Denisovan Ancestry in East Eurasian and Native American Populations

18 March 2013

New York archaeologist works in France while site number 23PU2 Miller Cave, Missouri, petroglyphic icons similar to one claimed as "Europe's oldest cave art"

About 37,000 years ago, occupants of a rock shelter at Abri Castanet in southwestern France etched the above figure into the shelter’s stone ceiling. The circular form is a furrow in the stone. The rod is in relief.

 Miller Cave petroglyphs in Missouri were similar to "Europe's oldest cave art." Thankfully they were documented by these photos before they were eventually destroyed by vandals.

Similar images to the ones seen on the France and Missouri petroglyphs are also made on portable rock art pieces (R. Dale Guthrie, 2006) and should be given close scrutiny at possible archaeological sites in the United States. Missouri amateur archaeologists Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber have reported figurative portable rock art forms in Jasper County which seem linked to traditions also seen in the "old world," so cave art examples in Missouri similar to old world examples are particularly interesting to those of us interested in North American portable rock art as well.

A combination of the "Clovis first" detour/fiasco, the bias in favor of European art and the myth of a "human creative explosion" in that part of the world, have both unfortunately distorted mainstream approaches to Pleistocene cave and portable art inquiry in North America.

In my cursory search without access to all the proper academic journal sources, I can find no earlier association of the Miller Cave iconography with a widely published example about a year old from France. Why aren't the Americans studying American cave art in a world context? Or why aren't the French studying American cave art? Is it possible the Americans and the Europeans are operating in such isolated academic silos they are not capable of making connections which seem so obvious to laypersons? Is it that an "American Aurignacian" occurrence is regarded as impossible by a supposed science? I think so.

A human skull from Miller Cave, Missouri
Gerard Fowke, site archaeologist 1918-1919
Miller Cave, Pulaski County Missouri

Reference: White, Randall, Romain Mensan, Raphaëlle Bourrillon, Catherine Cretin, Thomas F. G. Higham, Amy E. Clark, Matthew L. Sisk, Elise Tartar, Philippe Gardère, Paul Goldberg, Jacques Pelegrin, Hélène Valladas, Nadine Tisnérat-Laborde, Jacques de Sanoit, Dominique Chambellan, and Laurent Chiotti. 2012. “Context and dating of Aurignacian vulvar representations from Abri Castanet, France.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 2012 May 29; 109(22): 8450-5.


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