Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




ABOUT US
Professor finds prehistoric rock art connected; maps cosmological belief
by Staff Writers
Knoxville TN (SPX) Jun 24, 2013


This art features a bird holding ceremonial maces and a ceremonial monolithic axe transforming into a human face. Credit: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood/Antiquity Publications Ltd.

It is likely some of the most widespread and oldest art in the United States. Pieces of rock art dot the Appalachian Mountains, and research by University of Tennessee, Knoxville, anthropology professor Jan Simek finds each engraving or drawing is strategically placed to reveal a cosmological puzzle.

Recently, the discoveries of prehistoric rock art have become more common. With these discoveries comes a single giant one-all these drawing and engravings map the prehistoric peoples' cosmological world.

The research led by Simek, president emeritus of the UT system and a distinguished professor of science, is published in this month's edition of the journal Antiquity. The paper is co-authored by Nick Herrmann of Mississippi State University, Alan Cressler of the U.S. Geological Survey and Sarah Sherwood of The University of the South.

The researchers proposed that rock art changed the natural landscape to reflect a three-dimensional universe central to the religion of the prehistoric Mississippian period.

"Our findings provide a window into what Native American societies were like beginning more than 6,000 years ago," said Simek. "They tell us that the prehistoric peoples in the Cumberland Plateau, a section of the Appalachian Mountains, used the rather distinctive upland environment to map their conceptual universe onto the natural world in which they lived."

Simek and his team analyzed 44 open- air art sites where the art is exposed to light and 50 cave art sites in the Cumberland Plateau using nondestructive, high-tech tools, such as a high-resolution laser scanner.

Through analysis of the depictions, colors, and spatial organization, they found that the sites mimic the Southeastern native people's cosmological principles.

"The cosmological divisions of the universe were mapped onto the physical landscape using the relief of the Cumberland Plateau as a topographic canvas," said Simek.

The "upper world" included celestial bodies and weather forces personified in mythic characters that exerted influences on the human situation. Mostly open-air art sites located in high elevations touched by the sun and stars feature these images. Many of the images are drawn in the color red, which was associated with life.

The "middle world" represented the natural world. A mixture of open air and cave art sites hug the middle of the plateau and feature images of people, plants and animals of mostly secular character.

The "lower world" was characterized by darkness and danger, and was associated with death, transformation and renewal. The art sites, predominantly found in caves, feature otherworldly characters, supernatural serpents and dogs that accompanied dead humans on the path of souls.

The inclusion of creatures such as birds and fish that could cross the three layers represents the belief that the boundaries were permeable. Many of these images are depicted in the color black, which was associated with death.

"This layered universe was a stage for a variety of actors that included heroes, monsters and creatures that could cross between the levels," Simek said.

Interestingly, weapons are rarely featured in any of the art sites.

Simek said the scale of the rendering is most impressive, noting the Cumberland Plateau was a sacred setting, spanning hundreds of miles, in which individual sites were only parts of a greater conceptual whole.

.


Related Links
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ABOUT US
New research backs theory that genetic 'switches' play big role in human evolution
Ithaca NY (SPX) Jun 24, 2013
A Cornell University study offers further proof that the divergence of humans from chimpanzees some 4 million to 6 million years ago was profoundly influenced by mutations to DNA sequences that play roles in turning genes on and off. The study, published June 9 in Nature Genetics, provides evidence for a 40-year-old hypothesis that regulation of genes must play an important role in evoluti ... read more


ABOUT US
WIN-T Increment 1 Enables National Guard to Restore Vital Network Communications Following a Disaster

Australia costs from natural disasters to soar: study

Satellite data will be essential to future of groundwater, flood and drought management

China work safety probe finds 'many' problems: official

ABOUT US
Noble gases hitch a ride on hydrous minerals

'Chemical architects' build materials with potential applications in drug delivery and gas storage

Researchers Propose New Method for Achieving Nonlinear Optical Effects

Unexpected behavior of well-known catalysts

ABOUT US
Fiji's Air Pacific bans 'unsustainable' shark fins

Ups-and-downs of Indian monsoon rainfall likely to increase under warming

Looking at sachet water consumption in Ghana

Natural Underwater Springs Show How Coral Reefs Respond to Ocean Acidification

ABOUT US
The rhythm of the Arctic summer

Global cooling as significant as global warming

Warm ocean drives most Antarctic ice shelf loss

Jet stream changes cause climatically exceptional Greenland Ice Sheet melt

ABOUT US
Pesticides tainting traditional China herbs: Greenpeace

Research suggests plants capable of employing quantum physics

Talks on EU agriculture policy reforms in make-or-break stage

African palm oil makers hit back at global 'smear campaign'

ABOUT US
India flood rescue ops intensify, up to 1,000 feared dead

Flooding in Canada forces evacuation in another city

Tropical storm Barry kills three in Mexico

Alberta faces '10-year recovery' after flood: Redford

ABOUT US
Uganda president's son denies plan to succeed father

Africa juggles East and West, as Obama comes to visit

In Ghana's gold country, Chinese miners flee crackdown

DEA boosts fight against West African narco-terrorists

ABOUT US
New frontier for cybersecurity: your body

What do memories look like?

Professor finds prehistoric rock art connected; maps cosmological belief

New research backs theory that genetic 'switches' play big role in human evolution




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement