rock art enthusiast will attest, trying to get the academic world to look at something in a different way is difficult at best and impossible when you propose something altogether new. The people that carved these were very skilled craftsmen and excellent artisans with a deep reverence for nature. These artifacts hold an immense amount of knowledge to be gleaned by the professionals but getting them to admit they exist is the first step."

These kinds of small figure stones have been well documented by archaeologist Jan van Es of The Netherlands. Jan has shared many photographs with me over a few years and I can say this figure stone has very remarkable similarity to the Dutch material from the Lower and Middle Paleolithic sites he has worked. Many of Jan's photos may be seen in postings on this blog.

The "one eye open, other eye closed" motif is a meme originating in the Acheulean/Late Acheulean time frame and its presence throughout North America requires an accounting by archaeological science. To date, it is being ignored or denied without the benefit of any intellectual effort on the part of those whose duty it is to address such anomalies.

01 January 2014

Sculpture of human head left profile combined with a one-eyed skull from site 23JP1222, "The Old Route 66 Zoo"

Sculpture of human head left profile combined with one-eyed skull depiction

Ken Johnston interpretation of human head looking left

Ken Johnston interpretation of human skull looking straight on. The skull is depicted as missing its mandible or jaw bone. The right eye of the human looking left becomes the left eye of the "one eye open, other eye shut or missing" skull.

In this illustration the one-eyed skull image is isolated

A human skull with a red line demonstrating maxilla without upper teeth

Here is another example of a jawless skull depicted on a human head sculpture, part of the seven sculpture hoard discovered by Ken Johnston on the shore of a former glacial swamp, Licking County, Ohio. Like the Missouri example, the skull is depicted as having a symbolic missing left eye expressed as a larger open area like that of an empty eye socket. The red line markup in the photo represents the toothless maxilla.

"A happy new year to everybody and for the real scientists: a good start to open your eyes and your mind for ever"

Jan van Es, The Netherlands