A technical question

The Western Hemisphere. General term for the Americas following their discovery by Europeans, thus setting them in contradistinction to the Old World of Africa, Europe, and Asia.

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J Henkel
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Re: A technical question

Post by J Henkel » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:59 am

E.P. Grondine wrote:What is the "grass" used for fixing the image?
Hi E.P.,

it's just that: Grass. The grass' acids are fixing the carbon on the paper. Some prefer sour grass (Cyperaceae), others prefer sweet grass (Poaceae). Sometimes it's just a pragmatic question, you take what you can find in the vicinity of the rock you want to document. Might be difficult if you - hypothetically - are in a desert.

The method is suitable for detecting and documenting even fine details on rock surfaces. We are using it for documentation of bronze-age rock carvings in Sweden and Denmark. There are descriptions (in german) with pictures and also two links to movie/video clips (one in german, one just with english subtitles) at
http://www.geschichte-skandinavien.de/d ... ation.html and
http://www.geschichte-skandinavien.de/a ... minar.html

More photos of the different steps of the documentation process on request by PM.
Joachim Henkel
Scandinavian Society for Prehistoric Art

E.P. Grondine

Re: A technical question

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:11 am

Hi J. -

Thanks very much.

Hypothetically, they're "pictoglyph"s, not a "petroglyph" or "petrograph", with glyphs about the sized of Linear A or Linear B glyphs. Getting sweet grass is no problem, are the acids water soluble?

While you're here, is there anyone working on the imaging in other spectra for the remnants of painted petroglyphs to try and find paint traces? Similar to what is being done with ancient papyri and manuscripts, such as those from Herculaneum?

There are colonial reports of other "Mississippian" painted petroglyphs besides the Piasse at Alton, Illinois. In my opinion, the reports are likely to have been accurate, though I have not done a field check of their sites yet. Perhaps they were also engraved, stone "petrographs".

I also have this feeling that many European dolmens were painted as well.
And some of the early Egyptian temple stones.

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J Henkel
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Re: A technical question

Post by J Henkel » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:02 am

Hi E.P.,
E.P. Grondine wrote:Hypothetically, they're "pictoglyph"s, not a "petroglyph" or "petrograph", with glyphs about the sized of Linear A or Linear B glyphs.
Generally the frottage method is applicable for almost all kinds of glyphs on stone surfaces, as long as the surface is not too irregular and crooked. Small stone slabs or tablets might pose a problem in handling. Does the hypothetical size of 2-3 inches refer to the stone or to the hypothetical inscription?
E.P. Grondine wrote:Getting sweet grass is no problem, are the acids water soluble?
I'm not aware of any analyses into the chemical processes of carbon fixation on paper with grass. Actually, we don't exactly know which compounds of the plant saps do the trick. For us it's quite ok to know that it works...
E.P. Grondine wrote:is there anyone working on the imaging in other spectra for the remnants of painted petroglyphs to try and find paint traces?
Try this one, he joined the documentation week in Tanum last year and is working on petroglyphs in Mexico:
http://www.uaslp.mx/Spanish/Academicas/ ... fault.aspx.
E.P. Grondine wrote:I also have this feeling that many European dolmens were painted as well.
Consensus has it that the Scandinavian rock carvings were probably not painted. At least there is no good evidence to prove it. Where did you get that feeling about European dolmens? Would be interesting to know. Most of them "only" have cupmarks which probably have been used in rituals. Some of them were still in use in early 20th century, but those were probably secondary traditions.
Joachim Henkel
Scandinavian Society for Prehistoric Art

E.P. Grondine

Re: A technical question

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:51 am

Thanks for that info, J.

What I need to know is what materials I can use to make a 3D surface impressions of the surfaces of the hypothetical object.

Re: Painting.

When one looks at PIct stones standing alone, it seems likely that perhaps ones with painted images preceded the inscribed ones. The same goes for Ogham inscribed stones standing alone.

In regard to cups and holes, I don't know why people think that what is there now is all that was there then. I imagine the stones at Gobleki Tepe were likely painted as well as being carved.

In Egypt, we have painted petrographs far preceding early dynastic ceremonial buildings, and later painted building elements.


(PS - I seem to remember that "frottage" has another interesting definition in French. Enjoyable as well, but I had not thought of "taking a rubbing" that way before. I'll be sure to keep the term in mind.)

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J Henkel
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Re: A technical question

Post by J Henkel » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:47 pm

Hi E.P.,

no experience with 3D impressions here. In recent years we had some students at the documentation week who did/do their theses about the use of scanning devices in rock art documentation. Might be an interesting future perspective.

Picture stones and runestones were certainly painted. As for Scandinavia they are iron age (most of them Viking age). I know a bit about the inscriptions but not about the paintings/colours/pigments, would have to dig up further information about those myself.

Without hard evidence we can only speculate about what cupmarks might have looked like, back then when they were made. Of course it's tempting imagining rock carvings looking quite different than we see them today but is that really leading anywhere if we pretend knowing things we don't know? I had a short correspondence with an archaeologist of the team digging at Göbekli Tepe. They assume (or should I say speculate?) that the cupmarks on top of the T-shaped stones were added much later, when they were covered with sand and only the top was still sticking out. Might appear plausible, given the age of Göbekli Tepe. On the other hand, couldn't those stones indicate that cupmarks are much older than previously thought? Also plausible with a symbol as simple as cupmarks. Speculations, leading us away from the original technical question...

"Frottage" is a term used in arts (quite different arts than the one you were referring to). It's a technique using a pencil, charcoal, chalk or other drawing device for rubbing over a textured surface, thus producing an image of the surface on paper. In the painting arts the technique was "rediscovered" and further developed by Max Ernst. As we are using this technique for exact reproductions of stone surfaces, the term "frottage" might be slightly misleading.
Joachim Henkel
Scandinavian Society for Prehistoric Art

Tiompan
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Re: A technical question

Post by Tiompan » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:42 pm

Some of the Swedish engravings which were mostly bronze Age were painted over , a practice that is sensibly being phased out as it was only done to highlight the markings for tourists . There were however genuine paintings mostly Finnish the earliest dating from 5000 BC . The first discovery was in 1911 by the composer Jean Sibelius at Vittrask .The main motifs are grids , serpentiforms ,zig zags ,elk antlers and boats . There are cup marks much earlier than Gobleki Tepe in Europe , La Ferassie cave cups are dated approx 50, 000 BC whilst in India Auditorium cave and Daraki Chattan have cups dating from 290, 000 -700,000 bc .

George

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Re: A technical question

Post by Tiompan » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:57 pm

E.P. Grondine wrote:Thanks for that info, J.


Re: Painting.

When one looks at PIct stones standing alone, it seems likely that perhaps ones with painted images preceded the inscribed ones. The same goes for Ogham inscribed stones standing alone.


(PS - I seem to remember that "frottage" has another interesting definition in French. Enjoyable as well, but I had not thought of "taking a rubbing" that way before. I'll be sure to keep the term in mind.)

Paint derived from haematite was used long before the Pictish period in Scotland as has been confirmed by the finds at the Ness of Brodgar in the past few years , but there is no evidence of any traces of paint from the actual Pictish stones which date from circa 6-9 th C AD. Similarly the earlier rock art of the Neolithic to Bronze Age may have been painted but there is no direct evidence even from the engravings in protected contexts like passage graves .

George

George

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J Henkel
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Re: A technical question

Post by J Henkel » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:43 am

Thanks for the infos, George!

Now we're getting a bit of the thread's main track but I'm too curious not to ask:
Tiompan wrote:There are cup marks much earlier than Gobleki Tepe in Europe , La Ferassie cave cups are dated approx 50, 000 BC whilst in India Auditorium cave and Daraki Chattan have cups dating from 290, 000 -700,000 bc .
I would be very interested to know how they dated the cupmarks. Do you have any accessible references on that topic? Do you have any information about dating of cupmarks on boulders, graves, or bedrock surfaces?
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Re: A technical question

Post by Tiompan » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:54 am

J H , Some useful papers in relation to the Indian cups are "The difficulties of determining the approximate antiquity of Lower paleolithic petroglyphs in Indian : Giriraj Kumar & Robert Benarik .A paer delievred IFRAO congress 2010 . see http://www.scribd.com/doc/42243154/reun ... Ifrao-2010 & Physico-psychological approach for understanding the significance of Lower Paelolithic cupules : Ram Krishna and Giriraj Kumar and "Lower Paleolithic Rock Art of India and it's global context :Robert Bednarik .
Stratigraphically there is no problem ,Acheulian implements including a a quartzite cleaver were found well above the the level of the petroglyphs .The petroglyphs were sealed by overlying sediments yielding middle paleolithic artefacts . OSL dating was attempted on sediments from the excavated sections , AMS RC dating of amorphous silica , and U-Th series dating of ferromanganeous accretions deposited on the cups all were failures in terms of achieveing absolute dates .The only satisfactory result is a conservative indication that engravings are much older than 100 Ka .

At La Ferrasie , eight Neanderthal skeletons were found surrounded and covered by Mousterian deposits. The cup marked stone covered one of the graves ,a childs .

George

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Re: A technical question

Post by Tiompan » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:10 am

J Henkel wrote: Do you have any information about dating of cupmarks on boulders, graves, or bedrock surfaces?
Sorry JH missed this aspect . In Europe dating of cup marks is entirely by context not technology . In Britain the earliest secure context is a cup marked rock from Dalladies a long barrow in Scotland dated 3240 BC .
George

E.P. Grondine

Re: A technical question

Post by E.P. Grondine » Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:37 pm

I believe what I am looking for is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sculpey
a rolling pin, toothpicks, and some talc.
(The use of talc to get a clean lift does not sound optimal to me, but that is what has been used.)

Good luck with your stone paintings and engravings.

I tend to think that the techniques used at Gobleki Tepe were developed first for the use of large logs from cedars or redwoods, and then adapted to stone.

I suppose the pollen will tell us what the site's environment was like during its period of use.

What purpose cup marks on top would serve I have no idea. Perhaps they are an artifact of quarrying.

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Re: A technical question

Post by Tiompan » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:51 am

E.P. Grondine wrote:
I tend to think that the techniques used at Gobleki Tepe were developed first for the use of large logs from cedars or redwoods, and then adapted to stone.

What purpose cup marks on top would serve I have no idea. Perhaps they are an artifact of quarrying.
Stonehenge has mortice and tenon joints on the lintels .

What pupose would cup marks have on any surface ? The most common is the upper surface .

George

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Re: A technical question

Post by Ernie L » Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:06 am

Cup marks...What a wonderful mystery for us. The folk lore associated with them is especially interesting.

Mortise and tenon aside...One possibility that I recently read about is that they are the result of people ingesting ground stone as a medicinal cure. See Pica and Geophagy and Kaolinite (white clay). This is still practiced in some southern US states and Africa. Other places as well I'm sure.

Could this just be re-purposing by later populations such as the cups along the coast line of Scotland that were/are used as bait mortars.

A wonderful mystery for sure.


1.http://www.tc.umn.edu/~call0031/folklore.html
Regards Ernie

E.P. Grondine

Re: A technical question

Post by E.P. Grondine » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:45 am

Tiompan wrote: Stonehenge has mortice and tenon joints on the lintels .
It is amazing to me that no one has thought through what this means as to how the Henges were erected.

I think one also has to ask why the archaeological community there has never addressed the problem of "Where were the toilets at Stonehenge?" Perhaps Freud or modern psychology could provide some insights into the answer to that question.

For me, the remains at the quarries used for Stonehenge would be of very high interest.

One has to remember that Britain had old growth trees then.

I am enjoying the new petroglyph studies of Stonehenge.

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Re: A technical question

Post by Tiompan » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:45 am

Ernie L wrote:Cup marks...What a wonderful mystery for us. The folk lore associated with them is especially interesting.

Mortise and tenon aside...One possibility that I recently read about is that they are the result of people ingesting ground stone as a medicinal cure. See Pica and Geophagy and Kaolinite (white clay). This is still practiced in some southern US states and Africa. Other places as well I'm sure.

Could this just be re-purposing by later populations such as the cups along the coast line of Scotland that were/are used as bait mortars.

A wonderful mystery for sure.


1.http://www.tc.umn.edu/~call0031/folklore.html
Pica would be a possible explanation for some cups but just as rock art in general is polysemic the reasons for engraving are also are multiple . If you interest was pica then there is no need to engrave a cup simply creating dust would be sufficient . Cups are sometimes quite small and part of a design like encircling rings this seems an unlikely method of getting access to the dust . It is also clear that cups are often engraved by a direct percussion method whereby small chips are removed ,these can be still be seen as "pick marks " ,not ideal for dust either .

The bait holes on the west of Scotland could be re-use of original cup marks or later enhancements of natural markings for that purpose .

George

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