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Subjectivity in Stone Age art works such as figure stones, engravings, sculptures, effigies and curated manuports. See how images and icons have been realized in portable rock media since the dawn of humanity. Here, archaeologists and art historians are becoming aware of these forsaken artifacts. “And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in every thing." -in W. Shakespeare, As You Like It, 1599.

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    'Face mask on rhomboid' art motif
    Henri Valentie find, Island of Oléron, France

    Mr. Valentie writes: Here is a stone figure of 11/10/10 cm black flint (typical of the island of Oléron). We can see beautiful retouching down on the right of the photo on the first picture. We notice the absence of the left eye. On the 2nd it is rather a feline head ? Piece found on the island of Oléron. amitiées, Henri

    In another view of this same stone is a quasi-anthropomorphic head with face and neck. I think this is a human depiction where the human has has an elongated animal-like nose or muzzle as Paleolithic art author R. Dale Guthrie has described.

    I interpret the figure of the head of a water bird cresting the human's forehead. Here is an illustration of the interpreted human and bird elements of this view of the sculpture.

    "Many human faces in Paleolithic art look a little like those of large mammals, with an elongated nose or muzzle. These are my drawings to illustrate the character or flavor of this gradient"
    (c) Copyright R. Dale Guthrie, "The Nature of Paleolithic Art," 2005, page 92

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     Adam Arkfeld finds, Site 44FK731, Clear Brook, Virginia

     A thumb-size human bust carving which stands upright on a flat base

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    'Mammoth sculpture'
    Adam Arkfeld find, Site #44FK731, Clear Brook, Virginia

    This is one of about a couple of dozen mammoth sculptures from the Ice Age Arkfeld Site. They indicate a site like no other yet described by North American Archaeology and beg for professional archaeological investigation of a place which may have great significance to our understanding of the past.

    Archaeology's continued ignoring of sites like Arkfeld does not for a Science make.

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    'Human face right profile'
    Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, The Old Route 66 Zoo, Joplin, Missouri 

    When the human facial profile is rotated, it becomes a standing bird figure facing left

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    Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, Site #23JP1222

    Illustration of the interpreted human face mask. The red line marks the human's 'mouth' and the arrow points to the subtle feline face worked onto the figure's chin.

    This is the feline-like face with a clear right eye and no worked left eye. This may a feline in the 'left eye missing' Paleoart motif.

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    'Human face with viper head below'
    Staqcy Dodd and Rod Weber find, The Old Route 66 Zoo, Joplin, Missouri

    Faint remnants of the human's face, mouth, nose and two eyes

    A 'viper head' serves as the human's neck

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    Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, Site # 23JP1222

    In another orientation of this same stone, an animal figure sits on its rear while resting on its front legs

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  • 08/08/16--18:49: Red face mask from the Zoo
  • 'Red face mask'
    Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, Site # 23JP1222

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    'Flaked chert human head likeness, facing left'
    Adam Robinson finds, unglaciated portion of Stark County, Ohio
    Adam's site is on a promontory hilltop locally known as "The Top of the World"

    Human head profile, facing left

    'Duck with workbench on its back'

    I interpret this object as a 'duck form anvil.' The artist has taken advantage of the natural form of this concretion to craft an anvil or workbench with a duck head facing left on the upper left of the stone seen here. It is as if the duck has the anvil work surface on its back. This piece may have been used to process red ocher as evidenced by the red staining on the anvil surface.

    Duck form workbenches have been described by independent portable rock art researcher Jan van Es of the Netherlands and several North American examples in line with his "Old World" observations have been featured on this blog.

    Illustration of the interpreted elements of this combination of a sculpture and a functional tool.

    This appears to be fossilized spirally fractured bone which would suggest a human presence at Adam's hilltop site.

    Adam Robinson writes, "I've spoken to Brian Redmond at the museum (Cleveland Museum of Natural History) a few times and sent photos. He blew me off and basically told me I had a pile of rocks."

    Due to extraordinary preservation conditions of a dry clay environment, Adam Robinson recovered a 'club' consisting of a rock nested in its original wooden handle. Adam's 'pile of rocks' may indeed be more than it seems to those like Dr. Redmond.

    This piece of wood presents a significant opportunity to obtain a radio carbon date associated with this kind of yet-undescribed composite tool form and perhaps then the art Adam has identified. The Cleveland Museum and others like it remain incompetent to do the good work of Archaeology. Amateurs are capable of significant contributions to archaeology knowledge but have limited resources and access to labs.

    Archaeology continues to disadvantage itself by habitually marginalizing the observations of amateurs and independent researchers.

    Stark County, Ohio, compound wood and stone club could contain significant information if a proper scientific examination were made.

    Adam has found a second compound tool involving stone forms which have never been recognized by Archaeology as anything other than "just rocks." This one is an ax.

    Adam Robinson confirms the observations of many others that crude stones like this they find in concentrations are cultural material, contrary to the findings of North American Archaeology and its 100 years of "work."

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     Jan van Es collection, Roermond, The Netherlands

    The human may be depicted here wearing hair/hat or cap as is seen in many other Lower and Middle Paleolithic stone figures found and documented by Van Es.

    Van Es illustrates some of the removals made to sculpt the face

    This figure may be in the motif I have described as 'left eye missing with distortion to the left side of the face symbolic of a lion bite to the head.'

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    'Human head left profile in translucent stone material'

    Christian Kotze finds of Lake County, Ohio. These Ohio finds have been discounted by the archaeology curator at Cleveland Museum of Natural History as natural despite his having no knowledge about portable rock art.

    Side two is a human head right profile worked in the same detail. Yes, good ole' Mother Nature putting delicately detailed human faces on two sides of a remarkable cryptocrystalline rock specimen. It appears to be carnelian agate which has been seen in other portable rock art pieces on this blog, but only from the state of Oregon.

    A beautifully sculpted human head left 3/4 profile in typical portable rock art form where the artist is exploiting the natural shape and properties of the stone by working it to tease out the desired visual properties. Click photos to enlarge. 

    Because North American archaeologists have never been educated about it and don't operate like real scientists, they are unable to see these objects as anything but natural rocks. They have never taken the time to have these objects examined by petrologists because they are so certain human crafted objects like this do not exist.

    Its time they stop wasting all these archaeological heritage cultural resources by telling people they are just rocks when they have no business making such executive determinations from ignorant positions of authority.

    Christian writes, "This piece I found in Trumble County more than 30 years ago. I always have thought it resembled a horse. On what appears to be the mane it has serrated edges."

    The source of the stone material here appears to Flint Ridge, Ohio, which is about 120 miles from the location where Christian found it.

    Some have thought zoomorphic shapes like this may be animal representations with a built-in handle to hold the figure like a 'stone puppet.' To me, the first side may depict a feline head and the opposite side of the stone may depict a human.

    Possible human head representation on the puppet-like stone

    Christian identified an anthropomorphic head profile on the left edge of this stone, among many, many others. These simple forms are sometimes faint, faded and worn and may have been much more visible to an observer in the Stone Age. I think this piece is symbolic of a mammoth body profile facing right with a human facial profile incorporated onto its posterior in a well documented motif seen on this blog.

    "Here is a piece I found near Willoughby, Ohio. It is made of brown and grey chert. The left side depicts a mans face, it fits into the right hand comfortably. The top is a scraper."
    Dear Mr. Johnston, my name is Christian Kotze. I live in Mentor Ohio (Lake Co.) I have a large collection of artifacts that contain effigies on them some of animals others of humans. From what I have seen on your site I believe mine are more defined some are perfect and there are multiple pieces that are the same.
    I have talked to people associated with the museum some who appeared to be amazed and took pieces with them to show Dr. Brian Redmond who discounted them as natural but I know better. I have been studying these for a long time and used special lights, microscopes and other tools. These pieces are from all over the state. I would like to show them to others who might also have similar art in their collection.
    -Christian Kotze, Mentor, Ohio

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    Ken Johnston find, Licking County, Ohio

    This sculpture was found in soil disturbed for landscaping purposes and within 50 yards of a few other mammoth and human combination sculptures which have been featured on this blog. It was found directly on the advancement line of the Wisconsin glaciation and terminal moraines are visible from the find location  of this sculpture.

    The sculpture stands upright on a flat base which has been created by grinding

    A rock patina created by human fingers contact while the base was ground flat

    This mammoth figure from the Avdeevo, Russia, archaeology site was featured in Bahn and Lister's book Mammoths: Giants of the Ice Age. The mammoth is facing left and I interpret a faint but present icon of a human face on the posterior of the mammoth in right 3/4 profile. Dates given for Avdeevo are 22 800 ± 160, 23 140 ± 430, and 23 400 ± 700. Adam Arkfeld noted a similarity of this artifact to mammoth sculptures from his Clear Brook, Virginia, archaeology site.

    I propose the motif seen in both the Ohio and Russia examples implies some kind of cultural or traditional relatedness spanning at least 4,600 miles.

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    Ken Johnston Paleolithic art mammoth sculpture find, Licking County, Ohio
    'Mammoth left profile'

    This probable Ice Age mammoth rock art sculpture is about 30 inches tall, is slender and stands upon a flat base which presents the animal figure in the correct upright position.

    Side 1

    Side 2

    Side 1 from front

    Side 2 from front

    The stone is a flake off a large boulder. Its perimeter has been shaped to sculpt the profile of the body of a mammoth. A complete petrological examination will confirm this as a humanly-shaped portable rock art sculpture.

    Modern day landscapers were attracted to this stone because of its thinness and ability to stand upright on a flat base. They encountered this stone when restoring a garden and decided to make it a part of the visual interest of a stream confluence construction. There is a boulder next to the mammoth sculpture but it is not propping up the mammoth stone and does not appear related to it.

    This view favors the posterior of the mammoth sculpture

    Faint trace of a possible zooanthropomorphic right facial profile on the posterior of the mammoth sculpture is in line with other examples from this place like seen in the last posting. There is possible evidence of some focused grinding to create an 'eye divot' seen as a whitish spot.

    Profile view of the sculpture's thinness as seen from a distance

    This stone presents a striking mammoth likeness which I propose was cultivated in the Ice Age and left for landscapers to discover and prop up and then for me to notice as a potentially significant portable rock art sculpture. The context here is strong, directly on the maximum geographic extent of the Wisconsinan glaciation. I have found other mammoth figures here as well as innumerable coarse stone tools.

    Prior posting mammoth and human combination sculpture found just a few hundred yards from the probable mammoth sculpture featured here.

    Human facial profile with mammoth head cresting forehead from this site

    Human facial profile with mammoth head cresting forehead from this site. This is the only piece of Flint Ridge flint I have found on this 1,000+ acre site despite its being located just 5 miles from this famous chert quarry location. 

    Sample of the coarse stone tools which are found by the thousands at this site

    Restoration of this landscape garden in Licking County, Ohio, on private property is the reason the large mammoth sculpture became visible again after its "Ice Age life." It is located about 100 feet away from this scene photographed the same day I found the sculpture. It was a beautiful day for a mammoth.

    This boulder with a natural right edge approximating the curvature of a mammoth trunk was featured earlier on this blog. It was found just two miles from the mammoth in this posting and in the same watershed. It has a crude sculpted face on its posterior which supports the proposition of boulder-size mammoth sculptures in this locality.

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    Etched piece of hornfels - possible "portable rock art" recoveredfrom a site in Fairfax County, Virginia in 2006.

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    'Lower Paleolithic human head carving'
    Henri Valentie find, Île d'Oléron, France

     The carved human head likeness in left profile views

    A biface found at the same location

    Mr. Valentie's France find compared to an anthropomorphic Paleolithic sculpture on the cover of this book by Pietro Gaietto.

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    Stone doll human depiction in fetal position with skull face looking left
    Stacy Dodd and Rod Weber find, The Old Route 66 Zoo, site #23JP1222

    Illustration showing the interpreted legs with knees at chest and arm raised to the head with eyes and mouth marks showing the worked features. Stacy Dodd illustrates the piece using D-stretch rock art photo processing. The red coloration on the figure's 'head' may depict a wound. The overall depiction may be a human in fetal position with arm raised up to a head wound.
    "Limb flexion is also characteristic of Late Middle Paleolithic burials. Legs are usually strongly flexed while hands are placed either near the head or lap. This is often described as the 'fetal position.' This was not accidental nor was it the most convenient way to lay out a corpse. It requires forethought, effort, and a degree of haste to lay out the body before the onset of rigor mortis." (page 189, The Origins of Religion in the Paleolithic, Gregory J. Wightman, Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.)
    Neanderthal flexed burial from The Old World

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    Arkfeld Site human head sculpture in left profile
    Adam Arkfeld find, Clear Brook, Virginia, site #44FK731

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    A stone with deeply incised lines on three sides from The Arkfeld Site
    Adam Arkfeld find, Clear Brook, Virginia, site #44FK731

    This point found by Adam Arkfeld on his property looks to have a pecked-out fluting treatment.

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    Adam Arkfeld find, Clear Brook, Virginia, among many dozen human head sculptures.

    The contour of the face line here has been chipped to form and the eye and mouth parts of the stone have been humanly carved.

    Side 2 of this plaquette exhibits two anthropomorphic facial profiles Janus-faced, looking right and left.

    Props of pipe at mouth and penny at eye to facilitate interpretation of two of the four human head forms in this sculpture.

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    'Feline, mammoth, wisent and human polymorphic sculpture' interpreted by Ken Johnston. Acheulean cleaver, ca. 450,000 to 400,000 BP, private collection, France

    When I saw this photo I recognized the artifact followed a subtle and simple template for a feline head (looking left here) as seen in many other examples on this blog. Eye, nose and mouth features are illustrated. The 'mouth' of the lion is the bit edge of the cleaver and the possible symbolism and irony is noted.

    The presence of the mammoth icon at the back of the feline head (or the feline head at the posterior of the mammoth) is illustrated.

    A cut out of the head of an interpreted 'wisent' or European wood bison facing right which is nested together with the mammoth's head. The wisent and the mammoth share the same worked eye feature in the stone. The left eye of the human (see below) is the dark muzzle of the wisent. These two creatures are intertwined throughout Paleolithic art and are related to humans by their combinations in polymorphic sculptures like this.

    It is long past time for Archaeology to recognize the significant amounts of cultural information which may have been recorded in stone materials in the most subtle and sophisticated ways by our early ancestors. 

    Human face carving illustrated in lower right of stone as pictured here

    A human face is carved on the lower part of the mammoth's head and trunk. The human, mammoth and wisent are all depicted together opposite the cleaver's bit on what would be the 'handle' of the tool. The predator has its place opposite its three prey species.

    Artifact, interpretation and illustration here is by independent rock art researcher Richard Wilson, Watford, England. This too is a 'feline head chopper.'

    I propose it also depicts a mammoth in the same tradition as the France example here, where the curvature of the extended trunk may be seen at the back of the feline head in the lower left and upper right identical images above.

    Provenience: Colne Valley > 475,000 years BP
    Material: Chert
    Comments: Heavily used chopper-chopping tool
    Dating: Early to Middle Pleistocene
    Etic Interpretation: 'feline head'
    "Much of what is written about the 'behaviour' of ancient hominins simply does not take into account established empirical evidence from the archaeological record." -Richard Wilson,

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