Denisovan Ancestry in East Eurasian and Native American Populations

24 October 2015

Transylvania, Romania, figure stone invokes similar human nose artistic convention as seen earlier on a figure stone from Sri Lanka

Laura Ionescu find, mountains of Transylvania, Romania

Laura's find presented here is a single find outside of any known archaeological context. A stone like this is often very difficult to assess as a potential human artifact.

In this case, we are presented with an important clue which makes this isolated find a likely object of human attention in the Stone Age. There are two equal length incised lines which terminate at a point to create an upside-down "V" shape and it is placed in an anatomically correct position for a nose on the human face likeness on the stone. There also appears to be another incised line serving as a 'dimple' on the person's chin.
Hello Mr Ken Johnston. I am glad that stone that I have sent is of interest to you.This is the place where I found the stone: Turda Gorge (Cheile Turzii in Romanian) is a natural reserve (on Hășdate River) situated 6 km west of Turda and about 15 km south-east of Cluj-Napoca, in Transylvania, Romania.The Turda Gorges represent a complex geological, flora, fauna, archaeological area. Traces of human presence indicates Turzii in these caves since the Middle Paleolithic, Neolithic and culture belonging Cotofeni.Thanks. -Laura Ionescu
Illustration of the 'nose' on the Transylvania human head figure stone

Kavinda Dharmisiri's zoomorphic and anthropomorphic yellow sapphire stone, Colombo, Sri Lanka, featured in an earlier posting on this blog. The nose on the Sri Lanka figure is also made of two equal length incised lines terminating at a common point.

The find locations for the Romanian and Sri Lankan figure stones are about 4,200 miles apart. This may indicate a broad area of cultural influence which played a role in how humans marked stones to recognize or complete their human head likeness.

I have suspected the common artificial application of nose and nostril details on many figure stones seen on this blog may have been a way for Stone Age peoples to add a symbolic 'breath of life' to the rocks.

Romania and Sri Lanka figure stones with similar expression of human noses

22 October 2015

'Human face looking left' and a second face may be presenting two human chin types, from the site at Grand Pressigny, France

'Human face looking left'
From the site at Grand Pressigny, France, private collection
Photos by Henri Valentie

Side 2

Quasi-anthropomorphic face in right 3/4 profile. This face seems to present a prominent chin including a dimple. The one at top seems to be depicting a recessive chin on the person. I think the 'chin types' of recessive and prominent are a primary subject matter in this sculpture. Sculptures like this may be depicting the coexistence of two human types (neanderthaloid and sapienoid) with very different facial features.

Neanderthal and sapiens skulls for chin comparison

Side 3

Another view the stone presents a human-like figure standing and looking to the left. Photos submitted thanks to Henri Valentie.

17 October 2015

Avian mega sculpture from Clear Brook, Virginia, depicts a flying water bird and another bird on its opposite side

'Flying water bird (goose)'
Adam Arkfeld find, near Arkfeld Site, Clear Brook, Virginia

The head of the goose is at left, tail at right, and it is depicted as touching the ground or water as if in take-off or landing formation. Adam Arkfeld notes a mammoth head and likeness when this photo is rotated 45 degrees left.

'Raptor' interpreted by Adam Arkfeld on the opposite side of the goose view. Possible vulture, or scavenger?

The flying water bird appears prominently in portable rock art. Their high fat content makes them a nutritious food item for human foragers.

I was reminded of the predator-prey relationship between raptors and water birds by my next door neighbor who witnessed an American Bald Eagle take a Canada Goose on the lake shore near our homes this summer. There was a significant fight involved. It is possible this avian mega sculpture features the pairing of these two bird types in recognition of this relationship.

'Flying goose' is 5 feet wide

 'Flying goose' sculpture from south east Asia. Tira Vanichtheeranont collection, Bangkok, Thailand.

The Virginia and Asian flying water bird sculptures are significant because they both include a ground, or water, which serves as a base upon which to present the bird. The bases and the birds are the same piece of stone in both cases. There is a remarkable similarity in the 'tails' of the birds found a "world apart."

16 October 2015

Natural History Museum of Utah portable rock art objects illustrate mainstream archaeology's tendency to look for petroglyphs and bypass the entire category of sculpture

Natural History Museum of Utah portable rock art objects illustrate mainstream archaeology's tendency to look for petroglyphs and bypass the entire category of sculpture

Portable rock art, ca. AD 455
Painted stone
Archaic; Cowboy Cave, Utah
U of U Expedition 1975
42WN420 FS51500.1

Portable rock art, date unknown
Incised stone
Archaic; Hogup Cave, Utah
U of U Expedition 1968
42BO36 FS611.16

15 October 2015

A janiform stone figure from Missouri

'Two faces looking opposite directions'
Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, Jasper County, Missouri

Illustration of the defined features of eyes, mouths and chins of the two faces. Found in a context of many similarly ambiguous zoonthropomorphic figures at The Old Route 66 Zoo Site #23JP1222. Dodd hypothesizes some could have been used as puppet-like props for storytelling.

A statue representing Janus Bifrons in the Vatican Museums

12 October 2015

U.K. Neanderthal flint core-tool likely also a sculpted bird figure

 From an old U.K. collection. Size 11cm x 4cm

"An elongated Levallois core. Numerous alternating Levallois removals along length of core, creating a single continuous edge. Some signs of use along one lateral edge, so may have been used as a scraper at the end of its use as a core."

Photo by Finlayson Nature Photography. "Alpine Choughs feature regularly in Neanderthal sites, where they are the most frequent corvid."

The bird likeness here would not have been lost on our Neanderthal cousins and was likely a fully intended outcome of the stone work. 

Opposite side is not worked but also has a bird shape with beak protrusion

Two Ohio flint bird form tools featured earlier on this blog

I have identified a number of flint bird forms, some used as tools, at Flint Ridge in east central Ohio. Is it possible there is a relationship between the 'Old 'World' and 'New World' flint working traditions?

11 October 2015

Two stone heads from Washington

'Two stone heads'

Andy Draine finds, Washington, photo received courtesy of Jan van Es. Finding one might imply a natural coincidence. Finding two of similar size and the same lithic material implies the potential for identification of a localized pattern.

09 October 2015

Natural rocks with slight modifications become a figure stone and a hand axe

'Animal head (undertermined, perhaps wolf, bear or mountain lion) (3 cm)
Chris Blumenstock finds, Valley Forge, Tennessee

The eye and mouth of the animal head are areas where careful scientific examination is likely to confirm artifact status of this stone. The ear area may have also been humanly modified.

Stone with removal to sharpen the right edge seen here. This hand axe has an affinity with 'Old World' cordiform Acheulean hand axes.

'Phi in the Acheulian' by John Feliks shows how the one million year tradition of Acheulean hand axes implies the expression of the Golden Ratio driven by a human aesthetic which dates to the dawn of humanity and up to our present time. (My units for the calculation were derived by measuring the image as displayed on my computer screen in centimeters. This does not reflect the actual size of the artifact.)

08 October 2015

A micro art human-animal polymorph on a flint core from the Middle Acheulean

Jan van Es find, Boukoul, Netherlands (3.8 cm width)

"The image is the underside of a stone core, but there are more images on this core. The Middle Acheul= 180.000-250.000 BP. All the images come from the same stone core." -Jan van Es


05 October 2015

Second amateur archaeologist reports iconic finds along with tools in the Doe River valley, Carter County, Tennessee

Chris Blumenstock find, Valley Forge, Tennessee
Thought you might like to see these rocks from the Doe River Valley of Carter County Tennessee. I was searching and trying to find out more about them when I found your site. You had several objects from Sherry Hill in Rittertown which is a couple miles upriver from me, here in Valley Forge. The stuff I find is similar. I interpret many of these as being turtle heads. I have humans, bears, birds etc. but more "shouting turtle heads" than anything. There must have been many people living in this valley over the years based on the stuff they left behind...  I think some of them were for entertainment, like stone age TV. I've had a lot of time to study these, been finding them for years. Some of them are remarkable feats of workmanship. -Chris Blumenstock

Human head in left 3/4 profile on a pebble identified by Chris. The face details have faded over thousands of years but are still detectable to careful observers like Chris. Nose, mouth, chin, eye, eyebrow and hairline may have been elements of this human portrayal.

The "knife", upper left in the flint photo, looks like a snapping turtle head profile on the right edge and a hominid face profile on the left edge. -Chris

Chris identified this as a possible human-bird combination but I can identify this piece as demonstrating a Paleolithic stone sculpture motif of a combination of a human head profile looking left split with an animal (bovine, likely a woodland musk ox) head in right profile. This 'joining of heads' motif is seen in many examples on this blog and has been described by Paleolithic sculpture researcher Pietro Gaietto of Italy.

Human head facing left, animal head facing right

Ken Johnston illustration of the human head facing left and the animal head facing right. The animal's eye and mouth area are highlighted. This is consistent with Chris's observation about a knife in a photo above: The "knife", upper left in the flint photo, looks like a snapping turtle head profile on the right edge and a hominid face profile on the left edge.

Frame illustrating a Doe River Valley pattern of notched pebbles described by Chris as 'shouting turtle heads.' These forms have also been identified by some other amateur archaeologists in North American portable rock art contexts.

Map showing the Valley Forge, Tennessee find location

 Valley Forge, Tennessee, photo by Chris Blumenstock