My passions range from my family, writing, painting, photography and prehistory to the designing of integrated complexes of gardens and buildings.  This website contains descriptions of  - or links  to -  my work in each of the following fields:


- peer-reviewed scientific papers,

- renderings and photos of building projects,

- novels, screenplays, and poetry

- short works of non-fiction, including Part I of my father’s biography, and

- paintings & photo galleries.


The site also contains information on:

- archaeological tours and lectures

- pictures of little-known works of prehistoric art, and

- videos, a blog, and more.

 


DUNCAN CALDWELL


News & additions:


(Please click on the little photo to the left of the citation below each blurb

to download the relevant article.

If you’re looking for my show & lecture schedule,

please skip to the bottom of the page.)



The following three research articles appeared in 2015:


  1. 1)The Implications of a New Corpus of Late Bronze Age Petroglyphs in the Forêt de Fontainebleau for Dating Local Rock Art. Rock Art Research (Vol. 32, No. 2: 178-192. Posted online by IFRAO 28 May 2015)


  1. 2)A New Typological Ordering of Adena Tablets Based on a Deeper Reading of the McKensie Tablet. RES - Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics (RES 65/66, 2014/2015 joint edition: 105-127. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology & Art Museum, Harvard University Press)


  1. 3)The Use of Animals in Birth Protection Rituals and Possible Uses of Stone Figurines from the Central Sahel. African Arts (Vol. 48, No. 4: 14-25. UCLA African Studies Center, MIT Press).


***

The first of these papers is about the recent discovery of the richest group of late Bronze Age petroglyphs in Europe. It shows how the engravings near Fontainebleau are closely related to pictogram vases from southern France while exhibiting more distant affinities with Neolithic artifacts from the Balkans. Some of the most complex motifs in the petroglyphs assemble smaller ones into the apparent equivalent of ideograms. In the process of exploring the relationships between such units and compounds, the article reveals links between an early swastika, crosses with dots between their branches, grids containing dots, "plowmen" in association with schematized cattle, and an owl-like figure with a punctuated grid and framed cross on its belly.


Finally, it shows how the petroglyphs overlap the most common rock art style in the Massif de Fontainebleau, which has often been described as Mesolithic (despite counter-indications). In doing so, it demonstrates that the so-called ‘classic’ style may be less than half as old as was thought, subverting a widely-held dogma of French prehistory.


PDF: The Implications of a New Corpus of Late Bronze Age Petroglyphs in the Forêt de Fontainebleau for Dating Local Rock Art. Rock Art Research (2015, Vol. 32, No. 2: 178-192. Posted online by IFRAO 28 May).


***

You can download the second article, which was published by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, by clicking on the next icon. The essay, which is called A New Typological Ordering of Adena Tablets Based on a Deeper Reading of the McKensie Tablet”, was sparked by a cascade of recognitions that show how the enigmatic tablets might have been related to each other. It also provides a case study in how imagery can grow so allusive that it can embody, encrypt, and sustain a complex ideology—in this case, the one that set the template for Woodland beliefs in the middle Ohio Valley until contact with Europeans.


PDF: A New Typological Ordering of Adena Tablets Based on a Deeper Reading of the McKensie Tablet, RES - Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics (RES 65/66, 2014/2015 joint edition: 105-127. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology & Art Museum, Harvard University Press).


***

The third article, which was published by African Arts, describes unknown rituals and misidentified statuettes from the central Sahel. After dividing the figurines of women and animals, which had been ascribed to the Neolithic and the Sahara despite a dearth of evidence, into families, the paper shows that the best documented sculptures in the first two can be tracked to Burkina Faso (rather than the Sahara), while the third and fourth families probably come from Mali and Niger. Although the last one might be Neolithic, the other three, which overlap stylistically, were probably made during the historic era, since they include sculptures of dromedaries, which only arrived in the zone around 2000 years ago.


The investigation also uncovered birth protection rituals involving both live animals and anthropomorphic figurines made of animal bones. The revelation of such customs by traditional midwives and fertility practitioners opens new avenues for research throughout Africa while casting possible light on the stone figurines, whose four families appear to come from different places than the one they were associated with (the Azawagh), while three also seem to be younger than hoped.


PDF: The Use of Animals in Birth Protection Rituals and Possible Uses of Stone Figurines from the Central Sahel. African Arts (2015, Vol. 48, No. 4: 14-25. UCLA African Studies Center, MIT Press).


 

Some Scheduled Events:


Jan. 16, 2017:

Réétudier les collections muséales de Préhistoire : pourquoi ?

10 - 11:30 AM, Musée de l’Homme, Salle Leroi Gourhan, entresol 1, 17 Place du Trocadéro, 75016 Paris, France.

Module d’Ecole Doctorale, 

Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle,

Département “Homme, Nature, Société”

Unité de recherche: UMR-CNRS 7194, Département: Préhistoire MNHN, Information: Bureau 321.


August 5, 2016:

The Magic Trumpeter -
An exceptional BaKongo statue
& its links with Jazz & World War I

3 - 5 PM (two full hours)

(Following presentations by art historian Cheryl Finley, food historian Jessica Harris, and dancer Reggie Wilson)
Oak Bluffs Public Library

during the Oak Bluffs African-American Literature & Culture Festival

If you’d like to read an article (with a  few simplifications & mistakes) about the talk, please follow this link to the Vineyard Gazette.


All of August 2016

(Opening reception 6 - 8 PM,

Aug. 4, 2016)

Ted Joan’s Collages -

Dr. Rotapep’s Teducation

in life, poetry & totem animals

(Curated by Duncan Caldwell)

Oak Bluffs Public Library

in the context of the Oak Bluffs African-American Literature & Culture Festival

(This is a homage to Ted, who had a meal a day with us, whenever he was in Paris, for 17 years.)


All of July 2016:

(Reception 6-8 PM, Friday, July 8th)

Susanna & Duncan Caldwell’s Art

(A brother & sister show)

Oak Bluffs Public Library

For more info contact Nathan Luce,

508.693.9433 x142


July 28, 2016:

The Magic Trumpeter -
An exceptional BaKongo statue
& its links with Jazz & World War I

5 - 7 PM (two full hours), Old Town Hall for the Aquinnah Public Library

(tel 508-645-2314)

Aquinnah, Massachusetts


July 21, 2016:

Paris Wampum:

George Sand & the Quahog Necklace

(Nancy’s presentation on George Sand’s unknown links to New England)

5 - 6:30 PM, Old Town Hall for the

Aquinnah Public Library (tel 508-645-2314)

Aquinnah, Massachusetts


April 19, 2016:

Un trompettiste magicien :

Une mystérieuse statue

Kongo et ses liens avec la 1ère guerre mondiale

(in French with English slides)

2h00-4h00 PM, Détours des Mondes,

EPSS, 139 Bd. du Montparnasse, Paris


Jan. 18, 2016:

Réétudier les collections muséales de Préhistoire : pourquoi ?

10 - 11:30 AM, Musée de l’Homme, Salle Leroi Gourhan, entresol 1, 17 Place du Trocadéro, 75016 Paris, France.

Module d’Ecole Doctorale, 

Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle,

Département “Homme, Nature, Société”.


Feb. 19, 2015:

Réétudier les collections muséales de Préhistoire : pourquoi ?

3:30 - 5 PM Musée de l’Homme: Salle Denise Paulme, entresol 2; 17 Place du Trocadéro
75016
Paris, France.

Module d’Ecole Doctorale, 

Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.


Aug. 14, 2014:

Prehistoric Rock Art near Paris - Glories, New Discoveries & Controversies

5 - 6:30 PM, Old Town Hall for the Aquinnah Public Library (tel 508-645-2314)

Aquinnah, Massachusetts


April 17, 2014:

Re-examining Museum Prehistory Collections in Search of Fresh Perspectives

Module d’Ecole Doctorale

Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle,

Département “Homme, Nature, Société”,

3:30 - 5 PM, Amphitheater, 57, rue Cuvier, Jardin des Plantes; 75005 Paris, France.


January 30, 2014:

La datation des pétroglyphes de la forêt de Fontainebleau / The ‘Prehistoric’ Petroglyphs of the Massif de Fontainebleau & their Dating

SAGA (Société Amicale des Géologues Amateurs)

6:30 - 7:30 PM, Bâtiment de géologie,

Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle.

43 rue Buffon, Paris, France. (In French)


Dec. 12, 2013:

Designing Time Machines:

Reflections on the creation of archaeology & ethnology museums.

Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture  (Nantes) doctoral program. (In English)


Oct. 3, 2013:

Decoding the Adena Tablets:

New Interpretations of the "Mound Builder" Tablets

University Seminar on the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

7 - 8:30 PM, Schermerhorn, room 930,

Columbia University (Main campus), NYC


Aug. 20, 2013:

Decoding the Adena Tablets: A Great Civilization and its Mirrors

7 - 8:30 PM - Vineyard Haven Public Library

Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts


Aug. 8, 2013:

The Birth of Our Genus: The tool that changed us from head to foot

5 - 6:30 PM - Aquinnah Public Library

Aquinnah, Massachusetts


July 27, 2013:

Digging into Deep Time

For children (of all ages)

2 - 3 PM - Aquinnah Public Library

Aquinnah, Massachusetts


May 31, 2013:

2 Presentations:

Recent megalithic discoveries
in the Massif de Fontainebleau

8:00 - 8:30 AM &

The Saharan Origins of Ancient Egyptian Royal Symbols

8:30 - 9:30 AM,

International Rock Art Congress

International Federation of Rock Art Organizations (IFRAO) & American Rock Art Research Association (ARARA)

Albuquerque, New Mexico


May 20, 2013:

The Saharan Origins of Ancient Egyptian Royal Symbols

7:00 - 8:30 PM

The Explorers Club

46 East 70th Street, NYC, NY

(Tickets on sale from 6PM / Reservations (212) 628-8383).

Please click on this icon to watch the lecture. I apologize for mis-speaking at one point & saying that the New Kingdom was 1200 BP. I meant BC.


May 11, 2013:

Western Saharan Sculptural Families and the Possible Origins of the  Osiris-Horus Cycle

Musée National de Préhistoire

Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, Dordogne

3h00 - 3h30 PM, Assemblée générale de l'Association Lithos (In French)


May 3, 2013:

Réétudier les collections muséales de préhistoire : pourquoi ?

Module d’Ecole Doctorale, 

Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.

Institut de Paléontologie Humaine (I.P.H.) 3h30 - 5h00 Amphitheater

1 Rue René Panhard; 75013 Paris, France.


Aug. 28, 2012:

The Saharan Origins of Ancient Egyptian Royal Symbols

7:00 PM, Vineyard Haven Public Library,

Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts


Aug. 7, 2012:

The Place of Testing: The Epic Expedition that Solved the Last Mystery of King Tut's Tomb.

Martha’s Vineyard Museum

5:30 PM, Edgartown, Massachusetts


July 24, 2012:

The Saharan Origins of Ancient Egyptian Royal Symbols

5:00 PM, Aquinnah Public Library,

Aquinnah, Massachusetts


May 30, 2012:

Re-examining Museum Prehistory Collections in Search of Fresh Perspectives

Module d’Ecole Doctorale, 

Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.

Institut de Paléontologie Humaine

11 - 12h30, Amphitheater

1 Rue René Panhard; 75013 Paris, France.


Sept. 8, 2011:

Voyage to the Sun: How the Egyptians Retrieved Solid Sunlight for Tutankhamun’s Tomb

Special event, Planetarium, 6:30 PM

California Academy of Sciences,

San Francisco, California.


Sept. 6, 2011:

The Mirage of Simplicity

in Paleolithic Art

San José State University (SJSU) Graduate School of Art + Design

San José, California.


Aug. 11, 2011:

Correcting Neanderthal Reconstructions

Aquinnah Public Library, Massachusetts.

 


Nancy in bed with bronchitis and a bottle of cider. By Duncan Caldwell. 1977.

 


Enjoy your visit!



© 1977 to 2016, Duncan Caldwell

Key words: The Neanderthal insulation hypothesis; Baby sling adaptations; The baby-sling hypothesis  for human body baldness, Paleolithic venus / venuses; The “prey-mother” hypothesis -  A new interpretation of Paleolithic feminine imagery; Biography of Robert Granville Caldwell, Jr.; Leon Liebgold; General Patton; Landsberg Concentration Camp Complex; Archaeological & prehistoric art cave tours; Testimonials; Prehistoric phalangeal figurines; Pascal Raux - Father of the phalangeal figurine hypothesis; Duncan Caldwell’s paintings; Alan Dershowitz; Dan Burstein, Secrets of the Code; Marine and Paleobiological Research Institute ( MPRI ); New Dominion Pictures; GREPAL; Gaumont; Wellspring Museum; Neanderthal / Neandertal adaptations and extinction; Architecture & landscape design; Balkan prehistory; Vinca, Lepenski Vir; Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Possible Dreams auction; Robert Bednarik; Rock Art Research; Susiluola (Wolf) Cave, Lappfjärd, Finland; paleontology museum in Paris / Montmartre quarries; Biography of Robert Caldwell; Paleolithic cave art; Paleolithic art; Foz Coa; Coa Valley rock art; Korean prehistory; Bangudae Petroglyphs, Daegok-ri, Ulsan, South Korea; Neanderthal behavior; Neanderthal diet; King Tut’s desert glass scarab; California Academy of Science’s Planetarium revelations about Tutankhamun’s Libyan Desert Glass scarab;

Albums & Manuscripts

            

Please click on the following thumbnail photos, which I’ve used as icons, to see the web pages or PDFs described in the captions.


Spy Catcher - My father, Robert Caldwell’s, biography




The Foz Coa / Coa Valley Paleolithic art scandal




A Murder, Bombing, and Trip to Neolithic Monuments




Travel Photos




Rock Art Photos




Expedition Photos




Saving the Gay Head Lighthouse



Prehistoric Art Emergency &  Coa Valley home page



 

A petroglyph of a stag turning its head

Vale de Cabroes, Foz Coa, Portugal

More news & additions:


After learning of my American Antiquity article identifying stone rods from ancient New England as probable lithophones, the conductor of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Christopher Wilkins, asked Donald Krishnaswami to compose a concerto to celebrate the soundscapes experienced by their makers as they played the instruments, felled trees, carved sea-worthy canoes and even hunted swordfish. The ensemble played the world premiere of Don’s work, The Swordfishers - Tone Poem for Lithophones, Slit Drums and Orchestra”, at the Hatch Shell in Boston on Aug. 19, 2015. Please click on these links to see the program notes (pp. 8-10), which I wrote with Don, an article by Don in The Juilliard Journal called Composing for Log Drums and Orchestra”, and reviews of his powerful new composition in the Boston Globe and Boston Classical Review.


***

My most ambitious article, “Hair Distribution, Immuno-resistance and Adaptations to the First Baby Slings”, which appeared in Anthropologie - International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution (2013, Vol. 51, No. 3: 349-374), can be downloaded by clicking on the next photo. The essay postulates that infectious and parasitic conditions in the first baby-carrying devices selected for changes in juvenile hair distribution and immuno-resistance by killing previously well-adapted infants, and triggered a cascading founder’s effect that largely explains the speciation which gave rise to the first human species. The article also explores the evidence for a related hypothesis, which suggests that the first baby slings gradually forced our ancestors to focus more on acquiring the specific nutrients that newborns with relatively immature brains needed for their brains to mature later than before, because the devices both eliminated the need for babies to be born with brains that had developed enough to give them strong clinging reflexes and quick mobility, and allowed (or even fostered) babies with more slowly maturing brains to survive. The dietary consequences of this shift towards altriciality and postnatal brain development could have triggered more scavenging, hunting, and feedback mechanisms that slowly extended the new juvenile hair distribution to adults as part of a whole-body cooling system based on sweat and body baldness while contributing to the evolution of the next species in our lineage.


PDF: Hair Distribution, Immuno-resistance and Adaptations to the First Baby Slings. This article, which appeared in Anthropologie - International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution (2013, Vol. 51, No. 3: 349-374) proposes new mechanisms for the speciations at the root of the human genus, Homo.


***

The following articles about a newly discovered frieze, which includes an early Neolithic, Bégude-type prestige axe from the Italian Alps, a huge anthropomorph coifed with ten “plumes”, and two apparent boats, appeared in June 2014 - the first in Antiquity, and the second, by our same team, in Art Rupestre. The larger “vessel”, which has high angular extremities and a hook that looks like a steering oar or bird’s beak, appears to illustrate a complex watercraft made of planks, rather than the kind of simple dug-out canoes that have usually been associated with the western European Neolithic. The likelihood that the motif illustrates a boat like a Haida war canoe fundamentally changes our conception of what Europe’s early Neolithic people could do and build, making it much more likely, for example, that they engaged in extensive trade and even whaling.


A discovery of exceptional Neolithic engravings in Buthiers, Seine-et-Marne, France. Serge Cassen, Laurent Lescop, Valentin Grimaud, Duncan Caldwell. Antiquity (Antiquity Project Gallery article), 2014. Vol. 88, issue 340 (June).


PDF: Le Rocher Gravé de la Vallée aux Noirs. Buthiers (Seine-et-Marne). Campagne 2013. Serge Cassen, Laurent Lescop, Valentin Grimaud, Duncan Caldwell. Art Rupestre, Bulletin du GERSAR n° 65 (Juin 2014) : 25-37.


***

A controversial article called An historic sign, possible Mesolithic menhir, DStretch, and problems in dating rock art to the Sauveterrian in the Massif de Fontainebleau”, which appeared in the Journal of Archaeological Science in February 2014 (JAS, vol. 42: 140-151), can be downloaded by clicking on the next icon. The paper eliminates the only chronological marker for dating the largest concentration of supposed Mesolithic rock art in Europe – the “classic” schematic engravings in the Massif de Fontainebleau – by showing that part of an incised and painted boulder, which was thought to have lain undisturbed for over 7,000 years, actually bears medieval vulvas and historic letters. But it goes on to find a silver lining by demonstrating that the monolith could be the oldest known menhir in France, which suggests that western European megalithism might have begun in the Massif, before spreading to such places as Brittany, Portugal, and the British Isles.


PDF: An historic sign, possible Mesolithic menhir, DStretch, and problems in dating rock art to the Sauveterrian in the Massif de Fontainebleau. Co-authored with my intern, Ulrika Botzojorns. Journal of Archaeological Science (2014, Vol. 42, February: 140-151)


***

An article by Jacques Daniel, which alludes to some prehistorians’ efforts to brush aside the conclusions of the above JAS article, appeared in Archéologia in March 2014 under the title Fontainebleau - Le menhir de la discorde. Despite the fact that the report, which can be downloaded by clicking on the following icon, contains minor inaccuracies, its gist is correct.


PDF: Fontainebleau - Le menhir de la discorde. Jacques Daniel, Archéologia (March 2014, No. 519, pp. 8-9).



***

Here’s an article about nearly identical artifacts from the eastern and western ends of the Sahara. The paper, which is called “Western Saharan Sculptural Families and the Possible Origins of the Osiris-Horus Cycle”, identifies two sets of Neolithic symbols, which seem so similar, despite being separated by the entire length of the desert, that the similarities might indicate a link. It determines that the sets’ ages seem to overlap at the beginning of the 4th millennium BC and weighs the probability of a westward versus an eastward transfer around that time. Finally, it shows that one explanation for the similarities might be the arrival in the Nile Valley of refugees who fled the rapid desertification of the period by retracing the steps of pastoral ancestors. If this scenario is correct, some of the elements of Egyptian theology that became the prerogatives of royalty and rationale for kingship, including the Horus-Osiris cycle, arrived from the west as the result of a primordial exodus caused by climate change.


PDF: Western Saharan Sculptural Families and the Possible Origins of the Osiris-Horus Cycle, Rock Art Research (2013, Vol. 30, No. 2: 174-196).



***

This article argues that a previously unrecognized class of prehistoric musical instruments existed in the Americas in the form of highly sculpted, cylindrical lithophones, which were used in New England during funerals around 8,000 years ago (the early Archaic Period).


PDF: A Possible New Class of Prehistoric Musical Instruments from New England: Portable Cylindrical Lithophones. American Antiquity (July 2013, Vol. 78, No. 3: 520-535). Reproduced by permission of the Society for American Archaeology.


***

The next article is about a huge Neolithic face surmounted by five plumes that I found in Nanteau-sur-Essonne before the discovery of the even more spectacular anthropomorph with ten plumes in Buthiers. In an effort to date the stela, the richly illustrated paper examines its relationship with similar monuments from the Channel Islands to Switzerland, and shows why it is probably one of the oldest of them all.


PDF: Le Visage Gravé du Closeau 12 et ses Implications. Nanteau-Sur-Essonne (Seine-Et-Marne). Art Rupestre, Bulletin du GERSAR n° 64 (juillet 2013 : 37-46)

NOTE: The PDF of this article, which I received from the journal’s editor, Laurent Valois, before it went to press, differs from the printed version, because the person in charge of taking the files to the printer ignored the editor’s instructions and gave the printer an inaccurate partial translation, which had not been validated. The only official and approved version of this article is therefore this PDF. The editor has promised to publish an erratum concerning the printed version, which neither of us approved, in the next issue of Art Rupestre.


***

A eulogy for P.G. Harris and call-to-arms to save one of the earliest post-contact portrayals of life in New England by American Indians.

From The Martha’s Vineyard Times (Oct. 24, 2012) & Vineyard Gazette (Oct. 25, 2012).


***

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute announced my discovery of a possible new class of prehistoric musical instruments in northeastern North America - portable cylindrical lithophones - in its journal Oceanus (Vol. 49, 2:53) and as its “Image of the Day” for Aug. 15, 2012.


***

Nancy Caldwell’s analytical history of Christopher Columbus’s torturous negotiations

with Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon [Negotiating Troubled Waters. Christopher Columbus and the Catholic Monarchs (1485-1492)] has appeared

in English as chapter 5 of

Négociations d'hier, leçons pour aujourd'hui (Negotiations of Yesterday, Lessons for Today) (Éditions Larcier, 2014).


***

Nancy’s story on her experiences in Rwanda, “Listening to the Kigali Night”, is in the March 23, 2012 edition of the International Herald Tribune & the New York Times website.


***

A summary of a presentation in the California Academy of Sciences' Planetarium (8 Sept. 2011) on King Tutankhamun's Libyan Desert Glass scarab and the expedition that solved the enigma of how the ancient Egyptians got the material to make it, when they couldn’t reach the glass’s natural source even if they had camels. Which they didn’t. All they had was donkeys.


***

National Geographic’s report on the discovery of one of the world’s oldest known true optical illusions with further comments.


***

The story of how an excursion to Neolithic monuments went awry when we stumbled on a murder and bombing.


***

 

Vente Bourbon 2, Foret de Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne. My friend, Richard, found this equally beautiful late Bronze Age engraving later in the day.

Vente Bourbon 1, Foret de Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne. I found this late Bronze Age engraving while prospecting with my friend Richard Lebon on April 22, 2015.

Deer under a scene which might show people throwing two “falling” figures off the cliff above the cave, or else a dance around the figures, who might be lying on their bellies, in a trance.

Grotta dell’Addaura 1, Palermo, Sicily.

Late Magdalenian.