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Archaeologica.org • View topic - Problematic Discoveries

Problematic Discoveries

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.

Moderators: Minimalist, MichelleH

Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby shawomet » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:09 pm

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby shawomet » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:59 pm

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby Tiompan » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:51 pm

"It's very easy to find references to shaman usage of quartz crystals, and their presence in shamans kits."
Yes I know .I just said that it was common to find the association with shamen and their kits e.g. " There is no shortage of archaeologists who buy into the shamanic hypothesis of rock art production,and no shortage of them mentioning quartz being associated with shamans " . Despite the complete lack of evidence to support the claim in a prehistoric context and no mention of "shiny rocks " , if they were quartz why didn't you say so ?

"you're not even spelling the word shaman correctly."
Did you miss "If north American, wouldn't they much more likely have been described by the informant(s) as something different from "shaman ", "
Shamen = plural of shaman . Didn't you know that ? Never come across shamanistic .
What about shamaniacs , they are dying out , but were big about 20 years ago , thanks to the misconceptions of Lewis -Williams and Whitley etc , essentially anyone who uncritically bought into the shamen
were responsible for prehistoric rock art and the engravings are to be found all over the world despite no evidence to support the claim .
More to the point it is a North Asian word ,that isn't even acceptable to native americans .

Where am I mistaken ?
If you believe the association between shamen and rock art then it's you who are gravely mistaken , all you have do to do is prove it . Nobody has in any continent .

The Tlingit kits are clearly not ancient .Did you find your shiny rocks in the north west ? Were the shiny rocks as recent as the Tlingit kits ? Does the modern Tlingit kits suggest that they were also to be found in prehistory ?
Finding a group of " shiny rocks " , even if they were the second most common mineral on the planet , and uncritically assuming they were from a shaman's kit is a massive leap of faith .

Don't you understand when someone is agreeing with you i.e. "Yep , fossils ,ammonites and oddly shaped /visually striking stones are chosen for their character and often found at thresholds /entrances , enhanced or used in association with later engravings etc ." Nothing about shamen , but about the interest in striking stones .
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby shawomet » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:17 am

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby shawomet » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:22 am

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby Tiompan » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:21 am

No doubt you hadn't come across the term shamaniacs either .
Spelling doesn't matter but being brought to task about spelling when the objector had never even come across the term is quite funny .

I'm not offended by the you use of the term shaman ,and didn't say I was .However indigenes often are offended by the term .
e.g. http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/awa ... amans.html and countless examples from the literature .
As are real shamen who will point out the error when the term is applied to other cultures where what is being practiced is not shamanism , but described as such by the ignorant or those with an agenda .
The use of term is lazy and mentions of it often derives from those archaeologists who imagine that much of native American /Indian rock art was the work of shamen .
This has easily been refuted , often from ethnography .

I disagree about extrapolating from modern practices to prehistory , cosmologies and practices changed in prehistory never mind into the present , but the important point is that what ever the practices in prehistory it has never been shown to be shamanism . Look at totem poles , they became an iconic but the early travellers tales don't mention anything like what was built in the 19th C ,and there is nothing to suggest that anything other than small posts were the precursors and certainly nothing to suggest that they existed at all in prehistory .
The problem with finding shaman's quartz , is not the quartz , it's the attribution shaman .
Spiritual practices like that of the medicine man ,real shamen ,priests ,sorcerers ,healers etc vary from continent to continent and within countries , describing them as shamen is lazy ,wrong and offensive to those who do not have genuine shamen in their culture .

My agreement with you about the ubiquity in the use of quartz and the interest in the choice of rocks for their visually striking character , was not mentioned in relation to American Indian sites .
It was about a general observable aesthetic in prehistory ,in this case as found in Europe .

You haven't responded to
Don't non shamen like shiny stones ?Did you find your shiny rocks in the north west ? Were the shiny rocks as recent as the Tlingit kits ?

The modern Tlingit kits consist of more than just shiny stone(s) ,where was the remainder of the kit ? Where is the ethnography mentioning kits that contained just shiny stones .
Were the shiny stones actually quartz?
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby shawomet » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:40 am

For an example of an actual effigy, made of Rhode Island Formation sandstone, and fashioned from a small pebble, see the description here:

https://forums.arrowheads.com/forum/inf ... rog-effigy

This is from my own collection, and was included in my friend and archaeologist's Ed Lenik's most recent book documenting Native American non utilitarian artifacts from the Northeast. Ed is an expert on petroglyphs from the Northeast; we have collaborated on several petroglyphs sites in Rhode Island. In this instance, however, we're dealing with an effigy as rock art, not a manuport, nor a petroglyphs as rock art, and one of the more unique effigies known from this region, as it is possible to view it and interpret it in several ways. From one perspective, it resembles a turtle, from another a frog, and to some it resembles a fertility fetish. If one clicks at the link located at the bottom of this linked page, one can read Ed's interpretation, which does indeed suggest a connection with a shaman. That's Ed's interpretation, and he is not describing it as a proven fact. That the effigy was carved in a way that does permit multiple viewing options does seem obvious enough, and whether Ed's interpretation is more, or less, correct, does not make the effigy itself any less clever in the execution of its design:

https://forums.arrowheads.com/forum/inf ... rog-effigy
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby shawomet » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:10 am

I have 60 years experience finding, handling and understanding artifacts, manuports, and geofacts from southern New England. I'm quite secure in my own knowledge, quite secure in my own opinions, and quite clear about what I can know on these subjects with a degree of certainty, as well as degrees of uncertainty when that is the case. I do not need to argue or debate my knowledge or my opinions, as just described, with anyone. Particularly with individuals who are only looking to argue for the sake of argumentation. At this stage of my life, I just don't need that. Anyone is perfectly free to disagree with anything I say, and for any reason. I hope that would go without saying in any circumstance.

I don't care enough to debate rock art, the origins of rock art, whether any rock art can be associated with shamans, whether any manuports can be associated with shamans or with spiritual practices, etc.

My only point, once this thread was restarted most recently, was to point out that rocks that resemble things like faces, but show no evidence whatsoever of tooling by humans, yet are found in association with artifacts, are known as manuports, not artifacts. And, of course, manuports can also be things as simple as raw material showing utilization. For instance, one of my prehistoric sites has yielded many pieces of graphite displaying the fact that that graphite was utilized to extract black pigment. The exact origin of that graphite can be demonstrated as a dozen miles south of the site in question. So I can be certain it was transported by humans from a distance. It's utilization can be demonstrated by the extraction marks. But, it qualifies not as an artifact, but rather a manuport.

If rocks with faces are surface collected, with no direct association with identifiable man made artifacts, it becomes more difficult to prove it is an actual manuport, and without tool marks, it can never be identified as an artifact. If collections are put together, of rocks that resemble things, and if such rocks are simply gathered at random, with no attention paid to any possible association with a known prehistoric site, then that's cool perhaps, neat images, but archaeologists are less likely to take them seriously as possible manuports. I do know individuals with collections of such rocks. I am less certain what such individuals hope to prove from such collections. That said, I like the exhibit that was put together in Dallas, and appreciate it having been brought to my attention.

Edit: Tiompan, just now glanced at your last comment. I can't offer any proof of the presence of colorful stones in known shaman kits. I can assume that Fowler made an association between the manuports found in the cremation burials he described, and the spiritual practitioners / shamans/ priests of the Archaic groups in question, because he assumed such spiritual practitioners would oversee such burials and have seen to it such objects were placed in the graves along with the artifacts commonly also found in such burial contexts. But there is always the chance such objects were simply favorite possessions of the deceased, and not directly associated with the spiritual practitioner, or intended to serve some "magical" purpose by including them.
Last edited by shawomet on Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby Tiompan » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:34 am

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby shawomet » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:38 am

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby Tiompan » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:50 am

[

These days , in Europe , any excavations at funereal monuments or rock art sites ,particular attention is paid to that most ubiquitous mineral ,quartz . All examples are considered as “finds” .
These finds vary from a small number of deposits to mound coverings consisting of thousands of pieces . Visually striking stones , odd shaped stones , worked stones , stones of non local geology (when recognised ) are also included .

I could see nothing to disagree with in the Fowler paper ( the title apart) until “skillful and well trained men called shamans or medicine men “ .The first problem is that there is no mention of female shamen , they exist in shamanic cultures but not for Fowler which might suggest the limitations of his conclusions . The medicine men gets forgotten despite the fact that medicine men are found in north America and all are now rationalised as shamen .
He then admits it's a guess about the shaman placing the deposits . Shaman was a popular attribution in the period ,but my problem with this in this context is that the term shaman is misleading for the reasons given above and as you suggest the deposition need not have been done by a medicine man / spiritual specialist /priest etc. The paper was of it's time ,but it highlights how easily the attribution of shaman became the norm with nothing to support it .
On a similar tack it is becoming clear that many grave goods are not necessarily associated with the sex, status ,place in society , the individual(s) being buried .
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby shawomet » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:26 am

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby Springhead » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:08 am

Hello,

Jack Hranicky, RPA has recently finished a book and report, both in color. Access to brief descriptions and ordering are to be found on his web site: archeology.org (no "a") which appears as "Virginia Academic Press." The book is called "PaleoAmerican Archaeology in Virginia," and the report is called "The Higgins Site, Clarke County, Virginia - A View of a PaleoAmerican Site in Virginia." Jack is sending me copies, but I have not yet received them.

Also of note is that the "accident" ("president" a la Rasaan Roland Kirk) actually signed into law federal recognition of five Virginia tribes to include the Monacan Nation (ca, 2300 folks). I congratulate my Monacan friends and the other tribes in their hard earned success after a lengthy and frustrating process. Senators Kaine and Warner, among others, were instrumental in seeing this through.
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby Springhead » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:07 am

[img][/img]

Hello Again,

This image shows an artifact found in a strategic spring branch location on the Virginia mountain site. The piece is approximately 2"x4" and is fashioned from jasper crystal rock. The left end is the working end of a tool that fits very comfortably in one's hand with a concave thumb enhancement. This attitude shows the knapping and/or carving by the creator which cannot be readily seen on the opposite side. In various attitudes the rock demonstrates a bird profile, a human profile (when rotated 90 degrees both clockwise and counter clockwise), and a bear profile as seen above.

There are micro images of many people all over the piece, but my camera is not up to the task of recording them. Other jasper artifacts have been found in the same location, two of which were identified as "provable" Pleistocene pieces by Jack Hranicky. He has not seen this item.

I am narrowing my search for jasper sources on the site. I am finding a good bit from a shelf in a waterfall and in a rock shelter, but these are loose pieces and I want to locate the source. Another unrelated natural attribute to the place is the ID of a pre Colombian Northern Red Oak damaged by the "derecho" five or so years ago. A Monacan neighbor with a forestry degree from Yale was nice enough to perform a healing ceremony on the tree. These ancient trees are very special to the Monacans as they are a direct link to a time when their ancestors inhabited the area. That occupation has gone unbroken from long ago and the local Monacans are justly proud of their tenure.
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby circumspice » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:51 pm

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