Portable Rock Paintings

33GU218 (Day's Knob)

Rock Painting - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

An anthropomorphic painting (height 18 mm - 0.7") apparently in iron oxide on the edge of a sandstone rock.  For a while, markings like these at this site were not presented as paintings because of the insistence of some archaeologists that they must be the result of natural dripping onto a rock's horizontal surface.  But this figure, quite aside from its compelling appearance of artificiality, is strong evidence to the contrary (confirmed by a professional geologist) since the image is on the vertical broken edge of the rock, perpendicular to its horizontal strata.  The rock, shown in the photo below, was found eroding next to a petroglyph on the same material roughly 60 cm (24") below the current unglaciated and undisturbed terrain surface.

Rock Painting in Situ - 33GU218

Rock Painting in Situ - 33GU218  Bird Petroglyph - 33GU218

Below:  The cortical side of the rock bearing the painting on its edge. Apparently natural features have been artificially enhanced to produce the profile image of a mastodon head facing right.

Mastodon Petroglyph - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

Petroglyphs In Situ - 33GU218

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Rock Painting (Bison?) - Day's Knob Archaeological Site, 33GU218

A zoomorphic painting on limestone.  Note how the image conforms to the contour of the rock.  What it might represent is, of course, debatable, but a flying juvenile bison seems  plausible, as suggested by Dr. James B. Harrod, who has been very supportive of and helpful to this author since the launch of this website in 2003.

Below:  The artifact viewed from above.

Rock Painting (Bison?) - Day's Knob Archaeological Site, 33GU218

Below:  A close-up of the pigmenting material, a hardened paste, in the figure's eye.

Red Ochre - Portable RockPainting at 33GU218)

To confirm that it is not a natural occurrence, this piece was taken to the labor- atories of NSL Analytical Services in Cleveland, Ohio for compositional analysis by x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF).  It was determined that the dark material is a superficial layer of red ochre (iron-oxide-based pigment) quite distinct from the limestone.  (Ohio state archaeologists had insisted that it was an integral part of the rock.)  The table below shows the elemental compositions of the limestone and of the pigmentation:

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Rock Painting - Day's Knob Archaeological Site
Another painting on limestone, a more or less anthropomorphic figure.  Note the typical subparallel incised striations on the rock.

Rock Painting - Day's Knob Archaeological Site    Rock Painting - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

These two paintings on limestone seem to present the fairly common theme of the heads of two creatures face to face.

Rock Painting - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

A zoomorphic figure on limestone.


Rock Painting/Carving - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

An interesting combination of painting and carving on limestone.  This surface is from the rock's interior, the piece having been carved from a larger stone.  The opposite site is cortex (natural exterior surface.)  This figure is small - the height of the larger (lower left) painted surface is only 8 mm (0.3").

Horse Figure in Limestone - Day's Knob Archaeological Site

The eye on this limestone horse-like carving was painted with the same material.

Painted Bird Sculpture - Day's Knob Archaeological Site
A painted bird-form limestone.  The theme is not exactly obvious, but may be the characteristic one of zoomorphic figures emerging from other figures.


The reverse side.  Note the distinctly carved beak.



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