Denisovan Ancestry in East Eurasian and Native American Populations

26 December 2011

Newly discovered tool from Belgium may include a pierre-figuresrepresentation of a human face in profile, dated 450,000 to 300,000 BP

Newly discovered Belgian tool may include an intended pierre-figures representation of a human face in profile, and is contextually dated 450,000 to 300,000 BP

This artifact with possible intended human facial imagery was recovered in situ at Kempen, Belgium, in August, 2011.

Archaeologist L. Jimmy Groen of The Netherlands writes, "The artifact with a human face en profile probably had a double function, as it seems to be a side scraper as well. Three large notches were produced by flaking the rock under low angle in bipolar technique. The site circumstances are described at my website, but to make it easier here is some information.

Artifact was found in a large pebble tool assemblage in the gravels of the upper terrace ( + 85m /+90 m. a.s.l.) of the Maas/ Meuse river in the sandy region of the Belgian Kempen. The large numbers of artifacts were found in a local context of gravel and coarse sands, deposited by the river during late Elsterian periods ( Paulissen 1973). The artifacts do not show signs of transportation (such as rounded edges) so it is assumed they were locally produced, used and discarded. Such environmental setting could best be compared with a river "beach", where unsorted gravels were available, in changing dimensions.

Artifacts, found in situ at the site showed a position between the reworked early Saalian gravels/ eolian cover sands, while others were found integrated in the red oxidated horizons, locally known as "As paleosol", of Holsteinian date. This would place the artifacts roughly between 300.000 BP and 450.000 BP. For further information on the context see the article MA 4-project" (photos and comments at courtesy of L. Jimmy Groen).

OriginsNet presentation of Jan Evert Musch's "Animal Farm" which features figurative stone art forms from Northwest Europe

I note a feature of the artifact is an inclusion, a quartz vein, which traverses the height of the entire "human face" from the peak of the head, running between the "eyes" and exiting at the bottom of the jaw. The presence and location of this vein with respect to the facial features may be one element which speaks to the intent of the tool maker to also include imagery of a human face in the "tool." I am in the process of documenting a theory that during routine tool production fossils and inclusions such as this were encountered by the tool-maker, recognized and given some culturally mediated signification which motivated them to create visual imagery which was not necessary for the function of the tool, but may be thought of as a "decoration" (see work of James B. Harrod, OriginsNet link at side bar and at bottom of this post).

Original photo by L. Jimmy Groen has been modified by Ken Johnston to illustrate the quartz vein which runs through the artifact. The vein  may be seen just to the left of the white line.

The vein could have been recognized on the cortex of the stone exposed at the top of the piece and then stone material was very carefully removed to follow the vein all the way to the end of the pebble while making it the "center" of the face.  


21 December 2011

"Mother cradling child" from the Old Acheulean art collection of Jan van Es, Roermond, The Netherlands

"Mother cradling child" from the Old Acheulean art collection of Jan van Es, Roermond, The Netherlands

Quasi-anthropomorphic images in stone such as this may be depictions of very physically robust formed early humans with what look like ape-like features to us today.  This was likely a naturally suggestive piece of rock material recognized in the Low Paleolithic and appears to have some modifications to bring the final imagery to life.  It is a moving piece, suspected to be hundreds of thousands of years old and perhaps the earliest known depiction of a mother nurturing a child.  The mother figure recognized as source and sustainer of life in the language and permanence of stone.


18 December 2011

"Mammiform" cone similar to artifacts from Trowbridge (14WY1), Kansas

"Mammiform" cone similar to artifacts from Trowbridge (14WY1), Kansas
(click photos to expand view)

The provenance of this piece is weak, described only as "from an Illinois collection."  I am fairly skilled at detecting modern reproductions and fraudulent artifacts.  This piece jumped out of a collection of mostly flint field find artifacts because of its deep blue color.  After inspection I could find no evidence of modern stone working and it has the correct attributes and patination for a genuine artifact.  So at this time, I think the drilled cone is worth presenting here because of its possible iconic breast-like shape, unknown cultural purpose or value or meaning, and its uniqueness.  The blue stone material is indeed striking.  It seems the cone was purposely centered on a white banded circle which corresponds with the imagery of a nipple on the breast form.  

After some research, I located three other similar artifacts from the Trowbridge, KS, Ohio Hopewell Culture sphere site located in suburban Kansas City.  The significant noted difference is the blue example featured here has two holes drilled from the base toward the top of cone, as if to be attached to a cord or something.  None of the Trowbridge artifacts has been drilled.

Trowbridge site, Kansas City, KS (14WY1)

 Trowbridge site, Kansas
  Trowbridge site, Kansas

Trowbridge site, Kansas

Link to other Trowbridge artifact photos


12 December 2011

Mojave Desert artifact and fossil hunters detect human agency with possible intended imagery on rocks from suspected cultural sites

From Barstow, California. Humanly flaked stone may be retouched to highlight human facial features on both sides. (artifact is ~4.5cm tall)

Alexis Bousiges of France has collected numerous rocks of anomalous nature in the Barstow, California area. Other fossil collectors in this area have found rocks on suspected cultural sites which appear to have evidence of human work and which may incorporate simple imagery.

Sometimes people who identify possible intended imagery in stone material are told by archaeologists the articles are products of mother nature and not humans.  The same articles can then be examined by petrologists, geologists, minerologists, lapidaries, flint-knappers and others familiar with stone materials, who detect human agency and artificiality and can describe how it was produced as an artifact.  One must rely on the original context of the finds as well as knowledge of qualified people, who may or may not be archaeologists, to assess whether a particular object is an artifact of human creation.  

Barstow, California, is located in the vicinity of the Pleistocene era Lake Manix, which is suspected of hosting humans as evidenced by the nearby Calico Early Man Site which was investigated by famed paleo-archaeologist Louis Leakey. Europeans with a more diverse human and archaeological history of stone art and tool technologies are able to deduce that large numbers artifacts exist on the surface and are eroding from exposed sediments all around the Barstow area. 

Illustration by Alexis Bousiges of human flake removal from original core. "What we have here is a "fragment" of a Crystal-Agate geode. Due to its form, we can imagine how the original rock looked."

On the blog Paleoface, Alexis writes "This fragment was found "As Is" on the same paleo site where the other pieces have been found. So, this little fragment was certainly "extracted" by a man... AND retouched, as the picture below is showing you:"

Positive and negative photos compared show retouched crystalline formations

"Finally, here is what the man wanted to represent, the profile of a man's face on each side." -photos, illustrations and analysis courtesy Alexis Bousiges, France.

link to Paleoface site of Alexis Bousiges


08 December 2011

Altar from house No. 45, Lepenski Vir Ib, (Serbia), carved in the likeness of a fish, has several similarities with suspected Ohio mammoth "cupule"

"Altar from house No. 45, Lepenski Vir Ib, Serbia, carved in the likeness of a fish, possibly a carp." -Don's Maps

Close-up of "cupule" or hemispherical pit from the Ohio artifact

Don Hitchcock, Australia, writes at his excellent web site "Don's Maps": "Like the house foundations and the settlement as a whole, the sanctuary was organized according to a definite plan. The most complete manifestation of this appears in the arrangement of the above-mentioned sanctuary of the central house. There, in an area of 7.5 sq. m., the hearth has an axial position and the real centre is represented by the stone receptacle with a decoration in relief. Since the width and height of the entrance are approximately equal to the width and length of the sanctuary, the whole sacral area at the moment of sunrise could be revealed in a cone of first morning light as far as the sculptures which are placed at its end. A characteristic feature is that the sculptures, being the only verticals in the sanctuary area, are never subjected to the axial symmetry which the hearth and the stone receptacle suggest. They are never placed along the axis of the hearth, but always asymmetrically behind the stone 'tables'. Such a position stresses their privileged function, and their independence in the plan of the sanctuary."

Don's maps link to Lepenski Vir Ib site, Serbia. Don's Maps has another excellent photo of the above altar stone in situ.

Ohio example with scale to compare to Serbian Mesolithic example

Link to prior posting of Ohio cupule stone suspected by Ken Johnston of incorporating Columbian mammoth imagery.  The Serbian example supports this idea by being a single hemispherical cupule on a relatively small, portable stone, with suspected zoomorphic symbolism (Serbia a fish, Ohio a mammoth) presented in a vertical display standing on a base in "correct" orientation.


06 December 2011

Washington amateur archaeologist independently describes possible two-headed sculptures as documented by Pietro Gaietto of Italy

Macario Solis, an amateur archaeologist in Washington state, has identified pieces which appear humanly worked and incorporate imagery of various types. He has independently described the same type of "two headed" sculpture form described by Pietro Gaietto of Italy as a motif dating into the very Low Palaeolithic. Macario may be identifying a "male and female" in the Janus-like opposing faces, or as Gaeitto describes, two types of hominins which may have coexisted.

Macario writes, "I call this one the "gorilla-man." This looks like an effigy with two faces, one on each end. The face on the left seems to look more masculine, and the face on the right could have been a female.

(above) 1982 illustration Copyright Pietro Gaietto, Italy.  He describes a type of Homo erectus with a wide jaw which he detects in the rock art.  The face on the left side of Mr. Solis' sculpture somewhat resembles this, or even a Paranthropus boisei.

Gaietto illustrates how these two-headed human sculptures are oriented

Mr. Solis states "This is a comparison of two effigies that have a similar appearance. The photo on the right shows an effigy with three images. On the right side you will see what I think is a female. On the left side you will see the male in profile. As I took the picture, I found another image I hadn't noticed before. Perhaps it was too small to catch, but zoomed in, you can see the small mouth of what appears to be a baby or child (you can clearly see the mouth in the highlighted area."  Mr. Solis arrived at his conclusion about two-headed figures without knowledge they had been described in portable rock art writings describing possible "old world" motifs.

Gaietto's web site includes this information: "Sculptures of lower and middle Paleolithic are eight types:
1) human head
2) animal head
3) human head two-faced (bold added here for emphasis)
4) animal head two-faced
5) human head joined for the neck at the head of animal
6) human head mixed to animal head
7) naked woman (Venus)
8) head of animal with human body.

The oldest type of sculpture is the human two-faced head, with absolute dating of three million years; it was produced in southern Africa by a kind of Australopithecus, a hominid preceding man.

It is important to consider that the human two-faced head is not imitation of nature, as it did not exist, but is an invention of the spiritual culture of humanity. All these eight types of sculptures appear in Lower Paleolithic and are all linked to the cult, that is to religion." - Pietro Gaeitto, Italy, Museum of the origins of man.

Link to Pietro Gaietto's Museum of the origins of man

Illustrations (c) Copyright 1982-2011 Pietro Gaietto, Museum of the origins of man (Italy), All rights reserved.


05 December 2011

Artifact has 5 sets of intersecting lines (like Xs) within its small frame

Another suspected art piece found in immediate proximity to the horse and lion figure found by Lyn Niday.  This is a Licking County, Ohio, surface find in an agriculture field by Ken Johnston. The intersecting marks are not plow marks. There are 5 "Xs" within the frame of the artifact, none on the opposite side.  A plow blade cannot be this selective and precise within a concentrated area such as this this artifact surface.  The patina of the X marks matches the overall stone so the marks were probably created before metal plow blade times which typically leave a fresher mark on the stone (as in circle).

suspect this could have been a visually narrowed Columbian Mammoth figure due to the overall mammoth shape of the stone and the treatment of a "bump" on the top of the head as seen on the upper left side of the artifact as pictured here. It is quite similar to the suspected "mammoth figure cupule stone" featured in a prior posting.

There may be more to graphics found on artifacts than first appears, as demonstrated by the work of John Feliks' "The Graphics of Bilzingsleben"

Columbian Mammoth reconstruction below.. Notice bump on head, slope of back, overall profile in line with the figure stone with X marks seen above and below.


02 December 2011

Feline head is seen on "horse head" figure from prior posting when viewed at a new angle of orientation

When the horse head figure stone Lyn Niday found in Ohio is rotated 90 degrees to the left, a feline head, presumably a lion, may also be seen.

A reader of this blog noticed the lion head image along with the horse head image and I have highlighted it in the illustration above. This art piece, then, is a predator and prey polymorph, the primary animal seen depending on a slight change in angle of perception, horse or lion. Lyn saw this as a horse head in the field and neither one of us detected the lion. Sometimes it takes multiple eyes, and fresh eyes, to perceive some of the subtle images which are left in stone.  The presence of two animals such as this argues in favor of the artificiality of the object.

This is the horse head image, which when rotated 90 degrees to the left, may then be seen as a lion head image, in a possible predator and prey themed polymorphic sculpture. Here is link to the original horse head posting which includes a photo of the artifact with a centimeter scale.

(article) Why some see the face of Jesus in their toast


28 November 2011

Dennis Boggs' finds along Columbia River include artifacts and manuports featuring imagery such as this head

Found by Dennis Boggs, Boardman, Oregon

This human head in left profile view figure stone was found by Dennis Boggs, Boardman, Oregon, within 2km of the current Columbia River at Irrigon, OR.  It is 8cm x 8cm x3cm size.  For nearly 50 years, Dennis has been collecting suspected humanly worked stones from below possible cultural sites very close to the Columbia. It seems most all of the stone material at his sites has been manuported there, so it is an amazing collection of lithic material, almost a "prehistoric rock collection." For geographic context, the "Kennewick Man" skeletal remains were found about 90 km upriver from the find location of this head profile.  Dennis shipped this piece to me almost a year ago, along with many others already, and to be, seen on this blog, for me to photograph. It has somehow slipped out of my control and into my general collection of some several thousand suspected crude art and tool pieces. I will be taking time over the winter to search for it. I remember when I saw it in person, the three dimensions of the jaw line and the pinkish lips made it quite impressive. Thanks to Dennis Boggs for this photo and I'll be posting updated photos once I am able to study this manuport or artifact.


21 November 2011

A winking turkey figure stone

A winking turkey figure stone
This flint resembling a turkey head was found at a Licking County, Ohio, site which has produced a number of pieces which resemble bird heads and the heads of a few other animals.  Find by Ken Johnston, on the north shore of Buckeye Lake.  Please see the suspected Belted Kingfisher head posting just recently for another example from this site.  Additional examples of suspected flint animal heads will be introduced over time on this blog. (click photo to expand)

Turkey eye close up shows possible pigment to highlight eyelid

Photo of turkey head left profile with eye closed (wink).  This turkey was described as walking around with its eyes closed, perhaps like the subject of the figure stone.

Side two, shown with scale

A winking turkey

19 November 2011

Underwater mastodon petroglyph at Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan, seems overlooked in accounting of North American Pleistocene art

Underwater mastodon petroglyph at Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, seems overlooked in accounting of American proboscidean art

This is a petroglyph on a fixed boulder currently underwater near the modern day shore of Lake Michigan at Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan. So, not an example of portable rock art but one of importance to the prehistory of human contact with megafauna in the Americas and of relevance to rock art studies in the mid-west and Great Lakes areas of the United States.  Archaeologists have speculated that it depicts a spear sticking out from the side of the animal.

Only a small number of images of proboscideans (mammoth, mastodon) are recognized in the Americas at this time.  The two primary ones have been identified in the past few years. First is "The Old Vero Beach Mammoth" studied by Dr. Barbara Purdy,, and a Utah double mammoth image studied by Ekkehart Malotki and Henry D. Wallace. The current recognition of elephant-like images is of petroglyphs only with apparently no accounting of any portable proboscidean sculptures or figurines.  This blog has already, and will in the future, introduce multiple suspected examples of proboscidean art as they are brought to my attention and verified to my satisfaction.

This petroglyphic image was made during the Pleistocene more than 13,000 years ago when lake water was tied up in the glaciers and this boulder was above ground near the former shore of Lake Michigan. It appears to show the animal's trunk in the curled drinking position, so maybe this is a recognition of a drinking spot of these awesome animals which was also a good place to spear them. It may be the species here is a mastodon because of the relative horizontal plane of the back. Columbian mammoth are usually represented with a more sloping back and a more prominent "bump" on the top of the head. This image was discovered by archaeologists doing unrelated survey research in the water near the shore.

17 November 2011

Day's Knob archaeological site in Ohio has produced a possible horse head sculpture in left profile view

A possible horse's head sculpture from Day's Knob, Guernsey County. Found by landowner and archaeologist Alan Day. Mouth, lip, eye, mane, jawline are depicted. Please see the prior posting for link to information about the Pleistocene horse in Ohio and another possible horse figure identified by Lyn Niday, Hebron, Ohio.

Day's Knob, Ohio, web site of Alan Day


15 November 2011

Pleistocene Equus head may be represented in Ohio Paleolithic portable rock art sculpture

A possible Pleistocene Equus (horse species) figure stone found by Lyn Niday, Licking County, Ohio (click photo to expand). Please notice fine artist's attention to subtleties of the chin, nose and a tiny gash for an eye.

Nov. 14, on an unusually warm 70 degree afternoon, I took my girlfriend Lyn Niday to the field find location of the artifact in the prior posting, a possible Belted Kingfisher head figure stone. As we surface hunted a small hill in a plowed field, Lyn identified a possible horse's head figurine, it caught her eye as such, and I found a squared off stone and a rare hexagonal stone in the immediate area of the horse's head, estimated 10 meters. The horse figurine appears to have multiple indicators of human stone crafting to complete the image.

Side 2 with (cm) scale.  In this view, one may see the cut of the stone in bottom left which accommodates a grip.  The removal does not impact the image on the other side of the stone.  I have wondered if many of these types of pieces were used like toy puppets.  The idea of a talking horse is not so far removed from our culture as was seen in the "Mr. Ed" television series of the 1960's.

Close up view of horse's snout area as if being held like a puppet.  There are nostril holes and an incised mouth line.

Hexagonal stone with 2 large sets of lines intersecting at 90 degree angles, starting and stopping within the frame of the artifact.  Click photo to expand.

Agriculture plows don't make sets of 90 degree lines which begin and terminate within the edges of the artifact as seen in the hexagon artifact above. Plows do make marks like those seen on this little squared off piece, unlikely to be a product of mother nature. It looks like the plow blade caught this little square piece and moved it in the soil and then caught it again in the rotation before moving away.

I have wondered if this site area, with so many little iconic stones, may have been a children's area at one time. Crude tools and lithic debitage are also prolific in the area. A horse's head like this, not likely from historical times, may indicate a Pleistocene human occupation making a recognition of horses in their environment. Equus species were present here in Ohio in Pleistocene times. They went extinct in the Pleistocene-Holocene mass extinction event and were not in the Americas until the Spanish reintroduced them in historical times.

Great find Lyn Niday!

Pleistocene Equus article:

THE OHIO JOURNAL OF SCIENCE 64(6): 423, November 1964,

The material here is a beautiful black and white striped granite.  This is a slightly pitted stone, the pit the result of pounding activity.  The pitted area takes up approximately the top 1/3 of the artifact as pictured here.  This is a hand hammer with two fins to accommodate the curvature of the hand.  It was found in the immediate context of everything else here as well as the artifact from the "Belted Kingfisher" prior posting.