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WE HAVE MOVED: PaleoArt@centurylink.net

Stone Legacy

This may be the oldest portable art in the Americas yet ironically, not portable to these Paleo Indians or it would have long been scattered through time.

In this Chapter:

Epilog > Matching the Stones > About Us > Our Guarantee

EPILOG

Before there was Pre-Columbian Art

Horses went extinct in North America shortly after the last Ice Age. If our estimation is right, when these Stone Age artifacts were first stacked, horses wouldn’t re-emerge in North America for another 11,500 years when the Spaniards arrived.

Paleo Indians of the Spoon River region may have been the first to use iron in the virgin form of hematite tools. It would be another 10,500 years before the bow & arrow emerge. It will be 10,000 years before the Mayan civilization even begins to rise above the jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula. It will be 9,500 years before the first known carved stone figurine and the invention of durable pottery. Fish hooks wouldn't be invented for another 8,500 years.

On the other side of the world it will be about 7,400 years before the Egyptians build their first pyramid. These stones were "pre-Columbian" art 7,000 years before the Stonehenge calendar split the seasons. Over 600 generations of humans will come and go...

This Stone Age Indian art may be the oldest known portable art in the Americas, yet ironically, it wasn't portable to the Paleo Indian River Owl. If it had, it would have long been scattered through time. These stones have intersected with life on Earth for 354 million years, giving them a triple history: They formed around sea life at the end of the Devonian Period when life took a foothold on land; were held captive in a glacier that traveled over 200 miles during the last Ice Age; were handle and admired by stone age people; and now have come to us as a rare gift.

The people who made and appreciated this pre-Columbian art were not just North American Indians, they were Stone-Age men and women. But stone age man was not dumb, he just had limited resources. The River Owl could not leave behind cave paintings. But they did leave us with a simple and effective art-form casting beauty, humor and insight into their lives. Ponder these ancient stones – a long-lost story of how life was – when the clan of the River Owl touched this earth.

Epilog Matching the Stones About Us Our Guarantee

 

MATCHING THE STONES

About 30% of these stone age figurines were found in the open field at the top of the hill. We only have small windows of opportunity when collecting these stones in this manner. The only way to see them at all is to walk the whole field. This takes lots of time. So in an effort to cover the whole area, often in the confusion and haste when collecting mud-covered Indian artifacts in the field, we get them mixed up. For example, while covering a swath of say 12 feet wide, we may pick up an interesting stone in its fringe. On a subsequent pass with an adjacent swath, we may find its mate which may have only been a separated by a few feet, but because of the furrows, it was not visible in the previous pass.

So most of the time, color and texture are all we have to match them. Next, we look for old broken surfaces that might hint on how they go together. A properly placed chip by the ancient artist allows the stones to stack either vertically or horizontally. But many of the figurines have no chipped surfaces at all.

Broken Surfaces

Unfortunately, we can’t radiocarbon date stone. However, breaks on stones do age. Fresh stone breaks caused by farm implements are sharp and may cut skin or paper and are usually shiny. We reject all prehistoric Venus and other figurines stones with freshly broken surfaces unless they do not interfere with the stacking or view of the image. Stone surfaces age over extended periods of time and can be distinguished from its freshly broken surface and other interim breaks, the latter usually has smoother edges to varying degrees with a duller and often pitted surface from abrasive contact with sand and other rocks in the soil.

Surface breaks in contact with soil abrasives are aggravated by the freezing and thawing of ground water. So when we see an old break, this is a telltale clue that it is either a feature to enhance the figurine in some way or a structural modification to allow stacking. Some breaks are caused by colliding with other stones while still in the river and usually can be distinguished from breaks made by early man. Such surfaces as the latter are not quite as smooth as river-polished breaks.

Coloration

The ancient artists were very insistent on matching stones as close as possible. They rarely crossed materials – only if the color and luster match were close. For example, item #84 Thunderstorm Bird, the rare and beautiful green olivine quartzite body was matched with an equally rare piece of olivine quartzite head of a slightly different consistency but of the same color. However, both stones in this case are likely from the same large mother stone before it was broken-up by the glacier or flood.

Stacking the Stones

Though nearly all of the prehistoric Venus and other figurines are free-standing, it must be noted the River Owl had no level tables. They probably stacked them on the ground at a designated spot in their yurt. So floor vibration was not an issue. (It's possible figurines were used to indicate earth tremors by the clan since the San Madres fault is nearby.) Since we currently live in a grand old farmhouse built with heavy timbers, the hardwood floors still bounce a little in some rooms when I (being a relatively large man) walk through them.

Wetting. We've found that by wetting the stones with hard tap water (water with a high alkali or "lime" content) the prehistoric Venus and other figurines hold together nicely despite the bouncing floors. It seems that once the water between the stones has evaporated, a thin film of lime crystallizes forming a light bond (removable by re-wetting) between the stones. The River Owl certainly used Spoon River water which probably had a slight alkaline content.

Padding.  Another technique I use for the more sensitive figurines is to underlay a finished board with a high density urethane foam pad like they use under carpeting. These pads are typically only about 1/8" thick and absorb the shock of floor vibration allowing the figures to be undisturbed. Just lay the pad on your bookshelf, then top with a nicely finish wooden board and stack your figures on that. If using an enclosed display case the figures will stand dust-free for years unless bumped.

2010 Update

With spiraling oil prices most farmers have stopped disking the fields which turns the soil about 5 inches down. Now they "rake" the topsoil about 3 inches down with harrowers and in many cases don't even turn the ground at all and plant directly into last years crop-stubble. Consequently many artifacts - including points - remain unexposed thus harder to find. As a result, the price of arrowheads and other Indian artifacts have risen dramatically and will continue to rise. Invest now in the history of North America.

Rare Finds

Literally tons of points and ax heads have been hauled out of Midwestern fields in the past century and have been sold to private collectors. (As of today, you can still buy a decent “arrowhead” online for about $35.00 – just be certain it’s authentic. Please check out our selections) However, the availability of Stone Age figurines is quite different.

Modern agriculture has silted up most rivers worldwide, especially ones that supported Stone Age man. It’s impossible to find such glacial stone clusters in present-day rivers. Furthermore, finding complete prehistoric Venus and other figurines in the field is - at best - a long shot. In the early 1800s when this part of Illinois was first settled by the white man, there were large stones to be cleared from the fields before they could be plowed. These stones, aside from being left behind by glacial activity, may have been the base remnants of many a prehistoric Venus or other figurines.

In the late 1980s American farmers discovered that by not plowing the fields each year (the practice of “no-till”), earthworms could survive to enrich the soil. Thus, shallow tilling such as harrowing or disking (4 to 6 inches deep) brought higher crop yields. The environment benefits as well since erosion is checked and energy is saved, keeping consumer costs down: One farmer told me it costs him $150.00 (2003) just to hitch-up the plow to his tractor, gas it up and drive it to the field. But, it is the act of deep plowing (9 to 12 inches down) that also brings up these buried treasures. Rain washes an occasional item free of dirt to make it visible: But fields are typically rough and not everything in that layer will surface. I sometimes wonder how many priceless prehistoric Venus and other figurines I've step over concealed by just a painting of dried mud. I'm still blown away that as a teenager, I walked upon these prehistoric Venus and other figurines buried just inches below my feet.

What makes it more difficult for the figurine collector are fields that have been in crops for more than a few seasons because they are not likely to give up complete prehistoric Venus and other figurines. One may find a head stone or a body stone, but not likely find both the same year. As the soil gets turned, these parts tumble within the "plow zone" (the top 12" of tillable soil), making it nearly impossible to find them complete. Smaller prehistoric Venus and other figurines parts will tumble or cycle faster then the larger parts, keeping them out of synch with each other in the surfacing cycle.

Also, the lighter prehistoric Venus and other figurines parts would eventually be further and further separated from the heavier parts since most farmers drag their equipment in the same pattern every year. Our unusual find was the result of an old pasture that was, for the first time, plowed - then washed by torrential downpours in the spring of 2002. If we had waited two years most of these priceless prehistoric Venus and other figurines would have been lost.

In Memory of Webmaster

Steve VanFleet

1950 - 2007

who's inspiration led to the creation of this site

Previous Owners of the Artifacts sold on this site:

Glen Raymond Kneer

Glen R. Kneer, 85, of Williamsfield, Illinois died at 3:10 p.m. Sunday, May 5, 1996, at Knox County Nursing Home, Knoxville.

Born Feb. 1, 1911, in Monica to George and Edna Lena Kneer, he married Audrey L. Brown on Oct. 16, 1939, in Kahoka, Mo. She survives. Also surviving are one foster son, Steve Hampton of Galesburg; one foster grandson, Christopher Hampton of Geneseo; one uncle; one nephew; and several cousins.

He was preceded in death by one brother.

He farmed and had been a dairy farmer all his life, retiring in 1982. He had been a member of the Knox County Farm Bureau and had been a leader of the Clover Leaf 4-H Club in Victoria for several years.

He had been active in the Williamsfield United Methodist Church.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Williamsfield United Methodist Church. The Rev. James A. Thompson, Sr. will officiate. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. tonight at the church. Burial will be in Oak Lawn Memorial Gardens, Galesburg. Rux Funeral Home in Williamsfield is in charge of arrangements.

Published in the Journal Star (Peoria, IL) - Tuesday, May 7, 1996 

 

Glenn Westlake

Glenn Westlake, 90, of Browning died at 3:17 a.m. June 28, 2007, in Macomb.

He was born March 7, 1917, in Table Grove, a son of Smith and Rhoda Chenoweth Westlake. He married Genevie Worthington on July 20, 1940, in Ft. Madison, Iowa. She survives.

Also surviving are four sons, Glenn A. (and Martina) of Astoria, Ronald (and Nancy) and Gary (and Diane), both of Browning and Marvin (and Rebecca) of Mount Carmel; three daughters, Linda (and Wilmer) Gale and Tami Clements, both of Astoria and Julia (and Ron) Rayburn of Morton; one brother, Carl (and Edmona) of Collinsville; 20 grandchildren; and 29 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by two sons, Dale and Larry; one daughter, Pamela Westlake; three sisters, Nola, Cora and Vera; three brothers, Bernard, Lee and Jim; and one grandson, Jonathan Westlake.

He was a U.S. Army veteran, serving in World War II.

He was a member of Bader Christian Church, where he served as elder.

He worked for Illinois Department of Transportation, Schuyler County Highway Department, and was a Schuyler County farmer.

Services were held Sunday at Shawgo Memorial Home in Astoria with Rev. Bob Florence officiating. Burial was in Browning Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to his church.

Published in the Astoria South Fulton Argus on 7/4/2007

 

Michael Van Lewis

GALESBURG--Michael Van Lewis, 63, of Galesburg, formerly of Peoria, passed away at 12:05 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at Seminary Manor in Galesburg.

Born September 15, 1949 in Peoria, a son of Verl M. and Florence VanAlst Lewis, Michael married Sharon Lynn Apacki September 21, 1968 in Peoria. She survives.

Also surviving are two sons, Christopher M. (Stephanie) Lewis and their son Gabriel of Peoria, Brett M. (Tera) Lewis of Galesburg; two brothers, Pat Lewis of Peoria, Bob Lewis of Utah.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Terry Lewis.

Michael was a home builder, commercial builder, developer, and remodeler. He owned and operated Michael V. Lewis Construction and Peoria Construction Co.

He was an avid fisherman and hunter. He loved his family, gardening and spending time on his farm.

Michael was past president of the Home Builder's Association. He was a board member of Central Illinois Contractor's and served for over ten years as Chairman of the City of Peoria's Construction Commission.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at the Wilton Mortuary in Peoria. Cremation rites were accorded.

Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.

 

Epilog Matching the Stones About Us Our Guarantee

 

ABOUT US

Delores E. Hampton has a daughter Chrystal, and a son Daniel, from a previous marriage and has four grandchildren. Delores has a degree in Agricultural Management and Wildlife Conservation from Spoon River College and holds numerous certificates in animal husbandry. She has devoted her life to animals and is currently an animal keeper at Wildlife Prairie State Park in Illinois.

Delores with "Oliver the Owl"

 

 

 

The author Steve on hill site 2601.D

Steven M. Hampton has studied eastern and western philosophy under a score of noted and respected teachers since 1974. He studied and practiced Gnostic Christianity, Hinduism, and yoga. He has been a practicing Buddhist of both the Nyingma and the Karma Kagyü lineages of Tibetan Buddhism under the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche since 1976. He has also studied and practice Tibetan White Crane Kung Fu and 3,000-year-old traditional Chinese medicine under Grand Master Dr. Lucjan Shila in Boulder, Colorado. He has been practicing Tibetan Dream Yoga and lucid dreaming for over 25 years. He has been a student of anthropology and archaeology since 1989 and has done independent research at the University of Colorado. He has researched the Paleo/Archaic Indians of the Spoon River valley. Steve is also an inventor who holds patents on a new type of aerospace engine. See www.inertialpropulsion.com   He and is currently developing a new solar-powered space engine that could take man to Mars in weeks instead of months.

OUR GUARANTEE

The River Owl Collection

All artifacts presented here from the Spoon River and other sites are guaranteed to be unaltered originals. We abide by these strict Rules of Conduct for fairness in trade: One, We do not knowingly or intentionally sale reproduction artifacts. If the original broken surfaces on any tested point by an independent laboratory prove these pieces to be historic, then return it and we will refund to you, in full, the price of the artifact; Two, If for any other reason you are unhappy with your purchase, you have 14 days to return the item for a full refund, excluding return shipping charges, no questions asked. All returned items must however be received in the original condition for a full refund. Three, we maintain a strict smoke- and pet-free environment. Arrowheads and Stone Age tools from neighboring Spoon River valley sites are also available.

Steve and Delores Hampton
paleoart@centurylink.net 

 

Return Policy

Items may be returned undamaged for a full refund (minus PayPal fees and return shipping cost) within 14 days of purchase. Buyer is fully responsible for the secure packaging of the returned article.

 

 

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