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Postby Digit » Sat Jul 07, 2007 2:28 am

Are you saying they screwed?
Guranteed! :lol:
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Postby Rokcet Scientist » Sat Jul 07, 2007 2:53 am

Digit wrote:Are you saying they screwed?
Guranteed! :lol:


So, then we are all bastards . . .

I knew it all along! 8)
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Postby AD » Sat Jul 07, 2007 11:50 pm

Hi Fossiltrader...

if the Berekhat Ram is presented as the Berekhat Ram is it recognized as such merely because the name causes bias?


Yes, very good, you know exactly why I suggested presenting the photos separate from the web page context. Clearly I'm not the only one that's come to realize the assessment of a putative artifact is often determined more by the context and manner of its presentation than by its actual physical properties. There's a lot more subjectivity in all this than we would like to believe. It's interesting that your professors didn't go for the "blind test"; assuming they were themselves already convinced of the B.R. figure's artificiality (as I am), maybe they just didn't like thinking about what the "general public" would say. I can tell you with a feeling of certainty that if I were to open up my hand and show that thing to just about anyone around here, I'd get "That's a rock", and very likely "an ugly one".

And to further stir things up, I'll mention that the little "Venuses" are much more common than professionally supposed, mainly in the collections of European avocational archaeologists. To see some nice ones, look at http://www.daysknob.com/JvE.htm . Like the Berekhat Ram figure, these seem to be mainly artificially enhanced stones that naturally had pretty much the desired form. Of course I can't vouch for the putative ages, but Mr. van Es seems to have a good understanding of the stratigraphy in his area.

Incidentally, Rokcet Scientist, my apologies for so rudely (lack of time, actually) not responding to your query as to whether anyone but me sees the imagery in the Australian stones. The short answer is yes, quite a few people, but then most do not. Mainly it's a matter of "psychological set". We just don't see what we are not expecting - all part of the human condition. And here it's all greatly complicated by the apparent fact that the people making these things were not creating "art" as such, or attempting naturalistic representation; it was, I would hypothesize with some conviction, a routine animistic practice of rendering (typically perfunctorily) the image of the spirit believed to inhabit the stone. And the mind-boggling thing is that essentially the same simple imagery with consistent arrangement of subcomponents appears not just in Australia, but also in North America, Europe, Africa, and I suspect elsewhere if someone were to look closely.

Regards, Alan
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Postby Rokcet Scientist » Sun Jul 08, 2007 8:04 am

AD wrote:
[...] whether anyone but me sees the imagery in the Australian stones. The short answer is yes, quite a few people, but then most do not. Mainly it's a matter of "psychological set". We just don't see what we are not expecting - all part of the human condition. [...]



Sure.
But that's just half of that story, of course.
'Wishful thinking' is at least as much 'part of the human condition', Alan!
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Postby Manystones » Sun Jul 08, 2007 2:53 pm

Sometimes I think it is wishful thinking to think that this is not what it at first appears to be.

Image

"Iconicity is the property of a marking or shape that provides visual information recognized by most contemporary humans as resembling the form of an object. A marking or object (referrer) is considered iconic when most modern people tend to see it as resembling a different object (referent). However, iconic resemblance of a referent is not self-evident, its detection requires an appropriate mechanism. Visual ambiguity, from which this facility probably developed, is a property widely experienced by species throughout the animal kingdom, but it is thought that only hominids developed a cultural use of this feature.... ...In iconic symbolism, the connection between referent and referrer is via iconicity. This is a relatively simple form of symboling, in the sense that an organism capable of cognitively perceiving visual ambiguity detects at least some meaning without cultural faculties coming into play. The cognition involved is deeply rooted in the mental processes found in numerous animal species, such as flight reactions to the silhouette of a bird of prey, "eyes" on the wings of a moth or plastic tubing resembling a snake. It is even related to the effect of camouflage, which is just as widespread in natural systems. Some animal species master iconic recognition, in the sense that they recognize a likeness in a photograph or film, and I have argued that humanness is a function of the degree of competence in perceiving an image. Thus symbolism based on iconicity is cognitively more rudimentary than a symbolism requiring the link between referrer and referrent to be negotiated culturally." www.chass.utoronto.ca/epc/srb/cyber/rbednarik6.pdf

Should I mention that there's no surprise to see the depiction of dangerous animals such as Smilodon or Panthera Leo in early examples of iconicity?
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Postby AD » Sun Jul 08, 2007 10:55 pm

Hello R. Scientist and Richard...

Richard, thanks for posting the quote from Bednarik's lecture series. It ties in nicely with a simple face image recognition experiment I did recently with the main archaeologist at the Ohio Historical Society, in connection with software developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. This algorithm identifies images that just automatically cause a human brain with standard neurological facilities to register "Face!" - a process apparently taking place in the temporal lobe, i.e., as Bednarik says, "without cultural faculties coming into play". The result of the experiment was amusing and/or frightening. I may post this on the website - hope I don't get sued...

Incidentally, speaking of cultural faculties in brain function, and at a remarkably high level, consider Bednarik's mastery of English evidenced in that text, and the fact that English is not his native language; he emigrated to Australia in his early twenties. And the language in his e-mails is every bit as precise. I guess some people are here partly for the purpose of keeping the rest of us humble...

Rokcet Scientist wrote:
'Wishful thinking' is at least as much 'part of the human condition', Alan!

Well, probably more to the point here, it's "Images in Clouds", the mantra invariably recited by those archaeologists that insist on assessing artificiality by comparing an object with those shown in textbooks. Indeed, this is the other side of the perception coin (and of course one can spin in endless circles debating the nature of "reality"). One can tentatively approach the matter at hand at least in terms of probability. For a long time now, a few strange people (e.g., Boucher de Perthes, 1788-1868, more or less at the beginning of this) have been looking for hours on end at stones whose forms strongly suggest to them anthropomorphic and/or zoomorphic images, along with physical traces of what look like artificial modification/enhancement. Working mainly in isolation from others in the same pursuit, they have been dismissed and/or intellectually intimidated by the academic "establishment", and their work has largely come to nothing beyond what they have left for us to see today. (And of course much of their physical collections is gone, as with the prominent researcher Prof. Walther Matthes. Upon his death in 1997, the University of Hamburg, where he taught, hauled seven crates of his material to a rock crusher to destroy the evidence; as they say, "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups".)

Today, with the internet, we can quickly see and compare the material independently identified and collected by people all over the planet, and if one has even average pattern recognition skills and attention span, one can see the correlation in imagery and arrangement of associated subcomponents. The similarity is unmistakable, and well beyond the statistical probability of coincidence. To top it off, in the past couple years much of this material has been conclusively identified as human-manufactured/modified. To date, five doctorate-level professionals have verified this in my own Ohio material, one has verified it in Ursel Benekendorff's German collection, and just recently professional geologists told Richard ("Manystones") that some of his image stones in England show clear signs of human agency. Over here, a written report by a petrology/geology professor on one of my best image stones resulted in the publication of an article in Ohio Archaeologist magazine, a very mainstream journal.

To see an attempt (ongoing) at defining the components and their arrangement in the universal imagery, see my website http://www.daysknob.com . (Admittedly this is wretchedly disjointed and in need of restructuring, having quickly expanded from something much simpler.)

This got a bit long - sorry...

Regards, Alan
Last edited by AD on Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Charlie Hatchett » Sun Jul 08, 2007 11:34 pm

and just recently professional geologists told Richard ("Manystones") that some of his image stones in England show clear signs of human agency.


Richard has an easier case than you Alan. He has the benefit of hard versus soft stone. Though he may never conclusively prove that his artifacts are art, there's no doubt his pieces are man made. Your challenge/ curse is your material is completely infused with carbonate.
I can't tell you how many possible artifacts here that are so totally invaded by carbonate that it will always be impossible to make a completely objective case for human agency. In Richard's case I think the best route is to solidly prove human agency, secure dating, and then move on to the more subjective elements of his collection.
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Postby AD » Mon Jul 09, 2007 1:56 am

Gee... With all that calcium carbonate in the limestone, I guess we'll have to scrap that so-called Venus of Willendorf rock for now since it is "so totally invaded by carbonate that it will always be impossible to make a completely objective case for human agency". Seriously, where are you getting your advice? From Mike Collins again? Of course differential weathering (e.g., dissolution of carbonate) is a factor, but only in really ambiguous cases would a competent petrologist be unable to sort this out. And calcium carbonate does not "invade" - it's just there.
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Postby Forum Monk » Mon Jul 09, 2007 5:26 am

Its a good point, that hard rock requires an even harder substance to scratch or carve it. Some of the pieces I examined, had v-shaped grooves which appeared intentionally cut into the surface of the rock. Another larger specimen showed a series of parallel lines scratched into the surface. Ths same piece also exhibited stress fractures and "natural" deformations which made it easy to visually see the difference between something natural and something appearing man-made.

Many of the pieces either appeared weathered or worn but they seemed more suggestive of one finding a random stone which suggests a particular face or animal, and then the artisan enhanced the features by scratching or carving detail into the piece.

Who may of done it or why remains a larger problem to solve. Particularly, as with Charlie Hatchett's case, most of the artifacts from Day's Knob are surface finds.
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Postby Charlie Hatchett » Mon Jul 09, 2007 5:39 am

AD wrote:Gee... With all that calcium carbonate in the limestone, I guess we'll have to scrap that so-called Venus of Willendorf rock for now since it is "so totally invaded by carbonate that it will always be impossible to make a completely objective case for human agency". Seriously, where are you getting your advice? From Mike Collins again? Of course differential weathering (e.g., dissolution of carbonate) is a factor, but only in really ambiguous cases would a competent petrologist be unable to sort this out. And calcium carbonate does not "invade" - it's just there.


Just my two cents, Alan. Take it for it's worth. I'm not trying to personally attack you. I definitely think some of your stuff is worked, but many of the pieces are so coated and intruded with carbonate that it will be hard to make an objective case for human agency. Yes, rocks are subject to intrusion by carbonate. Note these coral pieces:

Image

They are now 99.9% carbonate:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

And this worked chert:

Image

http://cayman.globat.com/~bandstexas.com/afw215.jpg

Image

http://cayman.globat.com/~bandstexas.com/afw216.jpg

________________________________________________________

Image

http://cayman.globat.com/~bandstexas.co ... al%201.jpg

Image

http://cayman.globat.com/~bandstexas.co ... al%202.jpg

Image

http://cayman.globat.com/~bandstexas.co ... al%203.jpg

There's many of these potential artifacts, like the one immediately above, that appear once to have been chert, but when cracked open there's nothing but carbonate remaining.

More examples:

Image


Image

An analogy is bone fossilization:

Image

Image

When you crack open specimens such as these, the interior reveals 99% carbonate.
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Postby Manystones » Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:52 am

Forum Monk wrote:Its a good point, that hard rock requires an even harder substance to scratch or carve it. Some of the pieces I examined, had v-shaped grooves which appeared intentionally cut into the surface of the rock. Another larger specimen showed a series of parallel lines scratched into the surface. Ths same piece also exhibited stress fractures and "natural" deformations which made it easy to visually see the difference between something natural and something appearing man-made.

Many of the pieces either appeared weathered or worn but they seemed more suggestive of one finding a random stone which suggests a particular face or animal, and then the artisan enhanced the features by scratching or carving detail into the piece.


FM,

Sorry I must have missed the detail, what material have you been looking at?
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Postby Forum Monk » Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:08 am

Well, not so easy to show you because, Alan has the pieces but here is one example - see the last image at the bottom of this page:
http://www.daysknob.com/0141A.htm

The "tracks" on the surface appear to be "worm tracks" or perhaps made by some natural means but close examination shows the tracks are actually v-shaped. Worms do not have v-shaped bodies, but a sharpened carving tool could produce a v-shaped trace. Some of the others on the same page, I also examined and am not experienced enough to make a judgment one way or the other. Some appear to be simple fossil impressions, who knows? I'm sure Alan has found fossils which he did not show me that day. A trained eye needs to hold them and make the call. The large piece I spoke of with stress fractures and carving marks - I don't know if it is photographed.

My opinion, there are some things there that should be looked at by trained eyes. I think that is something Alan and Charlie having been seeking for a while now. Even if only a few are actually genuine, is it worth trying to understand the who, what, why and when, or do we need overwhelming evidence before its worth our time to investigate?
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professional verification

Postby Manystones » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:16 am

Yep,

Alan certainly has a very interesting site up there.

What is your taken on the material I am presenting?

... I think you can class me in the same bracket as Charlie and Alan... desperately seeking professional examination (for the rocks that is).
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Postby Minimalist » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:40 am

for the rocks that is


:wink:
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Re: professional verification

Postby Forum Monk » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:46 am

Manystones wrote:... I think you can class me in the same bracket as Charlie and Alan... desperately seeking professional examination (for the rocks that is).

:lol:
Good thing you clarified that!

I will say, many of the pieces you are finding are very interesting (did they come from different locations or one?) The montage you posted was very good. But its hard to tell from the photos how much working was done on the stones.

We all know humans are wired to recongnize faces and we see them in even simple random patterns. Not necessarily animal shapes however. I think it very likely somebody can find a rcok already suggesting a face or a form and then he enhances it. It is also possible that some were carved or shaped from ordinary rock to serve some ceremonial or religious purpose. The pieces would not necessary be knapped or chiseled but possibly ground into a particular form. In any case, I think the earmarks of this kind of working should be present in some cases of well preserved specimens and be visible under magnification. For example, cross-hatched scratches or grinding marks, a natural appearing eye-socket and one which appears "artificial", etc, etc.

It is the experienced third-party eye that will know. It could be that guys like you, Alan and Charlie are too close to the work. When this happens, an unbiased eye can put you back on track.
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