Horse Head Figure in Limestone

At 33GU218


Horse Figure in Limestone - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

This horse-like figure, uncommonly naturalistic down to abrading of the muzzle area for a lighter color, was provided with two eyes on one side, one above the other.  The bottom (round) eye was, like the nostril, pecked into the surface, and the top eye was painted on, apparently with an iron oxide paste (red ochre) as  on other rock paintings at this site.

This artifact may have some potential in the problematic matter of determining the temporal association of the site.  Horse ancestors in the western hemi- sphere apparently became extinct sometime between 10,000 and 13,000 years ago.  This stone figure is intriguing in the context of another one at the site, a petroglyph in which natural features of the rock have been enhanced by professionally verified carving to depict what looks very much like the head of a mastodon (on sandstone bedrock about 60 cm / 24" below the current terrain surface), also long extinct:

Mastodon(?) Petroglyph - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

Of course the horse head figure, like the apparent mastodon petroglyph, is anomalous in the context of compelling evidence of Early or Middle Woodland age in surface and near-surface artifact material, but then this particular object was found eroding from a steep bank above an apparently artificial terrace, so its actual stratum of origin is unknown.

In the two-facebifrontal ("janiform") style quite characteristic of the image-bearing material at this site, the right edge of the horse stone displays the classic simple face consisting of a mouth and a diamond-shaped eye.

The reverse side of the stone, seemingly a sitting sphinx-like figure.


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