The seat of the soul is where the inner world and the outer world meet. Where they overlap, it is in every point of the overlap. - Novalis

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rock Art Redefines ‘Ancient’

Rock Art Redefines Ancient - from the NYTimes:

"David S. Whitley, an archaeologist and expert on prehistoric rock art and iconographic interpretation...believes the Coso Petroglyphs to be one of the most important rock art sites on earth.
Mr. Whitley estimated that there may be as many as 100,000 images carved into the dark volcanic canyons above the China Lake basin, some as old as 12,000 to 16,000 years, others as recent as the mid-20th century."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Old Europe

Don't miss this article, with wonderful images, from the New York Times.

A Lost European Culture, Pulled From Obscurity

The little-known culture is being rescued from obscurity in an exhibition, “The Lost World of Old Europe: the Danube Valley, 5000-3500 B.C.,” which opened last month at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. More than 250 artifacts from museums in Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania are on display for the first time in the United States. The show will run through April 25.

The 'Thinker' and Female Figurine From Cernavoda, Fired Clay, Hamangia, Cernavoda, 5000-4600 BC
National History Museum of Romania, Bucharest: 15906, 15907

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Poiesis & Theoria

I draw your attention to the second part of Heriberto Yépez: Ethopoetics, What Is It? posted by Jerome Rothenberg.

"We can define poetry as a series of techniques to construct—or if you prefer, deconstruct—the subject through concrete and various methods that involve voice, body, book, theory, therapy, vision, tradition and writing."

For anyone steeped in the work of Henry Corbin there will be some striking and provocative resonances here, particularly with respect "body," "book," "theory" and "tradition" (See for instance the first chapter of After Prophecy, on theoria.) It seems to me that Corbin's search for the Lost Speech has a very great deal in common with Yepez's project.

Stele with Glyphs, Uxmal, Yucatan - Stephen Vincent

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Foucault & Shamanism?

Jerome Rothenberg has posted a remarkable piece: Heriberto Yépez: Ethopoetics, What Is It? (Part One)

Here is an excerpt:

"I-I’m not innocent of the resonances I-I’m trying to bring here. Not only in Kerouac’s and Ginsberg’s Buddhist sense but also in earlier visions of what poetry meant (surrealism’s attempts to remove everything that blocked—aesthetics, morals and logic—the subject from understanding reality and also, again, in Situationism, which is mostly a spiritual discipline, though I-t don’t think Debord fully realized that). In Foucault’s take on Greek philosophy—not only based on Pierre Hadot incredible research but also, I-I heavily suspect though Foucault tries to hide it, in non-Western shamanism and Buddhism itself and, of very evidently in Marxism (philosophy defined not as ‘theory’ but as ‘the transformation of the world’) and psychoanalysis—In Foucault’s take on Greek philosophy, I-I was saying, philosophy is anthropoeisis, so called it somehow. Anthropoiesis = the making of man."

See the Yepez blog

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eshleman on Olson on the Archaic

The Electronic Poetry Center has a link to Clayton Eshleman's very interesting & useful "Notes on Charles Olson and the Archaic" (pdf) - link on the top of the page here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Juniper Fuse: Clayton Eshleman on the Archaic Mind

“Archeologists and artists have written on Southwestern European cave art, but none have given us a book like this. Clayton Eshleman has explored and inspected almost all of the great cave art of southwestern Europe including many caves that are not open to the public and require special permission. Now with visionary imagination, informed poetic speculation, deep insight, breathtaking leaps of mind, Eshleman draws out the underground of myth, psychology, prehistory, and the first turn of the human mind toward the modern. JUNIPER FUSE opens us up to our ancient selves: we might be weirder (and also better) than we thought.” - Gary Snyder

Abbreviated Introduction to Clayton Eshleman's Juniper Fuse: Upper Paleolithic Imagination & the Construction of the Underworld. Wesleyan University Press, 2003. See Eshleman's website.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Masterpieces of the Animal Style

Pazyryk. 5th century (?). Altai Mountains, Southern Siberia. Map. (From the John Haskins Slide Collection, University of Pittsburgh) [The authenticity of this piece has been questioned. - details to follow]

Bronze idol of a bear - 6th-7th century. 8cm x 5.7cm - Western Urals, Russia. Hermitage Museum.

The Statues of Ain Ghazal

"The statues were discovered in 1984 at the prehistoric site of 'Ain Ghazal, located near Amman, the capital of Jordan. The settlement at 'Ain Ghazal was a village of farmers, hunters, and herders occupied between 7200 and 5000 B.C. E. during the Neolithic period (ca. 8500-4500 B.C.E.). Its inhabitants made objects for daily use, such as stone tools and weapons, and objects that seem to have served symbolic functions, such as small clay figurines of animals and humans. More sophisticated works of art have also been discovered at `Ain Ghazal: large, human-form statues and busts made of plaster, and faces in plaster, which had been modeled on human skulls." - From an Exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

The major internet source for information on Ain Ghazal is from an American - Jordanian team, Gary O. Rollefson, Director, the 'Ain Ghazal Research Institute and Zeidan Kafafi, the University of Yarmouk at Irbid, Jordan. More information here.

The Eye Idols of Tell Brak

From Tell Brak, north-eastern Syria
about 3500-3300 BC

"Tell Brak is the modern name of a huge site in north Mesopotamia, which was clearly one of the most important cities in the region during the late prehistoric period. Monumental buildings appear to have been rebuilt over many centuries. It was at one of these, known today as the Eye Temple, that the archaeologist Max Mallowan excavated hundreds of these miniature figurines, with their pronounced eyes. They may represent worshippers, placed as offerings. The figurines have been grouped into five types. Some have a single pair of eyes, with or without decoration; some have three, four or six eyes; some have small 'child' eye figures carved on their front (like here), and on others the eyes have been drilled through. Examples of figurines with drilled eyes have been found at a number of sites of this period across north Mesopotamia. Recent excavations at Tell Brak have confirmed their date." - The British Museum

For details see the excellent Tell Brak Project site of the MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research of Cambridge University.

And for an overview, see The Eastern Mediterranean 8000-2000 BCE from the Metropolitan Museum Timelines of Art History.

Monday, March 9, 2009

First Came the Temple

Rethinking the Neolithic

For those who, like me, missed the stunning news about what is surely the most important archaeological find since Troy:

In the words of Klaus Schmidt, the principal investigator: "First came the Temple, then the city."

In the popular press:
Gobekli Tepe: The World's First Temple with this photo Gallery. by Andrew Collins, Smithsonian Magazine;
Nicholas Birch in The Guardian: 7,000 Years Older than Stonehenge.
Sandra Scham in Archaeology: The World's First Temple.

(Borrowed from the excellent wikipedia page.)