30 January 2017

Mammoth, feine and human combination standing sculpture from Missouri

Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, The Old Route 66 Zoo, Site #23JP1222 near Joplin, Missouri

Interpreted features on the rock which invoked the mammoth imagery for the artist and audience: Head bump and back hump typical of the mammoth, symbolic eye, ear and tusk, intentional separation of the two front legs by an incised line.

 I interpret a feline face at the base of the mammoth's right front leg

Close-up of the feline face with illustration of the stone features. The cat's muzzle is made in "martini glass form," the same simple line drawing used today.

I interpret a human-like face carving on the 'hump' of the mammoth's back.

A carving on the sculpture of a quasi-human face in the art motif of 'human at posterior of mammoth" which has been well-documented in North America on this blog.
Sharing the world with mammoths, cave lions and other beings: linking animal-human interactions and the Aurignacian “belief world”
ABSTRACT
This paper outlines a “symbolic ecology” for the Aurignacian of Central and Southwestern Germany. Drawing upon data derived from cultural anthropology, psychology and zoobiology, we compare the sociocultural modalities of “managing” the recurrent theme of the mammoth and the cave lion with the encounter and interaction conditions underlying these two specific animal-human relations in the glacial landscapes of the European Early Upper Palaeolithic. We propose that being-in-the-world as highly mobile hunter-gatherers living in open and densely populated “animal-landscapes” strongly promotes non-Cartesian understandings of the animal-human interface, ultimately favouring notions of co-habitation, proximity and social intimacy. By reviewing key aspects of mammoth and cave lion ethology and socioecology, we point out the natural significance and relevance of these animals for human forager groups operating in the same environments. Moreover, we argue that this “natural significance” is directly reflected in the archaeological signature of the Central and Southwestern German Aurignacian that assigns these creatures a pre-eminent place in its material culture repertoire – for instance in craftsmanship, subsistence and settlement organisation and thus in areas deeply anchored in every-day practice. Although there is a clear convergence between the natural prominence of these animals and their sociocultural salience, different eco-behavioural profiles of mammoth and cave lion seem to have motivated varying modalities to engage with them materially. This, in turn, suggests different trajectories of constructing the animal-human interface and therefore a different “status” of both animals in the wider “Glaubenswelt” (belief world) of Aurignacian regional communities. The deep entrenchment of both animals in the sociocultural world as well as the rather unique interaction conditions they offer to human co-dwellers point to the social importance of mammoths and cave lions and thus to animistic and essentially relational ontologies. This, finally, demonstrates the blurring of the Cartesian boundary between animal and human domains and intro-duces the possibility of pondering aspects of “animal-personhood” in this part of the Aurignacian world. We conclude our survey by discussing some critical implications that arise when reading the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition from the perspective of animal-human interactions and the entanglement of ontologies and material signatures.

29 January 2017

A jasper human head figure from The Netherlands with human modifications

 Jan van Es collection, Roermond, The Netherlands

The human may be depicted here wearing hair/hat or cap as is seen in many other Lower and Middle Paleolithic stone figures found and documented by Van Es.

Van Es illustrates some of the removals made to sculpt the face




This figure may be in the motif I have described as 'left eye missing with distortion to the left side of the face symbolic of a lion bite to the head.'

23 January 2017

Acheulian 'animated handaxe' from Menashe Hills, Isreal

'Smiling left 3/4 profile stone portrait'
Acheulian of the Menashe Hills, Israel

This iconic sculptural artifact has two 'eyes' as protruding bumps, a 'nose', 'smiling mouth,' 'jawline,' 'chin' and 'neck.'

 Side 2 of another Acheulian tool with iconic properties- 'an animated handaxe'

21 January 2017

Human head statuette from Arkfeld Site

'Human head statuette' stands upright on a flat base
Arkfeld Site, #44FK731, Clear Brook, Virginia

18 January 2017

Exotic manuported stone 130,000 years ago may be a feline head profile

Interpreted by Ken Johnston as a 'Lion head profile looking left'
Exotic manuported biopelmicritic grey limestone, 130,000 years ago
Krapina cave Neanderthal site, Croatia, David Frayer, University of Kansas

Ken Johnston illustration of the locations of key elements of the 'lion head'

I think this stone was likely a figurative likeness of a feline head to the persons(s) who brought it into the cave. I think it requires extremely close petrological examination to rule out human modification. The 'nose' looks like it could have been distressed for contrast, the 'eye' is a possible area of removal and from under the nose to the back of the 'chin' it looks like a flake removal with ripples in the flint as if the cat's whiskers. It is not unusual for a feline portable rock art (sculpture) to have a dis-ambiguating well-defined or exaggerated chin and this one could be so interpreted.
None of the 1,000 lithic items collected from Krapina resemble the rock, but despite this it was overlooked for decades.
The discovery of the rock collection may not be as exciting to many people when compared with other discoveries such as cave paintings made by modern humans living in what is now France, 25,000 years ago. However, Professor Frayer said it adds to a body of evidence that Neanderthals were capable assigning symbolic significance to objects and went to the effort of collecting them. The discovery could also provide more clues as to how modern humans developed these traits, he said. 'It adds to the number of other recent studies about Neanderthals doing things that are thought to be unique to modern Homo sapiens,' he said. 'We contend they had a curiosity and symbolic-like capacities typical of modern humans.' Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4127934/Neanderthals-liked-home-decorating-too.html#ixzz4W7YxUlSh


A. Croatia example of 'lion head profile looking left' compared with three examples of suspected lion head figures from Ohio, USA, which were made on a similar artistic visual 'template' or 'scheme' and on very exotic and beautiful lithic materials.

06 January 2017

Epi-Gravettian obsidian tool collection includes a human head figure

'Obsidian human head profile looking left'

Set of obsidian tools from France. Retouched flakes, blades, scrapers. Upper Paleolithic, epi-Gravettian, 20,700-18,600 years before present. The human head likeness is pictured at lower right.

04 January 2017

A standing mammoth and lion head combination sculpture from The Old Route 66 Zoo suggests an Aurignacian-like belief system for North America

'Mammoth body silhouette facing left and lion head facing right'
Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, site #23JP1222

Illustration of the mammoth head and trunk curvature and the locations of the lion's 'eye' and 'mouth.' Please note there is likely some remaining dark pigment at the circled eye location.

This lion head is created in line with a scheme, or template, which has been identified for a number of suspected lion head sculptures on this blog. This, along with the mammoth-like form opposing it leads me to conclude this is an intended sculpture which was manufactured to stand upright in correct orientation. Note the attention given to shaping the lion's distinctive 'chin,' which also serves as the mammoth's 'rear leg.'

A reproduction of a North American lion head shown next to the Missouri mammoth and lion head sculpture for comparison

I propose sculptures like this combining mammoth and lion forms suggest a North American Pleistocene "belief world" somewhat analogous to one in the Aurignacian period (ca. 34,000 to 29,000 years ago) in central and southern Germany as described in a paper by Hussain and Floss (2015).
Sharing the world with mammoths, cave lions and other beings: linking animal-human interactions and the Aurignacian “belief world”
ABSTRACT
This paper outlines a “symbolic ecology” for the Aurignacian of Central and Southwestern Germany. Drawing upon data derived from cultural anthropology, psychology and zoobiology, we compare the sociocultural modalities of “managing” the recurrent theme of the mammoth and the cave lion with the encounter and interaction conditions underlying these two specific animal-human relations in the glacial landscapes of the European Early Upper Palaeolithic. We propose that being-in-the-world as highly mobile hunter-gatherers living in open and densely populated “animal-landscapes” strongly promotes non-Cartesian understandings of the animal-human interface, ultimately favouring notions of co-habitation, proximity and social intimacy. By reviewing key aspects of mammoth and cave lion ethology and socioecology, we point out the natural significance and relevance of these animals for human forager groups operating in the same environments. Moreover, we argue that this “natural significance” is directly reflected in the archaeological signature of the Central and Southwestern German Aurignacian that assigns these creatures a pre-eminent place in its material culture repertoire – for instance in craftsmanship, subsistence and settlement organisation and thus in areas deeply anchored in every-day practice. Although there is a clear convergence between the natural prominence of these animals and their sociocultural salience, different eco-behavioural profiles of mammoth and cave lion seem to have motivated varying modalities to engage with them materially. This, in turn, suggests different trajectories of constructing the animal-human interface and therefore a different “status” of both animals in the wider “Glaubenswelt” (belief world) of Aurignacian regional communities. The deep entrenchment of both animals in the sociocultural world as well as the rather unique interaction conditions they offer to human co-dwellers point to the social importance of mammoths and cave lions and thus to animistic and essentially relational ontologies. This, finally, demonstrates the blurring of the Cartesian boundary between animal and human domains and intro-duces the possibility of pondering aspects of “animal-personhood” in this part of the Aurignacian world. We conclude our survey by discussing some critical implications that arise when reading the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition from the perspective of animal-human interactions and the entanglement of ontologies and material signatures.

01 January 2017

A pair of mammoth stone figures from Tennessee

'Pair of mammoth stone figures in right profile view'
Jason Lamont finds from his portable rock art site at Hardin County, Tennessee

'Human head figure facing left'

'Cobble with breaks made to affect a human head likeness'

Natural forces are typically moving rock material toward roundness in shape. When a stone like this 'cube' is found in a suspected stone artifact context, it should be regarded as a human product, maybe a tool and maybe even a geometric novelty for the maker.

This stone has a human face on it, expressed in bas relief. There are two eyes, a bridge and nose and a donut-shaped mouth.