Denisovan Ancestry in East Eurasian and Native American Populations

11 April 2020


The publisher of this site, Kenneth Johnston, passed away from a heart attack on January 13, 2020.   He is deeply missed by all who knew him.

His heritage includes his extensive work in archaeology, including this website, his extensive writings, and the many specimens he aquired.  

In honor of Ken, we wish to pass on his work to fellow archaeologists/collectors so that others might benefit.

As laymen in this field, we will need help in this work.   So we would like to ask you, the reader of his blog, to contact us with any help or suggestions or might have.

Please write this site at, and copy me at

Your ideas will be deeply appreciated.

David Johnston

31 March 2018

Acheulean figurative sculpture from the French Pyrenees

Find and identification by Henri Valenti

"Stone figure with 2 faces that meet in limestone of 14cm / 14 / cm and a biface Acheulean type of 14 cm. Found in the pyrenees towards BAGNERES of bigorre towards the 600 m of altitude. see maybe scratches on the left."

18 February 2018

Animal head and bird stone sculptures both in right profile view and a carved human face facing left

Animal head and bird stone sculptures both in right profile view
Arkfeld Site, Clear Brook, Virginia

Carved human face in profile looking left

21 January 2018

'Right eye open, left eye missing' carved stone head from Woodbridge, Virginia

'Right eye open, left eye missing' is a known Paleolithic rock art motif

Mr. Woodson surface find on his property. This was found in Woodbridge VA in the lake ridge area of the county Prince William. Crude stone tools indicate an area Willie hopes to excavate on a controlled grid in the Spring. Mr. Woodson identified the motif before contacting me.

Detailed carving work to express the right eye in its socket. The left eye is a simple removal of a chip of stone to create a slight indentation. About 50% of the surface of this face has been carved by the artist. There is a gash which appears to serve as a chin cleft on the face.

21 December 2017

Human head sculpture with face mask in Middle Paleolithic 'one eye missing' motif

Adam Arkfeld find, site #44FK731, Clear Brook, Virginia

Note how the right eye is expressed as convex, or in bas releif, while the left eye is a large, concave excavation. This differentiates the conditions of the two eyes.

02 December 2017

Human head left profile, a water bird in flight and a standing bird figure- all in quartzite found this week at Arkfeld site

 Adam Arkfeld finds, site #44FK731, Clear Brook, Virginia

The Arkfeld site produces limestone and basalt art pieces in great numbers and a has also produced a smaller number of quartzite pieces. This was a significant week for quartz finds as Adam began working on a new locale at his archaeology site.

'Water bird in flight'
(wing on the down stroke)

'Sitting bird'

15 November 2017

A microlithic owl figure from a new Kansas portable rock art site (with 2nd bird nested on its left side)

'Owl figure'
Timothy Banninger find, Kansas

There is a small face realized on the owl's face below its left eye. This face figure is worked to expose the two stone inclusions as 'eyes' with added retouch to make a nose and mouth. 

I contend this is the face of a bird at the eye and beak of the owl. It has a fully expressed body of a bird in profile. This is a motif developed in other examples on this blog.

07 November 2017

New Western Montana portable rock art site has a dramatic natural backdrop

'Owl sculpture'
Wade Holmes finds and collection, Western Montana

This is a classic, simple Paleolithic owl sculpture made with a minimal amount of work but invoking the essential imagery for recognition. The context of all the other figurative art from this site supports the interpretation of an intentionally sculpted owl on this obviously worked cobble.

Summer Solstice sunset view from the Wade Homes portable rock art site

'Feline bust in profile facing right'

'Feline face looking straight on'

Feline depicted with 'one eye open, other closed or missing.' Ken Johnston illustration of carved elliptical right eye and left eye made by a straight incised line.

Wade Holmes interpretation of a worked stone resembling the head of a mammoth as if being viewed straight on. Wade's drawing provides a visual context for his interpretation. There are indeed two 'eyes' on this figure. Ken Johnston illustration of possible hand-hold on this object. Some figures like this may have been held in the hand like toys, or puppets or story-telling props. 

A couple of mammoths with interpretations by Wade Holmes

'Mammoth facing right with prominent tusk representation'

Eye, tusk and trunk line illustrated by Ken Johnston

At left is a 'sleeping water bird' sculpture and at right a 'mammoth' sculpture.  The water bird has a beautifully curved neck, its head tucked into its back feathers and has a tail and wing details. The mammoth, which is in profile facing left, may also be interpreted as a lion head facing right, where the mammoth and lion share the same 'ear' and the dark spot toward the top-middle edge is the lion's eye. Many examples of this 'mammoth/lion facing away from each other' motif have been described on this blog and it will eventually prove to be one of the great sculpture types of Paleolithic North America.

 An animal-like figure with evidence of human-directed bashing and marking

26 October 2017

Standing human head statue from Arkfeld Site, #44FK731, Clear Brook, Virginia

Human head statue
Arkfeld Site

Based on other examples on this blog human head renderings which are often quite lite on details sometimes have what appear to be manufactured 'nostrils' of the nose as seen in this example recovered by Adam Arkfeld at his site. They seem to be an important detail which I have proposed may be adding a 'symbolic breath of life' and animation to the stone.

View of the sculpture from the opposite side. Note the vein of quartz crystals which probably helped inspire the selection of the raw material here by the sculptor. Other examples of sculptures appear to have an unnatural 'lean' to one side, like this one appears leaning back, to the left.

This is a depiction of the head of a human which was more robust than anatomically modern humans are today. Many examples of sculptures exist with prominent brow ridges and other robust facial features and suggest strongly they were manufactured by a Paleolithic people.

14 October 2017

A bust sculpture in flint from the Island of Oleron, France

Henri Valenti find, Island of Oleron, France

Hello from the island of Oleron. Bust of a man of 6/4 cm in flint found on the island. His headdress and beard are well seen in the imagery of prehistoric man.
Best regards

Two human face visages, one looking straight on and a profile as if looking to the right. Note the shared 'eye' element in the two figures.

"View of profile of the bust and limestone mask naturally pierced but undergoes some retouches. On can be observed the absence of the left eye. 6cm / 4cm"

23 September 2017

Two British anthropomorphic Paleolithic worked stones with similar nose representations

United Kingdom, private collection, Lower Paleolithic

Anthropomorphic flint nodule with similar stylized 'nose' representation

21 September 2017

Western Montana portable rock art patterns documented

Wade Holmes find, western Montana

        Hi Ken,
As I mentioned before, I have found many 100's of stones that are peculiar, and look like they represent many different animals. I was not aware of this sort of rock art until I began searching for stones similar to what I have found on the internet. The first style I recognized was the sleeping bird stones, then the non-sleeping birds.
After that I began noticing that many of the stones seemed to represent elephants.
After viewing all of the stones you have on your site I am fairly certain that I have found a large cache of these stones. Many stones are naturally shaped, but they are found with many other stones that show signs of being worked by someone, so I believe they still represent something.

Having seen good photographs of Wade's finds, I agree that he has found a concentration of 'portable rock art' similar to that described by many other careful observers. His description of the 'sleeping bird' motif is an indicator he has detected a Paleolithic rock art site. I will be featuring some of Wade's artifacts in the coming weeks.

Based on its find context and other examples for reference it is my contention that most if not all of the facial elements (eyes, nose, mouth, teeth) on the pebble featured here are the result of human marking rock art behaviors which have not been described by North American archaeologists.

A competent and thorough petrological examination of examples like this can confirm human workmanship and so easily establish what must become a major new line of rock art inquiry for archaeological science.

23 August 2017

Sculpted bust in left profile perspective from The Old Route 66 Zoo Site, #23JP1222

'Smiling left portrait with cheeky jaw'

Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, near Joplin, Missouri, 7cm

Illustration of interpreted eye and mouth features

16 August 2017

Big cat head sculpture with eye perforation from Arkfeld Site, Virginia, includes human face mask

'Lion head left profile sculpture with perforation as eye'
Adam Arkfeld find, Site #44FK731

This large sculpture weighs several hundred pounds. It is made in a typical artistic template or scheme which is seen in other North American cat head sculptures and which must have been culturally facilitated. This template is seen on boulder-size pieces like this to smaller 2-5cm examples. Eye, nose, mouth, chin, ear and jaw line are depicted here.

Cat eye

There is a 'human face mask' carved in relief in the lower right corner of the cat head.

Human face mask illustrated