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On a fallen log in a marshy field sits a bearded man wearing a brown furry animal hide. On a piece of bone he is carving an image using a chipped piece of stone. The subject of his art is a Columbian mammoth that is trudging through the clearing a few hundred feet away.
This image is based on a real artifact, the oldest piece of art found in the western hemisphere. In 2009, near Vero Beach Florida, a local fossil hunter named James Kennedy discovered a piece of bone, likely that of a mastodon, mammoth, or giant sloth. On the bone was carved an image of a mammoth, specifically, based on the shape of the head, a Columbian mammoth. Testing by scientists at the University of Florida and at the Smithsonian indicate that it is authentic.
James Kennedy contacted me and asked if I could come up with an artwork involving the find. So this is it. A few things to take note of:
I designed the landscape to be typical of that of Florida: flat, grassy, and wet. It's not really a marsh, but more of a squishy field with sandy soil. I didn't want it to be quite as watery as, say, the Everglades. At the time, the area was actually several miles further inland than it is today as sea levels were a bit lower back then.
The mammoth has much less hair than a woolly mammoth. The Columbian mammoth, which was found further to the south, had less need of a thick coat. I've positioned it to match the actual caving as much as seemed natural for the creature's stance.
The human appears European. While there is no proof that there were Europeans in the Americas during the ice age, something called the Solutrean Hypothesis poses the idea that there may have been. Pleistocene era cave paintings depicting mammoths are common in Europe, but the Kennedy Mammoth Bone is the only example of such art found in North America. Consequently, articles on the Solutrean Hypothesis often mention the bone. So, I thought it might be interesting to depict the carver as I did.
Thanks for looking!
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store featuring my few of my artworks on items such as mugs, puzzles, phone cases, and even skateboards: [link]