30 September 2016

Possible human face in left 3/4 profile incorporated into an Acheulean graver at ca. 400,000 years ago in England

Acheulean graver, private collection, England, ca. 400,000 years before present.
Human face in left 3/4 profile incorporated into the cortex of the artifact.

Close up of the as if smiling face on the graver's cortex. This appears to be an 'animated tool in the Acheulean tradition.'

29 September 2016

Life-size human head sculpture in 'left eye missing with distortion to left side of the face' art motif from Arkfeld Site

 Life-size human head sculpture in 'left eye missing with distortion to left side of the face' art motif from Arkfeld Site, Clear Brook, Virginia

Illustration of the Arkfeld Site human head in the 'left eye missing with distortion to left side of the face' art motif compared to  an example from the France coast featured a couple of postings ago. The Virginia sculpture appears to a have a tongue feature in its mouth which I have illustrated in red. As mentioned first in 2012, I think this motif is illustrating a lion's bite to the left side of the face in a moment of horror and causing a disfiguring injury. This 'meme' was likely a part of folk tale culture, a mythology or the religious beliefs of many early peoples.

Mousterian artifact from Germany as seen at originsnet.org for motif comparison to Virginia example. Photographer © Walther Matthes. Matthes, W. (1969). Eiszeitkunst im Nordseeraum. Otterndorf, Gr: Niederelbe-Verlag; (1964/1965). Bild 62.

26 September 2016

Two remarkably similar animal head figure stones with mouths agape from The Old Route 66 Zoo portable rock art site

Two remarkably similar animal head figure stones with mouths agape. The Old Route 66 Zoo Site, #23JP1222. Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber finds near Joplin, Missouri.

Animal head figure stone with mouth agape

Two stones of similar material found in close proximity which look like animal heads, of similar size and left profile orientation, have open 'mouths' and which have 'eye' divots in the right positions (all together a shared motif) can inform us with confidence that Stone Age human agency with culturally-mediated artistic motivation was involved here.

These seem to be possible 'turtle head' representations to me.

Messrs. Dodd and Weber have detected hundreds of iconic stones like this at their mega portable rock art site which one would think should be of great interest to a real Archaeological Science.

25 September 2016

Three standing bird sculptures from Arkfeld Site field work this week add to growing aviary from this Virginia rock art mega-site

Paleolithic art bird sculpture
Arkfeld Site, #44FK731, Clear Brook, Virginia

Three standing bird sculptures from Arkfeld Site this week adds to growing flying flock from this rock art mega-site. These were found in close association and dozens of other bird figures and sculptures have been found in the small area of the several acre site and presented on this blog.

Two-sided bird sculpture with simple wings details in relief on both sides.

This sculpture is engineered to balance on its base while presenting the long, extended neck of the bird away from the body. It looks like it would tip forward but it does not, almost in an optical illusion or demonstration of the artist's skill. Perhaps a bird at water's edge preparing to take a bite of something? Click photos to expand.
Adam Arkfeld notes tail feathering serrations in this classic portable rock art bird figure. These artifacts may have both iconic and tool attributes.

24 September 2016

Mammoth and wolf head at once

'Mammoth facing head left and wolf head facing right'
Arkfeld Site, Clear Brook, Virginia

The sculpture combines imagery of the mammoth and the wolf in one sophisticated view. There are clear intentional removals to create the mammoth's curved trunk definition. There is a nice divot still remaining on the sculpture in an artistically correct place for a 'wolf eye.' The sculpture has a perfectly flat base which presents it in correct orientation.

In addition to mammoths often being paired with human faces on their posteriors, there are other motif examples like this one where animals like felines or bison are present. This is the first canine and mammoth combination I have seen. This is one of several dozens of mammoth sculptures from the Arkfeld Site.

Prepared core lithic reduction technology was used to create this Levallois-like point at Arkfeld Site. It is a nice pyramid form.

This is the surface that was detached from the core

19 September 2016

Squared-off stone plaquette has child-like soft human facial profile worked on its edge

'Human right facial profile'
Arkfeld Site, Clear Brook, Virginia, #44FK731 

Squared-off stone plaquette has child-like soft human facial profile worked on its lower right edge. The top and bottom edges as seen here appear to have been manufactured using a "bend-break" technique where the stone is snapped to break it into a smaller size.

Site owner Adam Arkfeld has identified so many worked iconic stones like this in a relatively small area that in most cases the possibility of paradolic interpretations has been significantly reduced if not eliminated.  After all, context in archaeology is paramount.

Arkfeld Site from the air at Clear Brook in northern Virginia. The West Virginia "sawtooth" is just a mile east of the site.

18 September 2016

Pierre-figure from the France Atlantic coast depicts one-eyed face 'mask' combined with a lion head like Flint Ridge, Ohio, examples

Henri Valentie find, France Atlantic Coast

"Hello, This human illustration shows a man screaming or a dead man (mouth open). If you turn the piece an animal head is observed. Dimensions : 7 / 5.5 / 4 cm. Piece collected on the island of Oléron on a Lower Paleolithic site. Cordially, Henri"

Animal head looking right interpreted by Henri Valentie

Ken Johnston illustration of the animal head. The right eye is distinctly incised as two lines which terminate at their meeting point. I think this is a depiction of a feline head with an 'open mouth.'

Ken Johnston illustration of a general distortion to the left side of the sculpted face mask on this figure stone which is affected by the harsh "gash" treatment of the left eye and a "gash" removal of part of the face under the eye (in the circle above). This kind of face mask with 'missing left eye' and distortion to the left side of the face in seen in many examples by finders in Europe and North America on this blog.

Because of a compound sculpture (lion head and human head pieces which 'interlock') I found together on my property on a former glacial terminus swamp at Buckeye Lake, Ohio and other examples like this one, I think the feline icons are related to the distorted face by implying a 'lion bite to the head' in a moment of horror.

Paleolithic art author Guthrie illustrates an engraving from a rock at the site at Gourdan, France, which is a variation of the "lion bite to the head" memes found at Isle de Oleron by Mr. Valentie here and seen in the Ohio example of the ball-in-socket interlocking human and lion heads which stand upright together. Image from page 175, The Nature of Paleolithic Art, R. Dale Guthrie.

15 September 2016

Polymorphic symbolism in an Acheulean cleaver at ca. 400,000 years before present nullifies popular idea of a human "creative explosion" 40,000 years ago

'Feline, mammoth, wisent and human polymorphic sculpture' interpreted by Ken Johnston. Acheulean cleaver, ca. 450,000 to 400,000 BP, private collection, France

When I saw this photo I recognized the artifact followed a subtle and simple template for a feline head (looking left here) as seen in many other examples on this blog. Eye, nose and mouth features are illustrated. The 'mouth' of the lion is the bit edge of the cleaver and the possible symbolism and irony is noted.

The presence of the mammoth icon at the back of the feline head (or the feline head at the posterior of the mammoth) is illustrated.

A cut out of the head of an interpreted 'wisent' or European wood bison facing right which is nested together with the mammoth's head. The wisent and the mammoth share the same worked eye feature in the stone. The left eye of the human (see below) is the dark muzzle of the wisent. These two creatures are intertwined throughout Paleolithic art and are related to humans by their combinations in polymorphic sculptures like this.

It is long past time for Archaeology to recognize the significant amounts of cultural information which may have been recorded in stone materials in the most subtle and sophisticated ways by our early ancestors. 

Human face carving illustrated in lower right of stone as pictured here

A human face is carved on the lower part of the mammoth's head and trunk. The human, mammoth and wisent are all depicted together opposite the cleaver's bit on what would be the 'handle' of the tool. The predator has its place opposite its three prey species.

13 September 2016

Human "tall head" in left profile with neck, shoulder and flaked facial details of nose and chin with carved eye and mouth

Adam Arkfeld find, Clear Brook, Virginia, among many dozen human head sculptures.

The contour of the face line here has been chipped to form and the eye and mouth parts of the stone have been humanly carved.

Side 2 of this plaquette exhibits two anthropomorphic facial profiles Janus-faced, looking right and left.

Props of pipe at mouth and penny at eye to facilitate interpretation of two of the four human head forms in this sculpture.

12 September 2016

A stone with deeply incised lines on three sides from The Arkfeld Site

A stone with deeply incised lines on three sides from The Arkfeld Site
Adam Arkfeld find, Clear Brook, Virginia, site #44FK731




This point found by Adam Arkfeld on his property looks to have a pecked-out fluting treatment.


08 September 2016

Arkfeld Site human head sculpture in left profile

Arkfeld Site human head sculpture in left profile
Adam Arkfeld find, Clear Brook, Virginia, site #44FK731

07 September 2016

A stone doll in fetal position from Missouri rock art site

Stone doll human depiction in fetal position with skull face looking left
Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, The Old Route 66 Zoo, site #23JP1222

Illustration showing the interpreted legs with knees at chest and arm raised to the head with eyes and mouth marks showing the worked features. Stacy Dodd illustrates the piece using D-stretch rock art photo processing. The red coloration on the figure's 'head' may depict a wound. The overall depiction may be a human in fetal position with arm raised up to a head wound.
"Limb flexion is also characteristic of Late Middle Paleolithic burials. Legs are usually strongly flexed while hands are placed either near the head or lap. This is often described as the 'fetal position.' This was not accidental nor was it the most convenient way to lay out a corpse. It requires forethought, effort, and a degree of haste to lay out the body before the onset of rigor mortis."  (page 189, The Origins of Religion in the Paleolithic, Gregory J. Wightman, Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.)
Neanderthal flexed burial from The Old World

06 September 2016

'Lower Paleolithic human head carving' from Île d'Oléron, France

'Lower Paleolithic human head carving'
Henri Valentie find, Île d'Oléron, France

 The carved human head likeness in left profile views

A biface found at the same location

Mr. Valentie's France find compared to an anthropomorphic Paleolithic sculpture on the cover of this book by Pietro Gaietto.