Greetings from..... The "Smiling Man."
I recently revisited this outline glyph a few days ago. To be honest, we found him over a year ago and lost him. Lost him? How do you lose something like this? Easy, if the mountain you are on has an Archaeological site that stretches for five miles long. Easy, when there are so many glyphs that it's very difficult to keep them all straight. And easier, when you found him it was at a point when this was all new to us and we didn't meticulously document and record everything as we do now. But, my old friend has now been found again, recorded and GPS marked so we don't lose him ever again.
I believe that he was happy to see us again. I removed the vine in front of his face and examined his teeth. I originally thought the teeth were separate rocks carefully placed there. But upon closer inspection they were carved from the boulder itself. Sadly, the right side of his face has suffered damage. Parts of the nostril and his teeth have broken off over time. As I inspected his teeth I can clearly see the outline where every tooth that broke off once was located. I can only imagine how stunning he would have been to tribal members that were walking by looking up on the cliff he is perched on and seen his smiling face looking down on them. You are not forgotten Smiling Man. You are still a grand old man.
Maasaw with Smiling Man right side view
I mentioned that I felt he was happy to see us. I know he was because he showed us something new about himself we had not seen before. He has what I call a "Pleistocene tattoo." What is this you ask? He has a Lion head carved above his left eye on his forehead. We had not seen this before. But he revealed it to us on this visit. See below.
Lion head "Pleistocene tattoo"
We also found a few other new glyphs all within a few hundred yards of Smiling Man. All of them are high on a row of rock outcroppings looking down on anyone that is walking by on their way to the Ceremonial site.
Not all of the glyphs we find are as large as this guy. Sometimes they can fit into the palm of your hand. Jason Buckman, aka "honey badger," is tenacious in finding glyphs in the oddest places. It's quite typical for us to see them on boulders, rock faces, etc. But he decided to find them partially buried in the ground. As I was walking towards Smiling Man he yelled for me to come see these two rocks he just found. I must admit at first I was skeptical that these two smaller rocks were glyphs. They did have the shape of a long faced mammal. But I wasn't convinced. I always try to keep an open mind because you never know when the Ancestors will reveal something and through what method. I took good photographs and advised him to simply leave them for now.
That evening I was processing the days images on my computer. When I pulled up his photos I was absolutely overjoyed when on both of them I located carved eyes, ears, mouths and nostrils. These were Camel effigies. He had found them within just a few feet from each other.
Camels were common in this area until approximately 12,800 years ago during the Younger Dryas catastrophic event that sent the planet back into another ice age for another thousand years. The impact of a large meteor that struck northwest Greenland on what is called today the "Hiawatha Glacier Ice Sheet" is one of the 25 largest impact craters on Earth, measuring roughly 1,000 feet (300 meters) deep and more than 19 miles (30 km) in diameter. Many of the Pleistocene animals that we see depicted in the art glyphs at Bear Spirit Mountain went extinct due to this catastrophic event including Camels.
See the photo below of our Camel effigies. Note they have carved flat bases designed to sit on a level surface.
Jason Buckman with Camel effigies
The next two glyphs are an amazing compliment to the "Smiling Man." They also line the rock ridge next to him, looking down on any passerby. I call this line of rock cliffs the "Grandstand." Simply because there are so many glyphs carved that are looking down at anyone walking by. They would have amazed and astounded these people as they walked the footpath enroute to the Ceremonial site.
The first glyph is an outline glyph. It is a majestic Lion surveying the valley below. See the below photos.
"Lion Overwatch" original photo
"Lion Overwatch" edited photo
The second glyph is one that I did an actual "double-take" when I first saw it. It is absolutely comical. If you recall in my past blog I posted a photo of two human faces on one large boulder that I named "Silly Faces." Well, this one surpasses Silly Faces in its comical value. I named this one "Taunting Man." It's clear when you see the outline that this guy is sticking out his tongue at passerby's. Yes, my Ancestors had a wonderful sense of humor as seen in their rock art. See photos below.
"Taunting Man" outline glyph
"Taunting Man" outline glyph edited
Our last image for you is actually a repeat from the last blog post. However, it has been heavily altered to reflect the new images I found carved into the same rock face that the "Serpent and Rodent" photo you saw previously.
As I processed this photo it took me over three hours to finally be satisfied that I had found all that I could see. Grant it that there are more faces there; but they are so far eroded I could not see enough features to count them as a clear petroglyph.
This rock wall has a new name now. I call it the "wall of many faces." Bear, lion, serpent, human face, deer, auroch, fox, horse, bird, beaver are all carved into one rock face. This soft Oriskany Sandstone was a rock carvers paradise and they used it to create many petroglyphs.
The Wall of Many Faces
I am sure you will see additional faces. And, you're probably correct. This wall, or should I say "canvas" was simply incredible in the art saturation placed on it.
As I stated before all of these new glyphs were found in a very small area of just a few hundred yards. We have so much more to find. So much more exploring to do. This winter is going to surpass last year in new finds. I can't wait to put all these new rock art into my next book in a few months.
In closing I hope you come see me at the book signing at the Winchester Gallery Book Store on Saturday, December 22nd at 2:00 p.m. My book will make a great Christmas gift for those avid readers in your family.
Thank you everyone, for all your love and support for Bear Spirit Mountain.