Denisovan Ancestry in East Eurasian and Native American Populations

14 December 2015

Tennessee River creek confluence site reports human head left profile with eye and with sets of parallel incised lines

'Human head left profile with eye and with sets of parallel incised lines'
Jason Lamont finds, Hardin County, Tennessee, along the Tennessee River

The reflective or sparkling inclusions in the stone may have inspired its use for an iconic sculpture.

This is a 'human/mammoth combination sculpture' where the two are sharing foreheads, a North American Paleolithic art motif described on this blog. There are two similar worked features in the stone to serve as the eyes of each. Click on the photos to toggle between the illustrated and non-illustrated versions.

When rotated 90 degrees left the human head profile becomes a mammoth profile facing left. This kind of optical illusion is achieved by focusing one's visual attention to see the desired image. The 'eyes' are the visual ques for each of the images. The idea of the human and the mammoth sharing foreheads was a significant one to some North American Paleolithic peoples.

Mammoth/human combination from France cave art, tracing by Brad Lepper

Eye, nostrils and mouth on head shaped stone

Worked stone heads from the site identified by Jason

Chert tool found among the art

Face with two eyes, nostrils and mouth, nested in the corner of this stone as if in the wide open mouth of a larger creature.

Depiction of larger creature (snake?) head left profile with the 'little head in its mouth'


  1. Hi Ken...

    Two of these are among the better pieces you've shown recently.

    The first piece: I'm not biting on the "mammoth" image, but this stone as a whole seems to be a common janiform and a likewise common variation on this in which the reverse (here right-facing) head extends from the top back of the larger one, altogether a theme that often appears in portable rock art from the Paleolithic well into Native American, as well as in traditional Inuit/Yupik art. Better yet, the incised lines accentuating the two faces present convincing physical evidence of human agency in that within the two sets they are consistently parallel, evenly spaced, and extending to about the same distance from the edges of the stone. I see this fairly often at 33GU218.

    The fifth piece: This a nice example of a head emerging from the mouth of another creature, an extremely common motif that quickly caught my attention back in 2003 at 33GU218. See for just a very few of these. While I'm not real sure from the photo, I think a head facing left might appear in the mouth of the larger head in Jason's first (janiform) piece.

    Regards, Alan Day

  2. Wonderful blog.. Thanks for sharing informative blog

    Eye Sets