Oldest NA Rock Art Found

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Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby shawomet » Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:32 am

10,500-14,800 years old. Of note is the panel of "cupules" or cup marks covering one of the rocks on the right side of the outcrop. Cupules are a common design motif found at rock art sites around the globe...

http://phys.org/news/2013-08-date-oldes ... erica.html

Cupules around the globe:

http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/prehistoric/cupules.htm

"Indeed, the oldest art on every populated continent consists of linear grooves and cupules. It dates from as early as the Lower Paleolithic era, and therefore pre-dates the more celebrated Gravettian and Magdalenian cave painting by hundreds of millennia."

Fascinating that the oldest rock art so far found in NA includes a panel covered in cupules.

Two excellent studies of cupules:

http://home.vicnet.net.au/~auranet/cogn ... upules.pdf

http://home.vicnet.net.au/~auranet/aura ... upules.pdf

Cupules on the Columbia River:

http://culturewatchnorthwest.blogspot.c ... umbia.html

If the date of 14,800 years is really in play, this Nevada discovery could be the product of the Western point tradition contemporary with, and perhaps predating, Clovis.
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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby Ernie L » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:58 pm

Wow...staggering to be able to see evidence of a human activity ,not necessary for survival ,with that sort of dispersion and antiquity.

The picture of the cupules in western Nevada is giving me fits..I just can't get an idea of the scale..are those are tea cup sized cupules or are they bowl-ules.

I see fish bones and scales on those rocks (shrug)
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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby Tiompan » Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:28 am

shawomet wrote:10,500-14,800 years old. Of note is the panel of "cupules" or cup marks covering one of the rocks on the right side of the outcrop. Cupules are a common design motif found at rock art sites around the globe...


Indeed , here's a recent find but nowhere near as old .

http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/sit ... harry.html

George
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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby kbs2244 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:54 pm

RE: The Nevada site,

One of the things that a lot of people have a hard time grasping is The Great Basin, now one of the largest deserts around, was once a huge lake.
Most of these discoveries were once water front sites.

RE: Cupules

I will try and find the reference, but I remember reading some speculation that the “cupules” were at sites of female only worship. They were visited by pregnant women who pounded the holes and ate the dust as a mineral supplement needed due to their pregnancy.
It was a folk practice, even in the “civilized, western world” until the modern practice of packaging minerals need by the body into pill form. Those pills could then be prescribed by doctors that would have a hard time suggesting a woman eat dirt.
Those who practiced it were despairingly referred to as “dirt eaters.”
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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby Tiompan » Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:03 pm

kbs2244 wrote:RE: The Nevada site,

One of the things that a lot of people have a hard time grasping is The Great Basin, now one of the largest deserts around, was once a huge lake.
Most of these discoveries were once water front sites.

RE: Cupules

I will try and find the reference, but I remember reading some speculation that the “cupules” were at sites of female only worship. They were visited by pregnant women who pounded the holes and ate the dust as a mineral supplement needed due to their pregnancy.
It was a folk practice, even in the “civilized, western world” until the modern practice of packaging minerals need by the body into pill form. Those pills could then be prescribed by doctors that would have a hard time suggesting a woman eat dirt.
Those who practiced it were despairingly referred to as “dirt eaters.”


There are ethnographic examples of Pica http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pica_%28disorder%29 and also the practice of leaving the umbilical stump of a newborn in a Piko (coincidence in the use of similar ) hole in hawai'i .
But that doesn't mean that was what was practiced in prehistory .

George
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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby kbs2244 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:27 pm

I do think there has to be a distinction between Pica, the eating of dirt, and the pounding of a hole in a rock to be able to eat the dust.
That dust would be much different both physically and symbolically from ordinary dirt.

But there is much in a male dominated study that is blissfully overlooked.

For a classic example of how a female secret changed the world as we know it,
look into the history of the birth control pill.
It came about because of a female anthropologist engaging in “lady talk” with a bunch of Amazon tribe women.
The men never knew what the women were doing.
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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby Tiompan » Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:55 pm

[quote="kbs2244"]I do think there has to be a distinction between Pica, the eating of dirt, and the pounding of a hole in a rock to be able to eat the dust.
That dust would be much different both physically and symbolically from ordinary dirt.

But there is much in a male dominated study that is blissfully overlooked. quote]

This http://www.tc.umn.edu/~call0031/pica.html highlights the the pica cup mark connection .

Women have made telling contributions in rock art studies .

Regardless there are many other ethnographic accounts of cup mark engraving that are nothing to do with either or have a particularly feminine "slant" .
George
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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby shawomet » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:01 pm

Interesting twist. I did find this relevant piece, describing Pomo women and "Baby Rocks"...

http://priestessacademy.blogspot.com/20 ... rocks.html
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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby kbs2244 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:44 am

I found the book I was remembering.

It is titled “The Rock Art of Eastern North America” The ISBN number is 0-8173-5096-9
The authors are Carol Diaz-Granados and James R. Duncan
Actually, they are listed as “Editors” as the book is a commented on collection of papers and pamphlets from history, many about sites that no longer exist.
It is now $7.95 at:

http://www.hamiltonbook.com/hamiltonbook.storefront

Ms Carol Diaz-Granados has been a Professor for over 27 years at Washington U in St Louis, MO
She definitely writes from a “Wise Latina” point of view.
So you get a strong female point of view.
And that is a refreshingly different point of view.
(Different from what she calls the "Anglo-Euro Male" point of view.
She is not afraid to bring sex into the discussion.
I can now see an almost embarrassing number of vulvas when I look at rock art.
The female half of the populace is strongly brought to the front.

New to me was the concept the pecking out rock art is a form of "tattooing Mother Earth."
And it seems it wasn’t just the leaving of a mark behind, but the eating of the stone powder that was produced by pounding out the cupules that was inportant. Combine that with the miracle of procreation that is pregnancy and you have a very female sacred rite and site.

But somehow, I got the impression of that, at the start at least, the cupules creation was a kind of secretive, female only, type thing. They where in out of the way places, and seemed almost hidden. They are found in hidden places on the sides of Medieval Cathedrals . Showing a desire for a Holy source for the dust, but a classic forbidden knowledge type of thing.

In the book there is a relatively new line of reasoning espoused that says that as agriculture became more important so did the social position of women. During the change from hunting to farming women became more important as they were the gardeners. It seems they may have developed their own parallel rites and sites.

Remember we are talking huge amounts of time and location here, but as different cultures accepted the female role as gardeners, and thus becoming more and more important, then these female rites became more visible and formalized.
This is because women were the traditional, stay at home gardeners, while the men continued the traditional roaming around hunting role. But with their increased prestige came female oriented rituals, traditions, and with them came art related to those traditions.

I don’t know how this relates to the various corn dances that have been written about.
As I recall, they were exclusively male. Perhaps, as the demand for maize grew, and with that the need for irrigation projects that required male strength in their construction, agriculture became a male practice. Or, maybe, there were parallel female rites that were practiced but ignored by the male historians.

A new thought to me was that there are noticeable differences in Light Room, or exposed to the sun, rock art and Dark Room cave art.
The Light Room art is often calendar related and has markers for the sun or shadows to hit and thus mark solstices, equinoxes, etc.
The Dark Room art is often more ritual oriented.

The book is written from a North America only point of view.
But I know I will never look at a “logenze” or a “stylized fish” the same no matter where it is.

If you have any intrest in rock art I very much recomend this book.
At less than $10.00 it is a opinion changing bargin.
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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby Tiompan » Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:05 pm

kbs2244 wrote:

"I can now see an almost embarrassing number of vulvas when I look at rock art."

Probably due to the influnece of Gimbutas who couldn't see a V withouut seeing a vulva .

"New to me was the concept the pecking out rock art is a form of "tattooing Mother Earth."

Signing the land Bradley 1997 is similar .


"And it seems it wasn’t just the leaving of a mark behind, but the eating of the stone powder that was produced by pounding out the cupules that was inportant. "

Of course that type of info can't be retrieved from the arcaheology and is conjecture .


"In the book there is a relatively new line of reasoning espoused that says that as agriculture became more important so did the social position of women .... with their increased prestige came female oriented rituals, traditions, and with them came art related to those traditions.
"

Rock art was current long before the introduction of farming


A new thought to me was that there are noticeable differences in Light Room, or exposed to the sun, rock art and Dark Room cave art.
The Light Room art is often calendar related and has markers for the sun or shadows to hit and thus mark solstices, equinoxes, etc.
The Dark Room art is often more ritual oriented.

I can't talk for American art but in Europe there is a cler difference between "open air " rock art and the megalithic art of passage graves . On basic level the latter tends to be more ornate and has motifs rarely found in the former .In the former it's worth noting that the motifs found on promient rocks tends to differ from that those that are more ,hidden i.e. flush with the ground and likely to be covered in turf , in these cases the latter also tend to be more ornate than than the prominet boulders . If there is an astronomical association then it is more likely related to the passage grave examples as some of the passages are aligned on Thom paradigm events .
George


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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby kbs2244 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:40 am

Tiompan: to answer you points:

1) Maybe so. But it was a revelation to me. Looking at the same art through a new point of view and changing the subject matter completely.

2) That is where your reference comes in.
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~call0031/pica.html
I don’t think she references it, but it is revalent to this conversation.

3) True, but she is talking about the subject matter of the art. Not the process.

4) The book is very NA oriented. In fact, very Mississippi/Ohio Valley oriented.
I don’t think much NA rock art is grave oriented. There are some cave burials, but our “megalithic” graves are called “mounds.” There is often an astronomical association.
But they are a whole different subject.

There may be problems with the relative dating of Light vs. Dark room art in the same cave. But it would not surprise me that the same cave was used at different times for different purposes.

It seems that once a spot is considered Holy or in any way special for worshiping reasons it stays that way. Even across cultural changes. Just look at the history if the sites of some of your European cathedrals.

So the women using the same cave for different reasons does not seem out of the realm of possibility.

Like I said, the book suggested to me that we may have been ignoring a full 50% of the reasons behind what we are discovering.
I do suggest it.
(If you have trouble with the source I listed, Amazon has it for $37.95.)
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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby Tiompan » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:16 pm

[quote="kbs2244"]Tiompan: to answer you points:


"3) True, but she is talking about the subject matter of the art. Not the process."

but if the carvings are unrepresentational cup marks how do we what the subject is , if anything .

"4) The book is very NA oriented. In fact, very Mississippi/Ohio Valley oriented.
I don’t think much NA rock art is grave oriented. There are some cave burials, but our “megalithic” graves are called “mounds.” There is often an astronomical association.
But they are a whole different subject."

The Na mounds I'm aware of are the Watson Brake , Adena ,Poverty Point , Hopewell , Effigy and Mississippian etc ,I'm not sure if they are what you are alluding to .

"There may be problems with the relative dating of Light vs. Dark room art in the same cave. But it would not surprise me that the same cave was used at different times for different purposes.
It seems that once a spot is considered Holy or in any way special for worshiping reasons it stays that way. Even across cultural changes. Just look at the history if the sites of some of your European cathedrals. "

Certainly in prehistory sites get used and reused over centuries -millenia , the type of monument changing with the culture . Pope Gregory did suggest ,in a letter to Bishop Mellitus that pagan shrines etc should be converted not destroyed which has led to claims that that church sites were originally the site of stone circles, when there is little evidence to support this but there are some certain examples . Toulouse cathedral may have been a Mithraic temple and there are standing stones and in one case a stone circle to be found in some churches in the UK .


"Like I said, the book suggested to me that we may have been ignoring a full 50% of the reasons behind what we are discovering."
To imagine that women were not responsible for rock engravings is not reasonable , the same applies to childen who obviously were responsible for a lot of Paleolithic art , but to ascribe particular reasons paricularly in the case of non represenational engravings is just conjecture at best .

George
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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby Ernie L » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:55 pm

Perhaps semiotic anthropology would not be a useful tool understanding cupules..why not semiotic archaeology if it does not already exist.
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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby Tiompan » Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:37 am

Ernie L wrote:Perhaps semiotic anthropology would not be a useful tool understanding cupules..why not semiotic archaeology if it does not already exist.


Semiotics, both Saussurean and Piercean have been applied to material culture and rock art but there must be a sign that can be reconised as a signifier or having an iconic , indexical or symbolic meaning ,which is not apparent in a cup mark or combination of cups .

George
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Re: Oldest NA Rock Art Found

Postby Ernie L » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:55 am

Tiompan wrote:
Ernie L wrote:Perhaps semiotic anthropology would not be a useful tool understanding cupules..why not semiotic archaeology if it does not already exist.


Semiotics, both Saussurean and Piercean have been applied to material culture and rock art but there must be a sign that can be reconised as a signifier or having an iconic , indexical or symbolic meaning ,which is not apparent in a cup mark or combination of cups .

George

Yes I see what you mean.....a cupule Rosetta stone would be nice
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