First identified in 2003, this is one of the most prominent motifs forming a component of what this author has dubbed Primal Imagery, likely persisting from far-away "Old World" Paleolithic into Middle Woodland at this site, and into modern but traditional Inuit/Yupik iconography.  The theme is typically expressed as an animal (usually bird) or humanlike figure simply atop the head, and sometimes as full (shamanic?) headgear.
 

 

Above:  Figures from the Day's Knob site.

 

Chert Artifact from the Topper Site

An anthropomorphic head (right profile) atop a weathered chert figure from a quarry at the Topper site in South Carolina.  It did not appear in a pre-Clovis stratum, and could be from the Archaic Period.

 

   

In this context, consider these early 20th century photos of Native Americans (Apsaroke).

 

Bird on Tonto

From more recently (2013), Johnny Depp's portrayal of Tonto in the film "The Lone Ranger".  This elicited ridicule from an audience unaware of this ancient symbolic expression.  (The bird's outstretched wings do seem a bit off...)

 

Below:  For comparison with the above - left, a Late Woodland soapstone gorget; and right, a Mississippian limestone pipe, both in the same theme.

    

 

Below:  Left, an old Inuit or Yupik ceremonial mask; right, a print by Yupik artist Phillip John Charette.

    

 

Above, a finely chipped example of the theme in Vanport (Flint Ridge) chert, height 10 cm (4").  Here a decidedly human head, facing right, forms the crest over a more zoomorphic one.  (Surface find by Pamela Douglass in Licking County, Ohio.  Photo by Ken Johnston.)
 
Facing left, the theme in a flint figure from Simon Parkes in England, from a stratum indicating an age of 125,000 - 200,000 years BP.
 

Again facing left, the motif in a weathered Australian sandstone artifact.

 

Left, a limestone crested head figure from just beneath the surface of the earthwork at 33GU218.  Right, the head of a ceramic figure from the Turner Mound Group in southwestern Ohio.

 

(Probably not relevant...)

 

Top of Page

Click your browser's "Back" button to return to the point from which you entered this page.

HOME