Denisovan Ancestry in East Eurasian and Native American Populations

31 July 2013

Quartz woman's head in left profile along with bird with crystal wings

Quartz woman's head (with hair or hat) looking left

Irrigon, Oregon, Columbia River valley, manuported (exotic) stone imported to sites in his locale by prehistoric humans and collected by Dennis Boggs. Figurative interpretation by Ken Johnston. The human face depicted has mid-facial nose prominence and a recessive chin.

Archaeologist and figurative rock art researcher Jan van Es of The Netherlands, whom I regard as an expert in worked quartz artifacts of this type, examined these photos and commented "Remarkable sculpture!" Van Es identified the Boukoulean micro lithic type site at Boukoul, The Netherlands. This figure is made in style also seen in Northern Europe.

Mark up of approximate eye, nose and mouth features on the anthropomorphic face

Wings spread on little bird's back in quartz crystals

The bird figure with outline of its tail, back and top of head

Two of the surfaces on the stone are ground relatively flat and come together at about a 45 degree angle. That angle is worn right at a spot where the index finger supports it for viewing like a stone portrait as in the very top photo. The stone exhibits significant handling in this regard. (Dennis Boggs find, Irrigon, Oregon.)


28 July 2013

Missouri plaquette depicting a human head profile looking left, crested by a winged bird, found in context of Levallois technology lithic reduction

Keith Stamper identification of human head profile, one of several, he has found among flaked tools in a small area of his yard, St. Peters, Missouri, near the Mississippi River.

Interpreted by Ken Johnston as a plaquette depicting a human head profile looking left, crested by a bird head with a wing feature in relief. This motif has been described by figure stone researcher Alan Day at Ohio site 33GU218.

It appears 3 flakes were removed to create the brow and eyes of the human, which also finishes the bird head form. The stone element in the lower right may be interpreted alternately as hair on the human head or as the bird's wing.
This stone in its own might not be interpreted as a possible artifact. However, Keith Stamper has identified other apparently worked rocks with visual properties like other objects seen on this blog, as well as many stone tools all found in direct context with the suspected art.

The context suggests this is a work of very subtle sculpture relief rather than Keith's imagination. Keith Stamper identified this possible art piece as a human facial profile looking right, with a kind of swept back hair feature on the upper left edge.

Rock likeness to a human head with a prominent nose facing right, in the elongated style described by R. Dale Guthrie and illustrated in his "human to animal" gradient of head depictions in Paleolithic art. 

This Keith Stamper tool find is a heavy-duty ficron

Side 2 of heavy-duty ficron

Levallois blade, St. Peters Missouri, U.S.A. 

Archaeologists searching for evidence of early Americans need to be looking for technologies which differ from those they are familiar with from the 13,000 BP to present time frame. And maybe they should be looking toward Europe as well as Asia. There is no official recognition of American Levallois technology despite amateurs like Rick Doninger presenting hundreds of examples and every stage of core and flake reduction possible. It has not been described by any archaeologists most likely because they do not know how to recognize it as a discrete set of technologies separate from the most common artifacts they are familiar with (Mode 4 technology). Mode 3 technology persisted until the 19th century in places like Tasmania and it is possible it was brought to North America as well.

More Levallois flake reduction technology

A possible Prarie Dog depiction, St. Peters, Missouri, Keith Stamper

Keith Stamper find, St. Peters, Missouri


26 July 2013

Wall of collected stones and a rendition of "The Scream" are contemporary art works recognizing the propensity of the mind to see faces with basic visual information

Wall of collected stones and a rendition of "The Scream" are contemporary art works recognizing the propensity of the mind to see faces with the most basic visual information

Alabama: About 14 miles as the crow flies from The Factory, adjacent to the Natchez Trace Parkway, you can find the home of Shoals native Tom Hendrix and the site of the Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall, a larger-than-life memorial that he has been building for over 30 years.

Tom Hendrix sitting with his memorial wall

The famous Makapansgat, South Africa, pebble found by archaeologist Raymond Dart in an Australopithecus africanus cave site, c. 2.5-3.0 MYA and determined by Robert Bednarik to likely be a collected and manuported natural stone recognized for its face-like features almost three million years ago.

"Some things never change"

Tira Vanichtheeranont of Thailand has incorporated a found stone featured earlier on this blog into a multimedia sculpture, stone on painted background on a wood panel

Image courtesy Tira Vanichtheeranont


22 July 2013

Pedra Furada, Brasil, sites have another American example of similar iconography to that claimed as Europe's oldest known cave art from ca. 37,000 years before present

Ken Johnston find, Buckeye Lake, Ohio, interpreted as a vulva representation in 2 pigments on a pebble

This pebble has an oval in yellow pigment (yellow ocher?) with a red marking (red ocher?) inside the oval. The yellow and red pigmentation was striking in the field of otherwise drab stones which appeared to be related to a former cultural site, like an encampment. It was found within a few feet of another rock seemingly depicting two male erections and soon to be seen on this blog. This kind of motif is also demonstrated by R. Dale Guthrie as recurrent throughout palaeoart and as being representative of female genetalia based on it being found in context of female body representations.

 R. Dale Guthrie illustration of vulvae representations, page 174, The Nature of Paleolithic Art

From Pedra Furada sites, Brazil. An icon Ken Johnston interpreted as a vulvar representation similar to the one at Abri Castanet, France, is seen highlighted in the black box. I highlight other vulvar representations with black arrows. These vulvar representation with arrows are ovate and triangular,

Pedra Furada rock art engraving image extracted from photo above

Abri Castanet, France, engraving, understood to be Europe's oldest known cave art, ca. 37,000 years before present

North American cave art may demonstrate similar icons to those found in France and Brazil. Miller Cave, Missouri, 23PU2, image from the Smithsonian Institution

It seems Europe, North America and South America have examples of this similar iconography which may represent female genitalia. This implies a connectedness of the peoples or art traditions which includes three continents and maybe more.


19 July 2013

Ursel Benekendorff presents a photo study: 5 views from different perspectives of a single Lower Palaeolithic figurative stone

Ursel writes at her web site: The piece has a long cortical layer, which was included to represent a face image in a "spread-out wings". The figure turns his back to the viewer. The "shape" of this sculpture here offers a "backside view", presenting on an old cortex (wing) a facial impression.

A slight turn to the right makes it appear the bird's head silhouette. / A slight turn to the right shows the birds head in contour.

Parts of the back view of this type of bird are without cortex formation. Recording can be below the head appear as turned. Parts of the bird shows the cortex removed and turned slightly further, the images seem head to look over the shoulder?

A profile face with eye and nose hint shows up, looking to the right. Bottom photo shows the bird at full rotation now squatting from the front as in the upright pose. Another face, now in profile looking to the right appears to the viewer. The photo below shows the sculpture now turned presenting its front part. The birds seems to sit or has a resting position.

"Resting position" of the bird with one wing spread. Sitting bird with a wing

The images here are Copyright Ursel Benekendorff and may not copied or reproduced in any way. The photos and captions are by Ursel Benekendorff and used here with permission for purposes of linking to her web site, This web site has over 2000 photographs of sculptures and figures representing the largest collection of iconographic artifacts available for viewing on the internet.

German figure at left, ca. 475,000 BP, and Dutch figure featured two posts ago, ca. 7,000 BP. This comparison demonstrates the sense of art of our genus was in full swing for Homo erectus and/or Homo heidelbergensis and persists to more recent times.


18 July 2013

Newly discovered slate gorget featured in "Ohio Archaeologist" may demonstrate engravings inspired by Turing instabilities seen entoptically during altered mind states

Illustration of an Ohio slate gorget, ca. 5,000 to 3,000 years before present

In Ohio Archaeologist, Volume 63, No. 2, Spring 2013, published by the Archaeological Society of Ohio, Elaine Holzapfel and Robert N. Converse introduce a newly found Glacial Kame period gorget from a glacial kettle depression in Darke County, Ohio. There is an engineer's analysis presented by William C. Light and the photo above is of an illustration of engravings on the gorget surface made by Mr. Light.

Siberia, illustration by M. A. Kiriyak

Expanded view of William C. Light's illustration including the legend of features he identifies on the Darke County Ohio gorget.

Russian artifact at left compared to Ohio artifact at right

I think most significantly, Mr. Light's engineering report describes the Ohio gorget as having three apparent sections to the engraving. Mr. Light is an engineer with no archaeological background so his observation may be taken as independent of influence from the work of others regarding like engravings. M.A. Kiriyak also comments regarding three apparent sections on the Siberia, Russia, artifact and thinks it may be related to the universally reported experience of passing three stages in the transcendence to altered mind states as might be experienced in deep meditative or shamanistic activities. She notes similar patterns have been seen ethnographically on the cloaks worn by Siberian shamans.

These patterns are seen entoptically between the visual cortex of the brain and the eyelid. They are known to cognitive archaeology scholars as Turing instabilities.

Here is a recent article describing research into Turing instabilities engraved patterns on artifacts.

"The non-ordinary visual experiences were often characterised by similar kinds of abstract geometric patterns, which he classified into four categories of form constants: (1) gratings, lattices, fretworks, filigrees, honeycombs, and checkerboards; (2) cobwebs; (3) tunnels and funnels, alleys, cones, vessels; and (4) spirals."

The Archaeological Society of Ohio (ASO) quarterly journal edited by Robert N. Converse, Ohio Archaeologist, is available from the Society and also as a benefit of annual membership in the ASO which is just $30.00. Monthly meetings are available at local ASO chapters throughout the State of Ohio.


16 July 2013

"Bird looking beside" artifact from the collection of archaeologist Jimmy Groen

Aachen, Germany, ca. 8,000 to 7,000. years BP, Jimmy Groen collection

Hello Ken,

An object from my collection,that maybe is worthwhile to bring to your attention.
The object is- to my opinion- a bird looking beside. It measures 5 cm high and 4,5 cm wide and has been adapted by humans. To see the blows I add a close up image of the head (top view) . The other images are left view, right view and another close up, emphasizing the eye and the beak.
The object has been found not far from the German town of Aachen, at a tool production site from the Late Neolithic/ Early Neolithic period, ca 6000 - 5000 BC.
At this site, several adapted objects were found.
Maybe this object is worth to write about?

My regards,

"Découvrir au jour d' hui les réponses aux questions que nous posons demain sur l'histoire d'hier"

L. J Groen


Arbannig: prehistorie Zuid-Limburg e.o.

Yn Gaasterlân: prehistorie en historie in  Gaasterland, Friesland


12 July 2013

Formes d' ombres: independent investigator Denis Argaut illuminates the forgotten portable rock art of France

"These forms of shadows are born of an experimental and personal research on the stone, motivated by a single desire: They reveal in the shadows the smart creative layout...

These forms that you will see are the result of a methodical and painstaking investigation, who is over fifteen years driven by the unshakable conviction that makes me say that the man of the Stone Age have mastered the material not only in size but also in its balance, its rotation, its sounds, its contours and shadows ...' 

-Denis Argaut, formes d' ombres