03 June 2016

Arkfeld Site iconic handaxe displays symbolic marking convention linking it to Eurasian figure stone examples

'Large iconic handaxe on a giant unifacial flake"
Adam Arkfeld find, Clear Brook, Virginia

This is a very interesting tool specimen ( a "slipper" axe) with what I interpret to be iconic properties, largely because of the 'feline' sense I get when I look at this side of the artifact under these lighting conditions and can see the possible human modification to the handaxe to feature an iconic image. It compares favorably to other crude cat representations I have come across over the years. The two incised lines terminating at their meeting at a position approximating the bridge of the feline nose is a visual trigger to us that this is indeed a cat and it has been given a required element of life, a nose.

I interpret a feline face representation "nested" within the frame of the handaxe. Two eyes have been worked. There are two incised lines which terminate at their end points to form a ^ or carat shape in the approximate area of the bridge of the lion's nose. A feline-like muzzle has been created with a notch on the stone in the center bottom.


Side 2 of this large unifacial piece

Sri Lankan and Romanian examples. These figure stones from Eurasia have been featured earlier on this blog and demonstrate the artistic convention of incising two lines to create a V or ^ shaped nose to disambiguate or animate face icons.

Arkfeld Site close up photo of incised "nose indicator" symbol

I propose The Arkfeld Site example displaying the same artistic nose marking convention links it to Eurasian peoples through a symbol-making cultural tradition.

I wrote in the posting last year "I have suspected the common artificial application of nose and nostril details on many figure stones seen on this blog may have been a way for Stone Age peoples to add a symbolic 'breath of life' to the rocks."

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