|First identified in 2003, this is one of the most
prominent motifs forming components of what this author has
dubbed Primal Imagery, likely persisting from "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.
Figures from the Day's Knob site.
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).
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...)
For comparison with the above - left, a Late Woodland soapstone
gorget; and right, a Mississippian
limestone pipe, both in the same theme.
|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
|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.
left, the motif in a weathered Australian
|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.
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