Denisovan Ancestry in East Eurasian and Native American Populations

31 December 2012

"Mysterious Traces in the High Trebbia River Valley"

Find and photo by rock art investigator Luigi Chiapparoli, Mt. Logo at Montarsolo, Italy

This Italian landscape subtle relief mask serves as a marker for an area producing a wide variety of prehistoric portable stone arts, identified by Luigi Chiapparoli, Piacenza, and seen at his photo gallery. Size of this giant face is approx 3 x 3 meters.


27 December 2012

A Lower Palaeolithic twinkle in the eye from The Netherlands

A Lower Palaeolithic twinkle in the eye from the collection of archaeologist Jan van Es, The Netherlands


24 December 2012

14 December 2012

Listen to the rock: Denis Argaut of France makes a masterful interpretation of a horse head figure stone on which a realistic sound of a galloping horse is recorded

Rock art investigator Denis Argaut, (FR), blog Formes de' ombres. Find and interpretation as a "rocking horse," a horse head figure with a realistic galloping horse soundtrack demonstrated on YouTube by Mr. Argaut.

Horse head looking left

Watch the horse head rock back and forth and listen to the sound of the galloping horse

Please compare this illustration to the image of the rock seen in the still image on the YouTube screen above it. Ken Johnston interprets a possible mammoth depiction here, where the mammoth is seen in profile view facing right. The curvature of the mammoth head and trunk is seen in the outline of the stone as seen on the right side in the YouTube picture above. The horse head can be seen as being depicted on the posterior of the mammoth image (just to the left of the play button), a technique of combining images in the Paleolithic noted already on this blog.

Denis Argaut's interpretation is masterful and demonstrates how closely all rock material at archaeological sites must be scrutinized for "unusual" art properties. Mr. Arguat's special interest is in Stone Age exploitation of light and shadow in artistic expression. Ironically, he has made what must be recognized as a significant discovery in the realm of sound signal analysis in rock art.

A note from Denis Argaut:

Hello Ken,
Thank you for your comments and I will investigate whether this stone can be
as a mammoth. Know that this stone offers already several figures
(see attachments), a unique rotation (see video), a set animaton
sound and visual of the horse. Also a figure a little strange just reveal a
eye formed a small stone embedded in the block ... After at least fifty
hours of observation of this stone, I have the feeling that there is still
much to find ...

If this does not trouble you, I will send you other videos on other
horses. Let me give you a tip, n 'wait until the summer to
watch your stones in favor of the darkness. A simple flashlight
Just ... My method is this: I first searches the positions of
equilibria of the stone. Often an equilibrium position offers a
major form of the stone and s which can animate by tilting. Make no
mistake, find sound effects corresponding to the shape may request
several hours ... Hope to discover the expression of different
"creative vectors" that man has mastered in stone, it seems
that must guide every HUMILITY not research! humility
essential to consider the stone as possible receptacle of the
intelligence and dare to give this intelligence the ability to have in
LEADING place and knowledge-how that we know more ...!
The expression of the shadows we will in large part to ever
inaccessible because it emanates from a sensibility, an alertness of observation
and an "addiction" to shadows that we have become totally

If found by the shadows that is a leap backwards, that is first
leap into the unknown with innocence and humility.

Regards Denis
"Ombre qui danse"


13 December 2012

Microsculpture possibilities: skull, scream and grin masks on piece of exotic material from the Columbia River valley

Dennis Boggs find, Irrigon, Oregon, along the Columbia River

After a couple of years communication with archaeologist Jan van Es of The Netherlands, I have come to recognize some of the microlithic techniques of stonework and their visual hallmarks. This stone is of highly unusual stone material in the Dennis Boggs portable rock art collection.  

I used my Bausch & Lomb 10x lighted scope to examine the pebble to confirm traces of intentional stone removal to create the images. It has three likely areas of stonework, creating three possible "human mask" images on the one pebble.  Rock art scholars will need to develop the scientific skills to confirm intentional workmanship on objects such as this. Anomalies which go unexamined (unexplained) by archaeology leave its public looking elsewhere for cogent explanations of their finds and observations.  Above, the scream mask and the grin mask are seen in the same view. The mouth of the scream mask is the nose of the grin mask while they share the same left eye.

Skull mask (click photos to expand and compare)

 Scream mask

Grin mask (face in left profile), created by an intentionally incised line on the stone


07 December 2012

A standing stone head with bas relief facial details and white paint traces could have been a hanging corded pendant

A standing stone head with bas relief facial details and white paint traces
Find by Ken Johnston, Licking County, Ohio, near Buckeye Lake

This is the first of the art objects I discovered in my agriculture field hunting in Licking County, Ohio, about 15 years ago. At first glance I thought it was a notched pebble or possibly a net sinker but then I noticed the eyes, nose and mouth of the facial features. I have not seen anything looking like it or using the same manufacture techniques in the intervening years, attesting to the anomalous nature of this object to my central Ohio locale. 

15 years ago, I dismissed this piece as likely insignificant because I perceived it as "crude and unsophisticated" thanks to the indoctrination I was receiving from the archaeology mainstream about the "high art nature of good and worthy" Native American art. Nowadays, I keep returning to the same area to look for more but no-till farming is not providing the soil access I had 15 years ago. Other suspected tools and art objects in area are thought to be Paleolithic (9000+ years old).

There are traces of white paint on the artifact. This substance would be ideal for scientific archaeological analysis and could provide insight into the material culture of the person who produced this stone head.

My inerpretation of the piece speculated it was used as a pendant hanging around ones neck where the hole wore through in use and the piece was then used as an idol standing on its neck base. The illustration above shows the back side the pendant as it would face ones chest. Areas of stone wear on the artifact suggest the pendant could have been handled significantly while being worn by someone. If the person were right handed, there is a nice thumb pad on one side and two notches which perfectly accomodate the index and middle fingers on the other side. 

Heavy handling evidenced by this wear may have been responsible for the original hole wearing through and leaving the current gap in the center of the top of the head. 

Seen from above with scale

As an alternate explanation for the "horned aspect" of the Ohio figure's head, German rock art archaeologist Ursel Benekendorff noted the Ohio artifact's resemblance to known depictions of Celtic warriors from Germany. Maybe it was not a corded pendant but was designed to have a split head from the start in accordance with some cultural tradition, Celtic or other. Interestingly, the Ohio Licking River valley is home to burial mounds, the largest geometric earthwork in the world, and a possible sacra via, similar to descriptions of the German Celtic site at Glauberg.

The Ohio figure on a small easel

"Warrier of Glauberg" 2500 years before present


04 December 2012

Flint Ridge, Ohio, "rock hound" may have found an example of a flint and crystal lion head expressed in a familiar scheme

Anonymous rock collector may have found a stunning example of a flint and crystal lion's head facing left at Flint Ridge, Licking County, Ohio. (click photos to expand and compare)

"Little bear from the Boukoul site. V.O.A. Jasper stone under 2 cm" from archaeologist Jan van Es, The Netherlands. (bottom) Ken Johnston interpretation and markup of lion mouth and eye in the photo to illustrate how the bear may be made within the lion head "template" or "scheme." Thus, this could be interpreted as a possible polymorphic piece, lion head and bear. van Es notes the piece is heavily patinated. 

Three previously posted Ohio examples are shown below. The last one is patinated in a spot as if rubbed by the human hand.

 The size of this Upper Mercer flint lion's head is closer to the Boukoul, Netherlands, example

American lion head reconstrction


30 November 2012

Same site produces second bivalve shell-shaped sculpture on fossilferous limestone made using a buffer trimming technique

A second example of a shell sculpture of made fossiliferous limestone.
 Licking County, Ohio, find by Ken Johnston

The edges have been carefully trimmed to make the outline of a scallop shell shape utilizing a buffer/break technique. This is the second sculpture like this found at this location, also in context with other portable rock art objects and non-diagnostic primitive tools. This rock art form had significance to a people in the Licking Valley, Ohio, at some point in prehistory.

Scallop shell sculpture example 2

Scallop shell example 2, side 2, with scale


27 November 2012

Dennis Boggs collection, Oregon, includes this micro-sculpted pebble figure of a face with a featured inclusion as a sparkling eye

 Microart sculpted face on a pebble. 
The Dennis Boggs collection, Columbia River at Irrigon, Oregon
Pebble measures 3.5cm by 5cm in this view. The worked aspect, top of eye to bottom of mouth, is within 19mm/5cm

The left eye of the figure has some very small exposed crystals on the surface of the stone which reflect the direct sun like little sparkling stars. Unfortunately, my attempts to capture them with the camera were not successful. The stone comprising the left eye area does not have any sparkling attributes. This figure stone may well be an example of the "one eye open, one eye closed or missing" motif seen in world portable rock art as described at, and discovered by untold numbers of people from coast-to-coast in North America and in Europe. This is a meme originating in Lower Palaeolithic times, ca. 500,000-200,000 years before present, according to Its presence calls for study of the Columbia River valley in Oregon and Washington for more archaeological evidence of humans carrying this meme into America at an, as of now, unknown time.

On close personal inspection at 10x lighted magnification through a Bausch and Lomb scope, I can recognize the eyes and under brow area as being humanly worked. One might think the mouth is a natural part of the stone which was exploited by the artist but I have seen enough of these "gashes" made on suspected art objects in the correct place (see the eyes on the figure "The Trickster" also found by Boggs) that I believe this is an intentional removal of stone material using a technique which was known to the early artists.

Find by Dennis Boggs at Irrigon, Oregon, along the Columbia River and in the context of other portable rock art which has been featured on this blog. (Search BOGGS).

View of the artifact to highlight two worn surfaces on the back which intersect at largely a right angle. The angle allows one to easily hold the head in the upright position in the finger tips as if to "experience the face and crystals" for oneself from the optimal viewing angle.

Only when viewing the artifact at an angle to see the face in its optimal position does the piece take on an overall egg-shaped appearance. At no other viewing angle does the pebble have any kind of an egg shape.

Thank you Dennis Boggs for sharing your 50 years of experience "looking at the rocks" along the Columbia!


26 November 2012

A quartz portrait from the Boukoul site of Jan van Es, The Netherlands

Quartz portrait. Boukoul site (The Netherlands).
Typical old Acheulean face. 
L-4cm, B-3cm 

From archaeologist Jan van Es who must be more widely acknowledged for identifying the Boukoulian micro lithic industry of the Lower Paleolithic, ca. 400,000 years before present. Photo courtesy of Jan van Es.

"Leon Battista Alberti, (1464) in his treatise “De Statua” describes the mode in which he thinks sculpture begun:“I believe that arts that aspire to imitate the creations of nature were originated according to the following scheme: on the trunk of a tree, a cloud of earth, or on any other thing, were accidentally discovered one day certain contours that needed only a few retouches to notably look like a natural object. Focusing on that, men examined if it was possible, by means of addition and subtraction, to complete what was missing to achieve the perfect resemblance. Thus, by adjusting and removing features according to the scheme required by the object itself, men succeeded in what they intended to do, and no without pleasure. From that day on, men´s ability to create images was growing until they knew how to form any kind of resemblance, even when the material did not present outlines that guided the labour” (Bustamante, et al.)


25 November 2012

Aterian flint artifact from the western Sahara desert is in human head effigy form

Flint human head effigy, from approximately 30,000 YBP, Aterian, north west African continent

Diverse lot of Sahara desert relics includes: 35 Neolithic, 1 Mesolithic, and 1 Paleolithic tools.

Paleolithic: An Aterian point is included in this collection, seen in the upper right. I believe this to be a hafted knife/scrapper rather than a projectile point. It is Ateria form with thick stem and rounded or abrupt tip which is worked around this way to be used for cutting or scrapping not as a tip for a projectile. This artifact dates to to approximately 30,000 years before present, at the time of the extinction of Neanderthal Man, but probably made by early Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

Neolithic: The group of 36 Sahara Neolithic relics is composed of diverse types of relics, which were discovered on ancient habitation sites deep in the western Sahara desert, mostly in the vicinity of northern Muaratania/Mali but also includes  one two small basally notched Eiffel Tower points from Algeria. This group consist of several types  and subtypes of  projectile points from varying periods of the Neolithic era, including ovate, stemmed, triangular, and unifacial tool forms.  In all there are 23 Neolithic era stone projectile points and tools, 10 hard-stone beads (mostly quartz disc beads),  one hardstone celt, and a complete if a little rough cylindrical labret, this relic is thought to be used in body piercing or lips or ears.

Mesolithic: There is one unifacial blade seen at the bottom left from Morocco, dates to approximately 8,000 years before present.


19 November 2012

Rhomboids, many of which appear to have been tools, tied to bird and other art by at least 3 amateur archaeologists in America

A typical configuration of a rhomboid borer/burin tool which seems yet undescribed by American archaeologists, though they behave like tool typologies are "known and closed."

An Ohio example of a rhomboid tool found in association with portable rock art objects. Find and interpretation by Ken Johnston, on an unglaciated hilltop, Newark, Ohio.

From my cursory search of sources available to amateur archaeologists, I could find no documentation of the existence of these stone rhomboids in North America. They exist in numbers and within definable measurement ranges so as to defy statistical likelihood of being products of natural chaotic forces in the assessment of reasonable, albeit amateur, rock art investigators.

To be responsive to its public constituents, archaeological science must learn to accept anomalous finds and observations of amateurs as possible opportunities to expand knowledge.  The experience of many amateurs with professional and academic archaeologists is that the universe of their domain is "known" to all of its boundaries. All they seem to do is perpetuate static knowledge to the point of it becoming dogmatic, rather than providing a dynamic framework to advance new knowledge.

The web site has excellent information from European sources which may inform these independent observations by 3 American amateur archaeologists, Nadia Clark, Prescott, Arizona, Ken Johnston, Newark, Ohio, and Ansted, West Virginia, and Mike Raver, Zanesville, Ohio.

Illustration © Archaeologische Berichten. Wouters, A., Franssen, C. and Kessels, A. (1981). Typologie van de artefacten van de Chopper Choppingtool Complexen. Archaeologische Berichten 10:19-117. Elst, NL. Fig. 2.  From

#1 Mike Raver rhomboids and bird, Zanesville, Ohio

#2 Ken Johnston rhomboids and bird, Ansted, West Virginia

#3 Nadia Clark rhomboids and bird, Prescott, Arizona

#4 Ken Johnston rhomboids (with pentagons) and bird, Newark, Ohio

Nadia Clark has suggested the rhomboids may not all be tools and they may have a spiritual significance to those who made them. I think this is an idea worth exploring. Our predecessors left them in concentrations which may be identified today and which may help identify early archaeological sites in The United States.