Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Mojo of a Red Tipped Spearhead

The First American Religion: Shamanic Hunting Magic, cont…

At an archeology site in Colorado, the site of an ancient bison kill, Smithsonian archaeologist Dr. Dennis Stanford observed that the material used by one group of hunters for spear points came from over 180 miles away when excellent material for points could be found within 50 miles of the site. Again and again he observed evidence that supreme effort was taken to procure only the highest quality materials. “We see that over and over again, they were selecting for specific rocks. They have to be the highest quality. Now why that is, I'm not sure. I think it probably goes back to some of the ideas about respect for the game. These people are hunting mammoths and probably having to fend off saber-toothed tigers and cave bears. They've got some pretty wild critters out there that they're dealing with. And one way to deal with it of course is through magic - through more power - and you can get more power if you select the right rock, particularly colored rocks, it shows respect for your animals.” Dr. Stanford described the importance of color in a Clovis style spear point, “It was chosen for these colors, it was flaked to incorporate this red here at the tip. It has a prominent white stripe coming all the way across the center section.”

The ice age craftsperson would not have had a term, let alone concept, of art as we think of it today but clearly color was of great importance not only as visual symbolism but also as a potent ingredient of magic.