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Thread: The Rock Art thread

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    Default The Rock Art thread

    I thought it would be good to have a Rock Art thread in the Cognitive Crossings section, as it was mainly the discoveries of our ancestors’ rock art that gave us a greater understanding about their intelligence. Previous to that, they were called ‘cave men’ and were thought to have said ‘Ug!’ a lot, and not much else.

    So I’ll be gradually adding items to this section, much of which you may have already seen if you followed the Palaeo Shaman thread on Archaeologica.

    So, starting off with:

    The Stag at Trois Freres

    This Upper Palaeolithic figure is carved into a ceiling chamber the what some believe to be a Palaeolithic hunter’s initiation cave called Trois Freres (Three Brothers) in southern France.



    Here’s a clearer drawing of it:




    From the drawing, we can see that he has the ears and horns of a stag, the eyes and beak of an owl, the bearded face of an old man, the tail of a wolf, the paws of a bear and his legs, which could be human, are dancing.

    He is known as the sorcerer, and some believe that he is a prototype for Cernunnos, forest god of the later Celts, and that he represents the shamanic theme of shape-shifting. We see this idea of the shaman being able to shift into various animal shapes in most mythologies.

    For instance, Lleu (the hero of the Welsh Mabinogian) shape-shifts from man to eagle, and the Celtic hero Taleisin shape shifts through many animal incarnations to reach his final form, and the Irish hero Cuchulainn starts off life as what sounds like an insect.

    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~lars/rel375.html
    Taliesin had been Gwion Bach disguised as a grain of wheat (Ford, 164, 173) and Sétanta, later known as Cúchulainn, had been a vague, tiny creature in a drink, possibly the soul of the god Lug (Kinsella, 23). Both Taliesin and Cúchulainn had extraordinary abilities extending to the supernatural, and Taliesin even described himself as having previously been Gwion Bach. Friuch and Rucht changed into maggots, very small creatures, and were consumed by cows while fighting each other in a battle of magic. They became reborn as the extraordinary bulls Finnebach Ai and Donn Cuailnge. They continued to escalate their combat by involving the tribes of Ireland, suggesting at least partial survival of their personalities.
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    Default The ubiquitous hand prints

    It’s well known that hand prints are found in cave art all over the world, many of them in hematite or red ochre, and so it raises many questions about their ritual meaning and why their use was so widespread.

    In my opinion, from studying existing shamanic cultures and identifying themes from Neolithic ritual buildings like Catal Hoyuk and Gobekli Tepe, it was about interaction with the walls which, in ritual settings, are seen as membranes to the unseen reality.

    This is common to all ancient shamanic cultures that I've studied.

    There is the continual plastering and replastering of the walls during ritualistic ceremonies (Catal Hoyuk), and constantly moving the walls around, and building new ones (Gobekli Tepe and Stonehenge). The walls were part of the ceremony and an important part too.

    This continues with the San of the southern Africa, who paint animals on the walls and then press their hands against the painting to receive a blessing from the spirit of the animal, as if by painting the animal on to the wall has made it come alive.

    Here is a handprint from the Lascaux caves which could be c.20,000 years old.



    These are from Colorado.



    From the Western Cape of Africa:



    And these are from Australia:


    The Bradshaw Gallery has a gallery of hand motifs in rock art from all the over the world, some as old as 31,000 years.

    The negative hand motif, created by spraying liquid pigment (usually black or red) from the mouth over the hand, is found in ancient rock art in many parts of the world and has great antiquity.

    The earliest documented use of this symbol is in Chauvet Cave, a recently discovered site in France with some of the most spectacular rock wall paintings ever found. Here, the cave paintings, including a number of negative hands, have been shown to be 31,000 years old, nearly as old as the earliest evidence of modern humans in Europe. Another recently discovered French site with rock art is Cosquer Cave. Located on the Mediterranean coast, this cave was found by divers who encountered its submerged entrance, which leads upward to an air-filled grotto containing wonderful paintings, including 55 negative hand impressions dated to 27,000 years ago.

    Somewhat less ancient expressions of this motif are also found in North America at such places as Chinle Wash, Arizona, and at many places in Australia, such as Carnarvon Gorge. A pictorial worldwide survey of the hand symbol in rock art has been posted by the Bradshaw Foundation, which illustrates examples from 27,000 year old French site Gargas Cave and spectacular cave sites in Borneo, Australia, and Argentina.
    http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/hands/
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    Default Re: The Rock Art thread

    Ishtar -

    Though not directly related to rock art, I have always been struck

    By the more-than-passing similarity of the horned god/shaman

    On the Gundestrup Cauldron

    And the Trois Freres Stag.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gundestrup_cauldron

    http://www.unc.edu/celtic/catalogue/Gun ... ldron.html

    In the wiki link, look at the lower right hand picture.

    In the celtic catalogue link, click on each of the lower plates.

    The interesting thing, from the celtic catalogue link

    Are the possibilities of people (Scythians?) from the East.

    hoka hey

    john

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    Default Re: The Rock Art thread

    John

    I've had an interest in the Gundestrup Cauldron for some time, because of this:


    Horned god from Gundestrup Cauldron (100 BC)





    Horned god from Indus Valley Seal (c 3,000 BC)





    They are both seated horned gods surrounded by animals. For this reason, the Indus Seal god is thought to Prajapati, the creator god of the Rig-veda and otherwise known to shamans as Lord of the Animals.

    This scene is on the back panel of the cauldron:






    It depicts men being put headfirst into a cauldron. This motif comes from a story in the Celtic Mabinogian:

    http://www.maryjones.us/jce/mabinogi.html

    Bran is king of Britain, ruling from Harlech. His brothers are Manawyddan, Efniessin and Niessin, and his sister is Branwen. The king of Ireland asks for his sister Branwen in marriage, and the two kingdoms exchange gifts, Ireland giving Britain horses in exchange for Branwen. Efniessin, angry that he wasn't consulted, maimes the horses. The Irish, angry at the insult, attempt to leave. Bran attempts to heal the situation by giving the Irish a magic cauldron of rebirth. The Irish leave with Branwen, who gives birth to a child named Gwern. The Irish hold a grudge, and the king abuses Branwen in anger. She writes to her brother, sending a message with a bird. Bran and his men invade Britain, where they attempt to save her. Upon invading, the Irish attempt to make peace, but secretly hide soldiers in bags of flour. Efniessin crushes the bag, suspecting a plot. Meanwhile, Gwern is made heir to Ireland (and it is implied of Britain). Efniessin takes the child and throws him in a fire, killing him. A battle ensues, killing all but seven Britons and five pregnant Irish women. Bran's head is cut off, and an otherworld feast ensues for eighty years for the seven survivors, which includes Manawyddan, Pryderi, and Taliesin.
    During the battle, the Irish king uses the magic cauldron to revive his dead warriors. The dead bodies would be put into the cauldron and come back into some sort of zombie-like life again, and then go back into battle. That's what's depicted on the back panel of the cauldron.

    Interestingly, on the Gundestrop cauldron, the horned god is holding the Omega sign in his right hand, which is also a sign of a god to the Babylonians and the Egyptians.


    Ishtar, also surrounded by animals




    Sensowret



    Senwosert I was a 12th Dynasty King of Egytp (1897BC). Also known as Kepre Kare Senwosret I, he was known to the Greeks as Kekrops and Sesostris. Interestingly enough Herodotus, Greece's Father of History, reported that Greece had once been conquered by a king named Sesostris. Greek mythology also indicated that the legendary founder of Athens was an Egyptian named Kekrops. (Photo and Information courtesy of Ancient Egypt by Time Life Books and Nile Valley Contributions by Anthony T. Browder)
    I've been on the look out for this Omega sign for some time as it's another breadcrumb trail.
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    Default Re: The Rock Art thread

    Ishtar -

    Interesting lines of convergence.

    Look closely at the Gundesrup horned god again.

    What he is holding in his right hand appears to be a Toque;

    Note the twisted (double helix) ring with the ball ends,

    Which is close if not identical to the Toque he is wearing around his neck.

    This may also symbolize Omega.

    hoka hey

    john

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    Default Re: The Rock Art thread

    Yes, that's what I was thinking John. It's a similar motif.

    I think there's also something about holding the arms up, like Tanit:



    I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that the circle was regarded as holy (whole). But it's referred to as the Omega and I'm not sure that's correct because I believe that that is the Greek Z.

    In Tanit (above) we see the circle for her head, surmounting a trapezoid. This is the classic geometric arrangment of a Vedic fire altar.
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    Default Rock Art in Michigan

    From today’s news page over at Archaeologica

    http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/St ... higan.html

    This is just the latest, but maybe the most important find it the Traverse City area.
    Traverse Bay is a good sized good shelter from the west winds coming across Lake Michigan.

    Here is another site of above water stuff.

    http://www.rae.org/sanilac.html

    More “out of place artifacts.”

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    Default Re: The Rock Art thread

    I found this interesting, KBS.

    Vine Deloria talks about Indian legends of a white-skinned race that was driven out by the Salish, Sioux and Algonkian tribes to the northeast. Other legends say that it was this race that built the mounds, not the ancestors of the present Indian tribes.
    Hmmmm....didn't this subject (white skinned early Americans) come up in another context recently?
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    Default Re: The Rock Art thread

    All -

    Mandans;

    Specifically the Mandan Indians who lived on the upper Missouri River.

    Many of the early European explorers who came into contact with them

    Reported with astonishment that a fair proportion of them had

    Grey, blue or hazel eyes and

    Occasionally blond or red hair.

    Here are a couple glosses;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandan

    http://freepages.family.rootsweb.ancest ... ndans.html

    Now, as these reports came from "rough" people with no

    Socio/Political axe to grind

    - and George Catlin was a marvelously keen and accurate observer -

    I am confident that they were not fabricated.

    The really interesting point to me regards the argument

    That the blond/blue eyed ones came from recent European contact.

    The whole damn tribe died of imported European disease.

    Had their been intercourse, literally, with the "modern"

    Europeans of the time, it would seem to me that antibodies

    Would have been passed on, and that

    The survival rate would have been far greater.

    This would indicate to me that the genetic mix occurred far earlier, i.e.

    Before Europe had to deal with smallpox, whooping cough, etc.

    Dunno, I am not a communicable disease pathologist,

    But, nonetheless, food for thought and discussion.

    hoka hey

    john

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    Default Re: The Rock Art thread

    John, did you see this new genetic study on the First Americans in the Navigation thread?

    viewtopic.php?f=11&t=57&start=10

    I wonder if there's any link to these white folks?
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    Default Re: The Rock Art thread

    This gets me into the present "white guilt" marketing campaign that some entrepreneurs talked the Indians into taking up so that they could go into the gambling business.
    In order for it to work the Indians had to be the “First Peoples”
    That means the oral traditions of them conquering the US from previous inhabits had to be erased.
    Those stories go all the way from the Great Plains to Georgia.
    Hey have done a pretty good job since the money involved is huge.
    Indian gambling in the US alone is a 6 BILLOIN a year industry.
    That buys you all kind of lobbyists and grant financing, etc.

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    Default Re: The Rock Art thread

    I mistankenly put this on another thread.

    Some other sites on this under water stone circle in Lake Michigan:

    http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/st ... -lake.html

    http://www.nowpublic.com/u-s-archeologi ... higan-rock

    http://www.wzzm13.com/news/news_article ... ryid=80355

    There are PICs of the rock as well as PICs of the sonar showing the circle layout on the sites.

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    Default Re: The Rock Art thread

    Interesting petroglyph from Gullickson Glen, KB.



    Is there a date for it, do you know?

    Could it be the first boat?
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    Default Re: The Rock Art thread

    "Although use of the rockshelter dates back some 11,000 years, the petroglyphs date to the middle Woodland or Upper Mississippi period (1100-1150 A.D.)"

    That would be far from the "first boat"

    But I do not know how good the dating is.
    The cave was excavated and evrything dated back in the 1950's

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    Default Rock art found in Tennesse

    JAMESTOWN — Cory Holliday almost didn't see the stick figure painted on the sandstone. His first impression was that it was a clever fake.

    A cave specialist for the Tennessee chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Holliday was searching for caves on a 4,200-acre tract in a remote part of Fentress County on the Cumberland Plateau. It was winter, and he heard water. Thinking there might be a cave nearby, he hiked down to the base of a bluff, where he discovered a rocky alcove bisected by a 10-foot waterfall.

    On the roof of a nearby south-facing rock shelter was a foot-long painting of a dancing stick figure.



    The left leg appeared misshapen, and the right hand resembled a claw.

    Sprouting from the head were swirly lines. To Holliday, they looked like antennae.

    The Nature Conservancy had purchased the large, forested block near the East Fork of the Obey River for $4.7 million in 2006, primarily because it is rich in caves and near two winter hibernating colonies of Indiana bats, a federally listed endangered species that remains in serious decline.

    The rock shelter painting came as a complete surprise.
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    Default Huge project to document Indian rock art underway

    This is going to be a job and a half, not least because the local people, in some cases, are still adding to the paintings.

    Dolmen in Tamil Nadu state


    CHENNAI: A stupendous project to document rock art in several hundred sites in jungles, hills, caves and dolmens in 14 States is under way, courtesy the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) of the Union Department of Culture.

    Bansi Lal Malla, Project Officer, IGNCA, called it “a special type of documentation” that involved archaeologists, artists, geographers, geologists, art historians, botanists, anthropologists and folklorists. It was “an ethno-archaeological project” with a multi-disciplinary approach, he said. K.K. Chakravarty, member-secretary, IGNCA, is the driving force behind the mission.

    The IGNCA has built a special team to execute this “national mission” that aims at not only conserving the prehistoric paintings in rock shelters and dolmens but deciphering them.

    The ravages wrought by nature and human vandalism of the paintings are under study. Dr. Malla said: “We are associating the local people in the project by telling them how important these sites are …We are studying the nature of rock on which these paintings were made [several thousand years ago]. The role of geologists is important in this.”
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    Default Re: The Rock Art thread

    I found the site for the Gloria Farley book "In Plain Sight"

    She surveyed much of the Okalahoma, Kansas, Colorado, area of the US (basically the Arkansas River basin) for rock art and was convinced of Egyptian, as well as Norse, in the area.

    http://www.gloriafarley.com/

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    Default Re: The Rock Art thread

    I think it's a mistake, in instances like this, to say 'oh the Egyptians were there,' or 'the Norse must have been there'.

    The fact is, the symbology of shamanic and religious practises was very similar worldwide for reasons which we haven't yet been able to figure out.

    it may involve boats ... but it may just be that these practises go back a hell of a long further than we realise. And if there it turns out that we all come from Africa, then maybe it was practised in Africa as certainly we see remnants of it there today - what hasn't been destroyed by Christian missionaries, that is.
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    Default Ancient Tongan rock art may offer clues about Lapita peoples

    This is interesting, rock art clues to the pre-Polynesians:

    Discovery of over 50 ancient rock engravings in Tonga, may shed some light on the pre-Polynesian Lapita peoples who voyaged across the Pacific.

    The petroglyphs, including stylised images of people and animals, were found emerging from beach sand at the northern end of Foa island, late last year, the Matangi Tonga newspaper reported.

    Artist Shane Egan called in archaeologist Professor David Burley, from the Simon Fraser University in Canada, to investigate and document the site.

    "The site on Foa Island is an amazing piece of artwork, with over 50 engraved images. Having an average height of 20 to 30cm (some much larger) there are very nicely stylised images of men and women, turtles, dogs, a bird, a lizard, as well as footprints and some weird exotic combinations," said Egan.
    More here
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