Thursday, 15 December 2016

Rule of Thumb - Portable Rock Art Motif

Something I have been aware of for a few years is the Thumb motif found on my site and in other hand axes and blade tools. I have already shown a number of hand shapes in my poly iconic materials and perhaps there is a similar meaning to these icons. I have long suggested that these motifs are actually visual language devices rather than art per se. I have found many suspected thumb shapes from my find site and have seen others, both recognized and unrecognized both in flint tool form or just as worked stones. So what is the meaning of this motif? Many portable rock art finds contain images of hominids and apes, usually in head profile form, and there is a great variety of both, all of these motifs can be replaced by the thumb motif. So instead of carving various ape and hominid head profiles, prehistoric men could of carved a thumb shape to indicate all, allow me to explain a little further. One of the unique features of hominids is opposable thumbs, so this motif would cover all hominids. On a double sided piece direction of travel could be easily indicated, furthermore when the piece is turned upside down this could indicate all apes and monkeys, as the thumb would be in the position it is on monkeys hands rather than the natural position it is in on the hands of humans and hominids.
This is a Flint hand Axe found in Kent Uk, a thumb shape and nail can be seen. Source: 

Below: A selection of 3 thumb shapes found from my find site, The top one is also a blade tool.

Below another one of my UK thumb finds.

The Two Flint tool finds below were both found in North America and Both show the Thumb Motif.

From Ebay, another combination elephant half and thumb motif.

Below: From my find site here in the UK, another combination thumb and elephant front leg motif.

Below: The images to the left are drawings of an eolith, recovered from layers dated to at least 2 million years old. Again elephant half and combined thumb motifs can be seen.

Is this neolithic? polished hand axe carrying comparatively modern traces of figurative art?
Image source: The British Museum, link has further details about the find.

USA stone below: The bottom picture also shows the Elephant and front leg motif, thumb shape and claw.