Tuesday, May 22, 2018

TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION:  While I really appreciate your comments (generally) on RockArtBlog, I must remind you that they come to me on a "no-reply" e-mail communication from Blogger. If you wish an answer to a comment or question you have to send it to me directly at archeofaris@yahoo.com.  

Saturday, May 19, 2018

THE EARLIEST DATES IN COLORADO, EAGLE ROCK SHELTER:


Eagle Rock Shelter, 5DT813,
Delta County, Colorado.
Photograph cpr.org,
Public Domain.

The oldest dates recovered so far in Colorado have come from an excavation at Eagle Rock Shelter (5DT813) in Delta County, supervised by Dr. Glade Hadden, recently of the Montrose office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Beginning in 2007, the BLM and Western Wyoming Community College collaborated upon this excavation resulting in some remarkable findings.

       
"Since 2007, the BLM and Western Wyoming Community College have collaborated on the excavation of the Eagle Rock Shelter (Site 5DT 813) in the northern portion of the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area. Excavations at the site have to date uncovered evidence of habitation within the shelter spanning the range of human occupation of North America." (Hadden, quoted in Bannister2013:1)



Panel 1, Eagle Rock Shelter,
Photograph Carol Patterson.

"Eagle Rock Shelter is a fairly large rock shelter located on the first bench above the Gunnison River. The site was originally recorded by the BLM in 1988 after it was reported as a looted site. After receiving the report, BLM archaeologists, along with staff from Alpine Archaeological Consultants, recorded the shelter and assessed the damage from looters. Their conclusion at the time was that the shelter may still contain some in situ deposits and that BLM should initiate an excavation to recover information missed by the looters. The shelter walls contain dozens of petroglyphs spanning the Archaic Period (ca. 7,000 years BP to roughly 2,000 years BP), the Formative Period (ca. 300 AD to 1,200 AD) and the Late Prehistoric (Numic or Ute) period. The BLM concluded at the time that there was a reasonable chance that some deposits from these time frames may still be intact inside the shelter." (Hadden, quoted in Bannister2013: 1)

"The Archaic period is an era in the human history of Colorado dating from ca. 6500-AD 200. It is one of he three prehistoric periods used by archaeologists to characterize broad cultural changes that occurred throughout the Americas. It was preceded by the Paleolithic Indian period (ca. 11,500 - 7000 BC), extending back into the late Ice Age, and was followed by the Formative period (1000 BC - AD 1450)." (Black 2018)

       
Drawing of panel 1, Eagle
Rock Shelter, Carol Patterson.

"In 2007, BLM archaeologist Glade Hadden and Dr. Dudley Gardner of Western Wyoming Community College visited the site with an eye to establishing a college archaeological field school. Our assessment then was that the site may prove to be an ideal field school project with a high probability of finding undisturbed Formative and Middle to Late Archaic occupation deposits. Excavations began by delineating the damage to the site from the looting episode. After the first year we had concluded that, while most of the later Formative and Late Prehistoric levels had been destroyed, there were good indicators of intact Late Archaic and Formative period levels still in place. Over the next few years, WWCC and BLM continued to excavate and uncovered numerous intact occupational levels including Ute, Fremont hearths (Formative period), and Archaic hunter/gatherer camps, with a degree of preservation that was remarkable. Perishable fibers, cordage, leather, and wooden artifacts were found including a 3,000 year BP basked, dart foreshafts, an early archaic Pinto point with sinew wrap still in place, stone, bone, and wood tools, beads, including bone beads in both round and disk form, eagle bone beads, food preparation impliments, ground stone, and ocher." (Hadden, quoted in Bannister2013: 2)


Panel , Eagle Rock Shelter,
Photograph Carol Patterson.

"By 2010, we had established that the shelter occupation dated back at least to 8,000 years BP and contained undisturbed occupations representing all phases of known human occupation for the area. In 2011, we excavated down through the intact Archaic levels and discovered hearths, with the first dating to ca. 9,000 years BP, well within the Paleo-Indian period, and finally a single hearth which yielded two individually certified dates of 12,800 years BP. The hearth contained charred bones (including one element of a late Pleistocene mammal), charred seeds, grasses, as well as stone tools and debris. The date from the older hearth places the early occupation of the shelter to the end of the last Ice Age, and represents one of the earliest Clovis sites in North America, placing it among a small handful of stratified Clovis/Paleo-Indian occupation sites in the western hemisphere - and currently the oldest archaeological site in Colorado." (Hadden, quoted in Bannister2013: 2)


Drawing of panel 8, Eagle
Rock Shelter, Carol Patterson.

What seems remarkable to me in this is that it has not been long since all archaeological references insisted that there was no habitation of North America that early. It was argued that Clovis (11,500 - 11,000 BP) was the first culture to inhabit North America. It should be noted that there is no mention of any Clovis culture affiliation in any of the material from Eagle Rock Shelter.

"The site is important because of the Paleo-Indian component, but that is far from the only significant component, says Hadden. "We have some of the most amazing stuff ever found in archaeological sites in Colorado right here. They're not unique, but they're amazing." In all, the site contained more than 50 hearths, and at least 42 different occupational contexts, including some gaps in occupation later on. In one of those layers was a 7,000-year-old woven yucca fiber basked that archaeologists estimate looters missed by about eight inches.  It's the oldest known basket in Colorado and the second-oldest found in North America. "And it has a nice provenance," said Hadden. "We know exactly where it came from. . . and the dry climate has maintained it beautifully."" (Meck 2016)

"Another find that could be a game-changer is a Middle Archaic Pinto point with sinew wrapped around the base. Pinto points, found in this area, are thought to date 5,000-6,000 years, but the sinew dates back 8,000 years. That could push the occupation dates of sites in the Escalante Canyon near Delta back possibly 2,000 more years, said Hadden." They also found tanned animal hides, a yucca-fiber sandal, and hundreds of projectile points, some dating back 12,000 - 13,000 years." (Meck 2016)

Eagle Rock shelter also includes rock art, although none of it can yet be associated with the earliest occupations of 12,000 to 13,000 years ago, and it was recorded in detail by Dr. Carol Patterson and Dr. Alan Watchman.

They divided the rock art there into sixteen panels for their comprehensive 2006 report, and found that most of the rock art can be attributed to the Archaic and Formative eras. Their description of panel one is reasonably representative of most of the rock art in Eagle Rock Shelter. For panel one their report stated "Two eras are represented in this panel. The large animals are of the Archaic Era with branching antlers, large bodies and long thin legs and cloven feet. The smaller animals with stubby legs and round bodies, and the anthropomorph with stick legs and arms, along with the sinuous lines belong to the Formative era.
This panel exhibits characteristics of the Archaic Era with large horned animals, stick figure type anthropomorphs and abstract lines (2400 BP and older). It is superimposed in some areas by later, Formative Era (2400 to 700 PB) quadrupeds, and some later scratched and gouged lines. Determining age is difficult because of the strong weathering which has affected the surface and the glyphs. As no rock surface coatings are present a direct approach to dating is not possible. Varnish has not reformed in the peckings and so an indirect age estimate of less than about 2000 years may be approximate for most of the motifs." (Patterson and Watchman 2006:26 & 27)

While it would have been exciting to have examples of rock art from the earliest Paleolithic occupation, the fact that we now have hard dates from that early, plus the great detail of the rock art recording, provide us with a wealth of material to consider. A good job all the way around.

NOTE: For more complete information I would refer you to the resources listed below.

REFERENCES:

Banister, Craig
2013 "Eagle Rock" Clovis/Paleo Tour, The Surveyor (Newsletter of the Colorado Archaeological Society, Vol. 11, No. 4, Fall 2013, pages 1 & 2.

Black, Kevin
The Archaic Period in Colorado, https://coloradoencyclopedia.org/article/archaic-period-colorado, accessed April 30, 2018.

Lofholm, Nancy
2016   A Basket Older Than God . . . Well, Jesus, July 1, 2016, www.cpr.org/news/story/basket-older-godwell-jesus

Meck,Tamie
2016 Eagle Rock Shelter Offers New Insights Into Paleo-Indian Culture, Sept. 6, 2016, http://www.deltacountyindependent.com/eagle-rock-shelter-offers-new-insights-into-paleo-indian-culture-cms-4597

Patterson, Carol, Dr., and Dr. Alan Watchman
2006 Gunnison River Rock Art Site (5DT813), Delta County: Documentation, Evaluation, and Management Plan. Submitted for Julie Coleman, BLM Archaeologist, BLM Field Office, Montrose, CO, 80401, Urraca Archaeological Services, Montrose, Colorado

Saturday, May 12, 2018

HISTORICAL INSCRIPTIONS AT THE TOMB OF A BIBLICAL PROPHET:



Esarhaddon inscription, Tomb of
Jonah, Nineveh, Iraq. Photograph
Live Science, Public Domain.

Explorations on the outskirts of Mosul, Iraq, in the ruins of The Tomb of Jonah, an ancient shrine that was blown up by ISIS (the so-called Islamic State) on July 24, 2014, in the ancient Iraqi city of Nineveh, revealed seven inscriptions that describe the rule of Assyrian king Esarhaddon. (Jarus 2018)

"Jonah, known as Yunus in the Koran, is a religious figure in Abrahamic religions most famous for the story of being swallowed by a 'giant fish,' or possibly a whale. The text says that he preached in the city of Nineveh, which was the capital of the ancient Assyrian empire" (Hugo 2018)


Mosque of the Prophet Yunus.
Photograph Voice of America,
Public domain.

When Iraqi forces reoccupied the ruins they discovered that ISIS had been tunneling beneath the mosque, presumably for artifacts that could be sold on the black market, one of their sources of income. The mosque, and the Tomb of Jonah, had been blown up by ISIS as one act in their campaign to eradicate what they perceive as idolatry and heresy.


Tunnels beneath the Mosque
of the Prophet Yunus.
Public domain.


Tunnels beneath the Mosque
of the Prophet Yunus.
Public domain.

"The seven inscriptions were discovered in four tunnels beneath the biblical prophet's tomb, which is a shrine that's sacred to both Christians and Muslims." (Jarus 2018)

"One inscription, in translation, reads: 'The palace of Esarhaddon, strong king, king of the world, king of Assyria, governor of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the kings of lower Egypt, upper Egypt and Kush.'" (Jarus 2018)

An inscription which was engraved on the back of a fallen Lamassu (a deity with a human head and the body of a bull or lion) reads in translation: "The palace of Ashurbanipal, great king, mighty king, king of the world, king of Assyria, son of Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, descendant of Sennacherib, king of Assyria." (Jarus 2018)


Stele of Esarhaddon,
Public Domain.

"Another inscription found under the Tomb of Jonah says that Esarhaddon 'reconstructed the temple of the god Assur (the chief god of the Assyrians),' rebuilt the ancient cities of Babylon and Esagil, and 'renewed the statues of the great gods.' The inscriptions also tell of Esarhaddon's family history, saying that he is the son of Sennacherib (reign 704-681 B.C.) and a descendent of Sargon II (reign 721-705 B.C.), who was also 'king of the world, king of Assyria.'" (Jarus 2018)

Sennacherib is known to biblical scholars  because in the Christian bible the Second Book of Chronicles, Chapter 32, describes how the Assyrian King Sennacherib invaded Judah.

So, while the destruction of historically significant cultural properties should be lamented by all civilized humans, the resulting discovery has added to our knowledge of the early history of the Middle East, and that, at least, is a good thing.

NOTE: Images in this posting were retrieved from the internet with a search for public domain photographs. If any of these images are not intended to be public domain, I apologize, and will happily provide the picture credits if the owner will contact me with them. For further information on these reports you should read the originals at the sites listed below.

REFERENCES:

Hugo, Kristin
2018 Ancient Tomb of Biblical Prophet Discovered in Iraq Contain Engravings Describing Brutal Assyrian Ruler, February 21, 2018, Newsweek, https://www.yahoo.com/news/ancient-tomb-biblical-prophet-discovered-170054149.html

Jarus, Owen
2018 Beneath Biblical Prophet's Tomb, an Archaeological Surprise, Live Science, Feb. 18, 2018, https://www.livescience.com/61798-biblical-prophet-tomb-iraq.html#?utm_source=ls-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=02-21-ls

Saturday, May 5, 2018

MEET THE ROCK ARTIST - PACOMIO CHACON:



Dragon trail, S. of Rangley,
Rio Blanco county, CO.,
Photograph Peter Faris,
Sept. 1990.

Back in 1990, south of Rangeley, Colorado, I ran into one of the most amazing and memorable petroglyphs I had (and still have) ever seen. A beautiful example of sheepherder art, it was the nude figure of a woman, wearing only a drape and high heels, and signed "Paco Chacon, Fruita, Colo, Jan 9 1975."


Sketch of petroglyph, 
Dragon trail, S. of Rangley,
Rio Blanco county, CO.,

The thing about it was that it could in no way be labeled a pornoglyph; although nude, she was demure and innocent, self-confident and comfortable in her beauty. When I met her she was only fifteen years old based on the dated signature. As a life-long fan of folk art this petroglyph instantly impressed itself in my memories as one of my very favorites.



Dragon trail, S. of Rangley,
Rio Blanco county, CO.
Photograph Cheryl Ames,
Sept. 2008.

I was later given this 2008 photograph by Cheryl Ames showing the demise of this remarkable beauty. Some philistine with a high-powered rifle, for whatever demented reasons, had decided to practice his target practice on her image.

By now I am sure you have noticed that this particular column is not an impartial scientific report on rock art. I am, in fact, ranting about an all-too-common occurrence in rock art, vandalism, and lamenting the destruction of a particularly beautiful example of sheepherder art. There is, however, one bright element in this dark and depressing story. I have recently read a wonderful book by Steven G. Baker (2016) about this artist, Paco Chacon. Baker's "My Name is Pacomio" opens up the life of this artist whom Baker had befriended, and introduces us to the remarkable body of work, both on rock and on Aspen bark, that is Paco Chacon's legacy to the world. So many more examples of the work of this remarkable self-taught artist than I could ever hope to find are illustrated in Baker's 130 pages.


Paco Chacon petroglyph,
"Desert Bighorn, and Little 
Miss Tuffet." #12, p. 93,
Photograph Steven G. Baker.


 "Paco's Pony", #13, p. 93, 
from Shavetail Basin,
near Rangely, CO.
Photograph Steven G. Baker

According to Baker, Pacomio Chacon was born in New Mexico's Jemez mountains on La Mesa del Polio in the vicinity of the community of Coyote. As with so many others in this rural, pastoral society, Chacon grew up working around the family's small farm and herding flocks of sheep. I have no intention of recounting the life history of Paco Chacon, for that I will refer you to the book listed below which Steven G. Baker wrote about the life and work of his friend. I will say that Chacon sounds like an admirable man who showed a remarkable talent for portraying the human figure although he had no formal art training. That you will see for yourself in the few other examples of Chacon's body of work that I am including with Baker's permission out of the roughly one hundred that Baker has documented (and refers to other known examples that he could not photograph).


Aspen bark inscription, 1964-65,
photograph by Richard Moyer,
Meeker, Colorado.


Paco's "Marilyn M., Chimera of
the Aspens", #19, p. 71.
Photograph Steven G. Baker.


"Kneeling Lady", #18, p. 71.
Photograph Steven G. Baker

As grateful as I am to Paco Chacon for the beautiful examples of his work which decorate some of the Colorado/Utah  wilderness where sheep have long grazed, I am as grateful to Steve Baker for bringing me the full story of the gentle and talented man who produced it. Thank you both.

REFERENCE:

Baker, Steven G.
2016 My Name Is Pacomio: The Life and Works of Colorado's Sheepherder and Master Artist of Nature's Canvases, Western Reflections Publishing Co., Lake City, CO.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

AT LEAST HE ADMITS IT, A VANDAL'S CONFESSION:

I ran across the following online and I confess I am somewhat ambivalent about it. Yes, what he did was vandalism, but it does not appear that he wantonly destroyed a rock art panel or other cultural remains, although I believe that there was rock art nearby and so this would have affected the overall viewscape.
So, what do you think? Did he just do something stupid and now feels bad and wants to apologize, or  is he a smart marketer putting up a convincing front to try to get out from under? Should I believe him? Should you?

************************************


A MESSAGE FROM
RYAN & JEN ANDERSEN


DEAR FRIENDS AND






CONCERNED CITIZENS,

I am very sorry and embarrassed for my recent actions when visiting Corona Arch in southern Utah. While hiking in the Moab area with my family, I drew with a sandstone shard, a heart with my and my wife's initials and the year above it. 
At that moment, I foolishly thought I was conveying my love for my wife when, in fact, I was tarnishing the experience for others who also want to enjoy magnificent scenery. My actions were wrong. I am extremely sorry for my conduct. I acted in the spur of the moment and did not stop to think about what I was doing. 
Sometimes, our biggest mistakes can lead us to become better people. From now on, I will endeavor to leave no trace and help to protect our public lands. As part of that commitment, I have pledged to pay for the BLM's work to restore the damage I caused. I have also pledged to work with the government to speak out on this issue so others do not make the same mistake that I made. I truly believe that all of us have the responsibility to help ensure that our public lands remain pristine. 
I accept full responsibility for my actions. Neither Andersen Hitches nor its hard working employees, who are committed to supporting our loyal customers and their own families, had any involvement in my wrongdoing. To those dedicated employees, I offer my sincere apology. Going forward, I will do everything I can to show my employees, my community, and the public at large that this conduct is not what I stand for.
Sincerely, 










Please understand that my wife and I have wanted to come forward and make a statement from early on, but because the BLM still has an active investigation going on, we felt that we should wait. We have been cooperating with the BLM and await their decision.

HTTPS://RYAN-ANDERSEN.ORG/



Saturday, April 21, 2018

DRONES ARE PROVIDING A USEFUL TOOL FOR RECORDING ROCK ART AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL FEATURES:




Newly discovered Paracas
geoglyphs, ancient-origins.com.
Public domain.

Exciting new discoveries in archaeological survey, and rock art recording, are being made possible by the development of video and photographic drones. Recent online articles in Live Science and National Geographic News have documented the use of drone photography to record inaccessible rock art panels and geoglyphs. In the coastal Peruvian desert near the Nazca lines a number of new geoglyphs have been discovered with drone imaging, and an enormous rock art panel in Venezuela was recorded by drone as well.


Newly discovered Paracas
geoglyphs, ancient-origins.com.
Public domain.

The story of the newly discovered geoglyphs in the Palpa province of Peru began in December 2014 "when the environmental organization Greenpeace placed a huge sign calling for renewable energy next to the Nazca hummingbird design National Geographic reported. Greenpeace didn't have permission to enter the World Heritage Site and ended up damaging it." (Geggel 2018)

"Following the incident (for which Greenpeace later apologized), Peru received a grant from the United States to help restore its archaeology by hiring Peruvian archaeologist Johny Isla, the Nazca Line's chief restorer and protector, National Geographic said. Given that not all of Peru's archaeological sites have been mapped from the air, Isla and Peruvian archaeologist Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, who co-discovered the new glyphs, partnered with Sarah Parcak, a space archaeologist and founder of the Laboratory for Global Observation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, to do so." (Geggel 2018)

"After winning the TED Prize in 2016, Parcak founded the GlobalXplorer initiative, which trains citizen scientists to analyze satellite imagery for archaeological sites and signs of looting. The platform's first project invited volunteers to look at satellite photos of Peru." (Greshko 2018)

                           

Newly discovered Paracas
geoglyphs, Public domain.

"Parcak uses aerial photography from drones and satellites to discover and examine archaeological sites. In Peru, Parcak's team used drones, which took images in 2017 that helped the archaeologists discover the new lines." (Geggel 2018) This innovative project used drone photography to make new discoveries in areas that were suspected of holding geoglyphs, in Venezuela drones were used to record rock art that was previously known, but was hard to reach or inaccessible.


Venezuelan mountainside petroglyphs
(computer enhanced),
nationalgeographic.com,
Public domain.

"Ancient rock art isn't always easy to reach, but a researcher in Venezuela has solved this challenge with a bit of modern technology. A camera - equipped drone that zipped across a rocky, watery landscape to photograph ancient artwork depicting people, cultural rituals and animals, a new study reports." (Geggel 2017)


Venezuelan petroglyphs
(computer enhanced),
www.ucl.ac.uk,
Public domain.

"The drone-recorded engravings, in addition to more accessible rock art along the Orinoco River in western Venezuela, are some of the largest rock engravings found anywhere in the world, the researcher said. One panel is more than 3,200 square feet (304 square meters) and has 93 engravings. Another engraving portrays a 98-foot-long (30 m) horned snake." (Geggel 2017)

"The engravings appear to date to pre-Columbian (before 1492) and colonial times (1492 to the 19th century), said the study's author Philip Riris, an archaeologist at University College London in the United Kingdom. Some may be up to 2,000 years old, he noted." (Geggel 2017)

So modern drone technology not only proved useful in discovering rock art, but also in photographing and recording it. Not bad.

NOTE: Some images in this posting were retrieved from the internet with a search for public domain photographs. If any of these images are not intended to be public domain, I apologize, and will happily provide the picture credits if the owner will contact me with them. For further information on these reports you should read the originals at the sites listed below.

REFERENCES:

Geggel, Laura,
2017 Ancient Rock Art Mapped in Amazing Detail, Revealing 100-Foot Snake, Live Science, December 11, 2017, https://www.livescience.com/61155-drone-maps-ancient-rock-art-venezuala.html

Geggel, Laura,
2018 Sprawling, 2,000-Year-Old Desert Carvings Show Up in Drone Photos,
Live Science, April 6, 2018, https://www.livescience.com/62238-new-nazca-lines-discovered.html

Greshko, Michael
2018 Exclusive: Massive Ancient Drawings Found in Peruvian Desert,National Geographic News, April 5, 2018, https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/04/new-nasca-nazca-lines-discovery-peru-archaeology/

nationalgeographic.com

www.ancient-origins.com.

www.ucl.ac.uk

Saturday, April 14, 2018

THE EARLIEST HUMAN DATE IN NORTH AMERICA SO FAR (PART TWO) - THE ROCK ART:


Beringia.
cs7.pikabu.ru,
Public domain.

In part one of this I presented the earliest human date - so far - in North America, obtained from human-made cut marks on a piece of a horse mandible dated to 24,000 years ago. This was recovered from excavations between 1977 and 1987 at Bluefish Caves in the Yukon, by archaeologist Jacques Cinq-Mars. This location is in the area defined as Beringia, the portions of the Bering Strait exposed during the last glacial maximum, and adjoining portions of Siberia, Alaska, and Canada that were not covered by glaciation. I closed that column with the statement - "but this is RockArtBlog - what does this have to do with rock art? Well, we know people make rock art, and people from 24,000 years ago might well have made rock art too. As Eamer stated Beringia is now "mostly underwater" but, in the portions remaining available to us there is the possibility of rock art as old as 24,000 years. What a find that would be, what might it look like?"

With the end of the Ice Age and the melting of the glaciers the portion of Beringia that is now the Bering Strait was submerged, but portions of the land on continental North America that had been exposed at that time (and included in the boundaries of Beringia) are still exposed, and it so happens there are examples of rock art on those portions that might give us clues to what Beringian rock art would have looked like.

To begin, I must confess that my sample is woefully small, but from a very wide area. I have samples of petroglyphs from Petroglyph Beach at Wrangell, Alaska, and a carved rock from Shemya Island in the Aleutians, a small rocky island way out by the western end of the Aleutian chain.


Petroglyph Beach, Wrangell, Alaska.
Peter Faris, August 2001.



Petroglyph Beach, Wrangell, Alaska.
Peter Faris, August 2001.


"Petroglyph Beach State Historic Site is an Alaskan beach and public historical site with the highest concentration of Native American petroglyphs in the southeastern region of Alaska. Located on the shore of Wrangell, Alaska barely a mile out of town it became a State Historic Park in 2000. At lease 40 petroglyphs have been found to date. The site itself is about 8,000 years old." (Wikipedia) The predominate motifs seem to be concentric circles and masks, although a few recognizable zoomorphs are found such as birds and an orca.


"Seal Stone", Shemya Island,
Alaska. Public domain.


Shemya Island, Alaska.
1944, Public domain.


Shemya Island is located 1200 miles west by southwest of Anchorage, Alaska. This very "small island is in the Near Islands group of the Semichi Islands chain in the Aleutian Islands archipelago. - It has a land area of 5.903 sq mi (15.29 km2) and is 2.73 miles (4.39 km) wide and 4.32 miles (6.95 km) long." (Wikipedia) An island that is this small would never have supported a large population, but prehistoric population did exist, and we have a carved stone to prove it. The "Seal Stone" (so-called for the resemblence of one end to the head of a seal) weighs approximately 250 pounds and was found on Shemya during World War II by an American airman who shipped it home on an Air Corps cargo plane. It has since been recovered and returned to the Museum of the North in Fairbanks, Alaska (McLain 2015). 


Seal stone, one analysis of motifs
(I disagree with most of these identifications
except the face, there are also faces
that he did not identify).
aleutianislandsworkinggroup.wordpress.com,
Public domain.

The carvings on the "Seal Stone" are very reminiscent of many of the petroglyphs found on Petroglyph Beach at Wrangell, consisting of circles and masks, suggesting that they were made by members of the same culture.

We find motifs in both examples of masks, and multiple circular elements, showing considerable similarity. Having two examples of similar rock art found in areas that were included in old Beringia, and 1200 miles apart, seems to indicate a widespread culture that might have once included the rest of Beringia. Unfortunately we do not have reliable dates for these petroglyphs and the only way of estimating dates that I can imagine would be by measuring the depth of the weathering rind in the carved lines and comparing that to the rind of an un-carved surface. This would be a destructive technique so we should eschew any such attempts. If the published estimate of age for the petroglyphs at Wrangell is correct, then their creation was much closer to the time of Beringian exposure than to the present. That could suggest that this common culture is, indeed, very old and may well date back to Beringia. I fear, however, that we may never know unless more rock art is discovered in datable contexts.

NOTE: Some images in this posting were retrieved from the internet with a search for public domain photographs. If any of these images are not intended to be public domain, I apologize, and will happily provide the picture credits if the owner will contact me with them. For further information on these reports you should read the originals at the sites listed below.

REFERENCES:

Eamer, Claire
2017 Archaeological Find Puts Humans in North America 10,000 Years Earlier Than Thought, January 13, 2017, https://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-short/archaeological-find-puts-humans-north-america-10000-years-earlier-thought

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shemya

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroglyph_Beach_State_Historic_Park

McLain, Allison Young,
2015 The Seal Stone Enigma, 16 March 2015, https://aleutianislandsworkinggroup.wordpress.com/tab/rock-art/