Denisovan Ancestry in East Eurasian and Native American Populations

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.


18 November 2012

Flint flake notched beyond utilitarian need suggests possible prehistoric intent to make a human head effigy

Jimmy writes, "Yes, during a prospection near the Neolithic flint mines of Rijckholt, (a very important flint mine for the region), I found at the surface, this notched flake, a little bit "over-notched" perhaps... Maybe this was made on purpose to get a profile of a head?"


15 November 2012

Artist, now amateur archaeologist, discovers portable rock art cultural remnants on the desert surface at Prescott, Arizona

A bird form (and possible scraper tool), from Nadia Clark, Prescott, Arizona

Side 2, sculpture standing upright on its own

Nadia demonstrates how an edge suitable for scraping or chopping is presented when the bird sculpture is held optimally in the hand

Heavy duty rhomboid burin/borers discovered by Nadia Clark in association with her portable rock art finds. These tool forms have been identified by several amateur archaeologists and will prove to be associated with early art and tool makers in the Americas. They do not seem to have been described by American archaeology but will be shown in the near future on this blog from several sites along with the art associated with the rhomboids. Similar rhomboid tools have been associated with the chopper/chopping tool tradition of Europe.

Former cultural sites are exposed at the surface and Nadia has identified concentrations of likely iconic rock material

Careful examination of rocks on the desert floor at Prescott, Arizona, reveals rhomboid tool forms and classic figure stones


12 November 2012

West Virginia rock panel relief carving may depict an action scene of a human fleeing a lion biting the neck of a bear

West Virginia rock panel relief carving may depict an action scene of a human fleeing a lion biting the neck of a bear
Mike Ellis find and photo from near Charleston, West Virginia. Photo courtesy of Alan Day, the Day's Knob web site, where Alan presents some more of Mr. Ellis' finds, among figure stones from the Day's Knob site (#33GU218) and from 17 states with more to come.

Ken Johnston interpretation and illustration of the rock art action scene. The lion's mouth is represented by the red line. The artist presents the human's left body profile, the lion's head right profile and the bear head viewed straight on from the front. (click photo to expand and toggle between clean photo and the illustration).


09 November 2012

Similar rock forms identified by three amateur archaeologists suggest prehistoric propensity to collect laughing stone "hand puppet" mimetoliths

Laughing stone #4 on this blog

Mike Raver find, Zanesville, Muskingum County, Ohio. Found in the context of tools and other portable rock art pieces, some of which have been published on this blog.  Mike's blog is here.

Dennis Boggs finds, Irrigon, Oregon flanking Sherry's "Kermit the frog" rock in the middle. The rock on the left is a bobble-head which will rock as if laughing when set into motion by a slight push.

Laughing stone, Zanesville, Ohio, has a mouth angle similar to the maximum angle which can be achieved by the human hand in "laughing hand puppet" position as seen in the photo below.

The head of this anthropomorphic "stick figure" form in Brazil cave rock art resembles the outline of the shadow of the human hand puppet form. Perhaps this kind of hand puppet was used as a prop or medium in story telling which was recognized and collected when natural rocks with a similar form were discovered.


08 November 2012

Mike Raver find at Zanesville, Ohio, may be example of form documented by Italian prehistoric sculpture scholar Pietro Gaietto

A zooanthropomorphic sculpted figure identified by Mike Raver, from Zanesville, Ohio, in Muskingum County.

Author and rock art investigator Pietro Gaietto of Italy presents this suspected sculpture on his web site. The Ohio example may support Gaietto's idea that this find was an intended figure.

Mr. Gaietto writes on his web site:
"FIG. 3 Zooantropomorphic lithic sculpture found by ISAIE DHARVENT in 1902 or previously.
It is an old photography, in which cannot see the parts worked on the nodule of silex. Perhaps it is damaged from alluvial tumbling. The representation, in the interpretation of Dharvent, was the head of a monkey; my interpretation is different: the profile of the head has jaw and human forehead, while the mouth is of animal, therefore is an artistic hybrid.
Measures: probably 6 cm. height.
Origin: probably Center - North of France.
Cultural attribution: probably middle Acheulean.
In this photography the working traces are not looked at, do not look at the back; moreover the mouth is atypical, perhaps influenced from the shape of the nodule of silex, therefore, it is not possible to establish with certainty the authenticity."

A link to Gaietto's book (in Italian language) is in the right screen panel "Anthromoporphic Paleolithic Sculpture"

 Side 2 of the Ohio human/animal sculpture found by Mike Raver

An Oregon anthropomorphic form identified by Dennis Boggs, Irrigon, Oregon, and the subject of an earlier posting. It also compares favorably to a Gaietto described sculpture.


07 November 2012

Flint handaxe may depict therianthropy or even human to animal shamanic transformation process

Human head looking left with glassy inclusion serving as mouth line

This handaxe from Flint Ridge, Licking County, Ohio, incorporates a human head profile with chin prominence. The person seems to have a headdress of some kind. While studying this piece I noticed it could well depict an animal head on top of, and combined with, the human head.

Illustration of carved circular animal eye, hypothetical location of human eye, and red line indicating stone inclusion incorporated as the mouth line of the face.

A famous Ohio Hopewell tradition portable rock art piece known as the Wray Figurine was found 10 miles away from this flint in the mounds of the Newark, Ohio, earthworks, the largest geometric earthworks in the world and a nominated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here is an illustration of what could be interpreted as an animal head and neck on top of the human head. (click photos to expand).

The Wray figurine depicting a Hopewell shaman in the act of transforming into a bear.  Height of figurine, 16 centimeters.  Recovered from one of the principal burial mounds at the Newark Earthworks (Dragoo and Wray 1964).

Side 2 with scale. The top edge shown here is the blade of a handaxe/chopper. The flint stands upright  with the facial profile looking downward.