Caves and karst: Research in speleology

Caves and karst: Research in speleology

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Caves and karst: Research in speleology
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Caves and Karst: Research in Speleology
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Cave notes
Cave Research Associates
Cave Research Associates
Tumbling Creek Cave Foundation
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Content: A note on cupule sculptures in exogene caves from the Sierra Nevada, California / Louis A. Payen -- From the current literature. Cave Notes(vols. 1-8) and Caves and Karst: Research in Speleology(vols. 9-15) were published by Cave Research Associates from 1959-1973. In 1975, the Tumbling Creek Cave Foundation compiled complete sets of the journals in three volumes. The Foundation sells hardbound copies of the material to support its activities.
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Vol. 10, no. 4 (1968)
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CAVES AND KARST Research in Speleology Volume 10. No.4 July/August 1968 Figure 1. Cupules in series, China Gulch Cave, Amador County, California. (Diameter of large pits 2.5cm.) A NOTE ON CUPULE SCULPTURES IN EXOGENE CA YES FROM THE SIERRA NEVADA, CALIFORNIA by LoUIS A. PAYEN, Cave R esem ch Associates Introduction For many years European scholars have directed their anention [Q an unusu a l type o f prehis[Qric rock art known as ettp-stones or wp7tles. These s[Qne sculptures may be defined as small hemispheric a l h o ll ows, varying in size a nd number. Interest was p a rticul a rly strong in this sculpture between 180 l a nd 1908, as ex hibited by approxi m a t ely 300 refer ences relating [Q the subject (GIEDlON 1962: p. 144). With the disco very o f P a leolithic cave paintings in Fr a nce and Spain, this early concern diminished Nevertheless, cupules are still a problem [Q archeologists because so little is unders[Qod a b out them. Cupule scultpures a n a log o u s [Q those in Europe occur in the United S tates. One interesting expression o f this art has been recorded from the walls of exoge ne caves a long the western flanks o f the Sierra Nevada of cent ral California. Fifteen caves containin g cupules h ave been documented in Butte, Amador, Calaveras, and Stanislaus Counties (Fig ure 3). M a ny of these shelters, f orme d by differenti a l weathering in exposures o f Tertiary sands[Qnes and volcanic breccias also show evidence of prehis[Qric habitati o n in th e form of shallow midden deposits and bedrock mortars. 33


CAVES AND KARST CAVES AND KARST CAVES AND KARST is a publ ication of Cave Research Associates Subscriptions are available for $2.50 per year (six issues) or $6.00 for Volumes 10 through 12 Mid-year subscriptions receive the earlier numbers of the volume. Correspondence, contributions, and subscriptions should be addressed to: CAVE RESEARCH ASSOCIATES, 3842 B rookdale Blvd ., Castro Valley Calif 94546 Editor : Arthur L. Lange Associate Editor: James G Day Editors : Neely H Bostick R deSaussure, J F. Quinlan, Sylvia F Graham Copyright 1968 Cave Research Anociates The form of the Sierra c ave cupules displays greater complexity and elaboration than the so-called "pitted b o uld e rs or simple, randoml y placed cupules that abound at open-air s ites over western United St a tes, including the Sierra Nevada region. The elaborated cupule style f o und in the caves, a nd peculiar to them in the Sierra consists of small subconica l to shallow hemi sp h e ric a l pits ( r a ngin g fr o m 0.5 to 3.0cm. in diameter a nd 0.3 to 2.5cm. in depth ) a nd short, incised grooves, V s haped in cross-section. These two elements, pits and grooves, are combined int o various designs including cupules scattered at random, cupules in series, cupules connected by a groove o r grooves, grooves in p a rallel series and cupules a rr a n ged in ci rcles. In ad dition we find a distinctive design in the shape of a n inverted "U" or b ox u s ually around a cupule groove arrangement. Spatial-temporal relationships A brief r eview indicates th a t the Sierra cup-sculptures a re one manifestation of a wide sprea d a nd a n c ient art. In the Eastern Hemisphere, simple cupules are reported from Euro pean Paleo l it hic si tes w ith possibly the o ld est examples being found in a Mousterian deposit a t La Ferrassie, Franc e ( PEYRONY, 1934). CLlpules are stated to be frequent in the Aurigna cian a nd M ag d a l e ni a n P e ri ods Cupules from Neo l ithic times are reported from muc h o f Europe a nd are frequently elaborate. Occasionally two or three cups are linked tOgeth e r by s h ort grooves or channe ls, while still others occur associated with abstrac t design s (GIEDJON, 1962). Cupules a re a lso reporte d outside Europe. Summers (1959) illustrates an elaborate exa mple from Rhodesia, a nd Giedion (1962: p. 141-143) discusses the presence of this art in the D y na stic P e ri o d of Egypt. Informa ti o n on Asian cup-stones is more limited, bur R a u ( 1882) describes a nd illu s trates a n excellent site in India. McCarthy (1958) reports severa l sites h aving cupules a lmo st identi ca l to the Sierra n examples from the Queensland a nd Alpha districts o f Australia In t h e Western H e mi sp h e re cupu l es seem to be equally widespread. Sites are re p o rted f ro m Centr a l a nd South America with n Otable examples in Mexico P anama, Colum bia (RAU, 1882), Bolivia ( HISSINK, 1955), Brazil (MALLERY, 1893), and Chile (OYAR ZUN, 1912 ) North American cup-stOnes ha ve been reported from Alberta ( GRANT, 1967), Kansas (WEDEL, 1959), WashingtOn ( S TRONG, SCHENK, & STEWARD, 1930), Nevada (HEIZER & BAUMHOFF, 1962), Texas (KIRKLAND & NEWCOMB, 1967), Colo r ado ( RENAUD, 1 9 3 1 ); an d fr o m Mi sso uri Georgia, a nd N orth Caro lin a (GRANT, 1967). Ca lif o rni a cupul e sites a r e frequently f o und through o m the state wherever suitab le stone i s ava ilable ( HEIZER & BAUMHOFF, 19 62; STEWARD, 1929 ; ELSASSER, 1960; VON WERLHOF, 1965; PAYEN 1959; GRANT, 1965, 1 967; BAUMHOFF, 1957). 34


V OLUME 10, NO.4 i:\ \ .. \ '1\ .: .... "'-',\ /, e \:J.,\.) ) /1 1\ 1.1 Figure 2 Cupules, grooves and vulvaform s at Dead Horse Cave, Calaveras County, California. (Sca l e approx. 30cm. ) N E VADA " " t .... / Figur e 3 Location of ex ogene caves co"tain ing cupules in the Sie r ra Nevada of C alifornia: 1 ) Garner Cave, Butle County; 2) Bamerl Cave, Amador Counly; 3) Chin a Gulch Cave, Amador County; 4) De a d Horse Cave, Calaveras Cou n ty; 5 ) Hoods Creek, Stanislaus County. 35


CAVES AND KARST (!): rp 9 rp(jJ (IJ /./ rl I b @0Ww(t /.I H j I. c a mm f[J Ii) 1/ / .. d F igure 4 General ization of v ulvaform designs to simple cupules. a) Anthropo morphic figure showing genitals a t Hawley L ake, Sier r a County, California; b) De tached v ul va form designs and cupule-groove designs at Hawley Lake Sierra County; c) Vulvaform designs and cupule-groove designs a t Dead H orse Cave, Calaveras Count y; d) Abstracted vulvaform designs and cupule-groove designs at Bamert Cave, Amador County. .... I' <1: ." .. '.'-'XI" -/1' ::..,' r .... .... I:/. ... d" '-Me j l 1 .'7 r. .. "" I 'r I .' I /1. C\-j \ : ..I . I ". : .. :. I. /L \l It, .. .:!J \, 'A'I '. Figure 5 Cupules and grooves a t Garner Cave, Butte County. Redrawn from sketch on f i le a t C alifornia Sla te Indian Museum. (Scal e approx. 30cm.) The temporal placement o f m ost N ew World cupules is not yet known. The duration o f this an in America may b e quite l o ng; examples in Nevada be ar a suggested date of 3 000 to 5000 B.C. (HEI ZER & BAUMHOFF, 1962: p. 234). On the other h a nd, the Sierra c upule s rep orted her e a r e associated w ith Late Period sites that probably date later th an AD. 1000. 36


VOLUME 10, NO.4 Interpretation Many interpretations of the probable purpose and meaning of cupule art have been made, primarily because the sculpture has not been indic ative of any particular subject matter. Elaborated designs, similar to those in the Sierra Nevada are ofren thought to be representations of female genitalia (GIEDION, 1962; OYARZUN, 1912 ; DAVIS, 1961), but proof of such an hypothesis is difficult. Davis (p. 238), when describing vulvaform designs at Mono Craters, Mono County, California, points Out the problem in such interpretations, "The proof was there and yet there was no proof. This must happen frequently, and some method of d emo nstr a ting such obvious resemblances is a pressing problem in petroglyph studies." Some support for the genital symbol hypothesis is, however, partially demonstrated a t an extensive open petroglyph site near Hawley Lake Sierra County, California Here, along with elaborate and simple cupules, is a l arge female anthropomorphic figure with sexual parts clearly represented in cupule form Near the figure are scattered disassociated genital depictions, also embodying cupules ; these vary from re a listic to highly abstract (Figure 4a, b). The latter representations are identical to the cupule-inverted "U" designs found at the Sierra cave sites. If the interpretation of the subject matter of this art is correct and these are designs for symbolizing the female organs of reproduction, some exp l a n ations appear more likely than others A favored interpretation for such subject m a tter is that it was connected with some SOrt of fertility rite or increase magic. On the other hand the context of the Sierra cave cupules argues against such an expl a nation The caves containing the cupules were living sites, a fact that wo uld seem to rule out the assumption that these designs were in volved with sacred ceremonies This would seem to place the art in the profa ne realm, where it may have been simply connected with eroticism (UCKO & ROSENFELD, 1967). No mention of c upul e manuf acture is made for the Maidu and Miwok Indians in whose territory the Sierra cupules are found, but ethnographic parallels from other parts of California support the magic or sacred interpretation. Among the Shast a (and appar ently other northwestern California groups) cupules were made in c o nnection with r ain control (HEIZER, 1953). In central California Pom o women desiring conception CUt cupules into certain boulders (BARRETI, 1952 ; LOEB, 1926) In both these ethnographic examples, the act of cutting the cupule into the boulder was an essential part of the formula which reinforced, by objectification and el aborat ion, the abstract and supernatural qualities of the particular rock Whether the Sierran cave cupules and the Pomo fertility cupules were part of the same custOm; i.e., made for human procreation, cannot be proved, but it is a probable ex planation for this archeological manifestation The northwestern California groups and the Pomo placed special emp h asis on magical qua l ities of the boulde r into which the c u pules were carved Did those living near or in the Sierra caves sel ect them for placement of cupu les because of their magical qualities' Did the configuration of the exogene caves besides having a physical attraction as dwelling places also h ave psychological attraction (FREUD, 1935: p .139) for th e placement of the sexual signs as well? One can on l y leave these questions ope n since it is most probable that multiple criteri a were operative for site selection a nd these are difficult to discern from a rcheological data. Summary From the foregoing discussion it seems that the Sierra cave cup-scu l ptures are related to an art tradition that first appeared in the Old World P a le o lithic a nd later bec ame very widespread including the Americas, where their producti on was retained in some areas until histOric times. The degree of abstraction in the subject matter and meaning placed on this art was probably second in imp ortance to its symbolic function based on the co n cern for survival a nd perpetuatio n of the gro up. Thus details of use and form of the cupule probably varied from time and place accordi n g to the ne eds and cu l tura l emphasis present in the p art icular artist's society. The Sierra cave cupules then wou l d represent one focus of this a ncient rock ar t 37


CIIVES A l \"O KARST / '-'\ / \ .. r X' ... \ .... Figure 6 Cupule and groove designs, Hoods Creek, Stanislilus County. (Scale approx. 30cm.) \ I fJ" /1 r. ) I til \ "'1 I ., I': : : 1'1 :. ... . .: e. I: .::./ . I) .' .. / ,'. , . ... 00 ., Figure 7 Cupules ilnd groove designs, near Buena Vista, Amador County. (Scale approx. 30cm.) RcfcfC!ln:s I.I,\RRETT. S t\. ( I I)';.' r. I\lattrial uf Purno cu lture. Milwallkee Pllblic ,1111se lllll BII/I. 20, 1 '.1{" I an,1 I I. 511Sp. I.I,\UI\IIIOI: I '. 1\1. ,\. 1 1'.15 ). Int",duuiun ro )'ana archaeology. Cali/omia I : I/i". I lrc/;(/ tolugic(/1 ,\/11'1 '.1 Nt I'!, It), () I p. \), \ \,1:--. L L. r 1'.11, I r. The \ Iono Craters California. /11/I"riI1 I II/l il/ Ilily 27 (2): ) (, -.!,1t J 38


VOLUME 10, NO.4 ELSASSER A. B. ( 1960). Arch aeo l og y of the Sierra Nev ada in Califo rni a a n d Nevada. C a liforllia U11.iv. Archae ologica l Sttr ve,' R e pt. 51, 93p. FREU D S. (1935). A Geueral i ntroduction to Psy choallal y sis. Liver ig itt P u bli s hin g C o rp. N e w York 412p. GIEDION, S. ( 1962). The Etern al Presel1t: The Begi1l11illgs o f Art. P a nth eo n Books, New York. 5 88p. GRANT, C. ( 1965). The R ock Paim i ngs o f the Chumash Cal if ornia Univ Press, Berkeley and L o s Angel e s 163p GRANT, C. ( 1967). Roc k Art of the American I ndian Thos Y Crowell C o., New York 1 78 p HEIZER, R. F. ( 1953). Sacred rain rocks of n onhern Calif o rnia. Californ i a Archaeological Sur vey Rept. 70: 33-38. HEIZER, R F. & M A BAUMHOFF ( 1962). Prehistoric R ock Art of Nevada aud Eastern Cali/ o mi4. California Univ. Press Berkeley and Los Ang e les. 4 1 2 p HISSINK, K. ( 1955). Felsbinder und Salz d e r Chimanen-Indianer. Paidel mla 6 : 6068. KIRKLAND, F & W W NEWCOMB, Jr. (1967). The Rock Art of T exas bldians Texas Univ. Press, Austin 239p. LOEB E. M. (1926). Porno folkways Califomia U niv. Publications in American Archaeology and Ethn ology 19 (2) : 149-405. MALLERY, G. ( 1 893). Picture-writin g of the Americ a n Indians B''''eatl of American Ethnology, Tenth Annual R e pt, 822p. McCARTHY F. D (1958). A u stralialt Aboriginal R ock Art. Australian Museum Trustees Sydney 59p. OYARZUN, A ( 1912). Los Petroglifos de l Llaima XVII Congreso In temac i olla l de Americall i stas, Actas : 398 4 13. PA YEN, L. A. (1959). Petroglyphs of Sacramento and adjoinin g c o unties, Calif o rni a Califomia UlIiv. Archaeological Sttr vey R e pt. 48 Paper 73: 66-83. PEYRONY, D ( 1934). La Ferrassie Prehis toir e 3: 1-92 RAU, C. (1882). Observations on cup-shaped a nd other lapid a ri a n sculpture s in the Old Worlds a nd America COnlr ibtttio 'lIs to North Ameri can Ethnolog" 5 : 1-112 RENAUD, E. B. ( 1931). Archaeological Survey 0/ Eastern Colorado, First R e p ort. D enver Univ D ept. of Anthopol o gy STEWARD, J. H (1929). Perr og lyphs of C a li fornia a nd adjoinin g st a tes. Califomia Univ. Publico tions i11 American Archaeo l ogy ant! Ethnology 24 (2) : 48-238. STRONG, W D., W E. SCHENCK, & J. H. STEWARD ( 19 3 0). Arch aeo l og y of The DallesDeschutes reg ion. Cal i f ornia Univ. P"blicat ioll s in Arch aeolo gy aud Erlmology 29 ( 1 ) : 1-15 4 SUMMERS, R. (Ed.) (1959). P re h istoric R ock Art 0/ the F ede rati on 0 / Rbo d esia and N y asalallt! Rhodesia and Nyasaland N a tl. Publicati ons Trust, S a li sbu ry. 267 p. UCKO, P. J & A ROS ENFEL D ( 1967). Palae o lithic Cave Art. McGraw-Hill B oo k Co., New York 256 p. von WERLHOF, J. c. (1965). Rock a rt of Owens Valley California. Cali/ omia U niv. Archaeological Survey Rept. 65 128p WEDEL, W. R. (1959). Int roductio n to Kansas a rcha eo l og y Bureau 0 / Americall Ethnology Bull. 174,723p. FROM THE CURRENT LITERATURE BUTLER, B. ROBERT ( 1 967). A stone figurine from the Payette Lakes l ocali ty, west-central Idaho Tebiwa 10 (2) : inside back cover. A g ranite o r g n e iss figurine representin g a n animal's head was obtained from a well a t the 22.5 meter le vel. It is contrasted with th e nine o ther figurines ob tain ed thu s far in Id a h o, all m ade o f clay. Eight of these wer e found in c aves; namely. Wilson Butt e C ave a n d Columbet Cr eek rockshelter.-ALL COX, E. R (1967). Geology and hydrol og y betwe e n Lake McMillan and Carlsbad Sprin gs, Eddy C ou nty New Mexico U.S Ge o lo gical Survey 11'1 ate r Supply Pape r 1 828, 48 p. (Ava ilabl e f o r $1.25 from Superintendent o f D o cuments Gov e rnment Printin g Office Was hin gto n D C. 204 0 2 ) A study of the hydrol ogy o f inter-fin ge rin g carbonate and e vap o rite rocks as r e lat ed to the geo l ogy of Lakes McMill a n a nd Ava lon the leakage from them, a n d two pot e nti a l dam si tes be tween th e m Lake McMillan, built in 1 893 by priva te int e r ests, is unique in that afte r it was built it w a s nec e ssary 39


CAVES AND KARST to erect a dike along its east bank in order to prevent water from entering sinkholes, and to lessen the rate of solution of gypsum and consequent destruction of the adjacent ridge. The most significant result of Cox's study is that, subject to detailed investigation (see annotation of REDFIELD, 1967), the abrupt change in facies of the Seven Rivers formation from cavernous gypsum and dolomite to impermeable limestones could make it possible to construct a dam at the Brantley site so that its lake should not be subiect to leakages. -ALL CRAIG, ALAN K. (1967). Lithophagic snail from southern British Honduras. Science 158: 795-796. The freshwater gastropod Pachycheiltts gLaph"rttS is abundant in karst streams of the area, consum ing algae lining solution grooves along the air-water interface. Rasping action of the radula deepens the grooves, thus improving the algal habitat. -ALL HSU, K. JINGHW A (1967). Chemistry of dolomite formation (in CHILINGAR, G. W., et al. Carbollate Rocks, Part A. Elsevier, Amsterdam). p. 169-191. An eventual understanding of dolomite genesis is likely, but present data on its stability, solubility, and natural and artificial formation are uncertain and conflicting. Dolomite has been formed in the laboratory at 25 C and latm pressure only through the agency of microorganisms. Whereas solubility experiments and abundant ancient dolomite deposits suggest that dolomite is a stable phase, the dolo mite in presently forming deposits is usually a replacement product, and most attempts at dolomite synthesis lead to mixtures of calcite and nesquehonite or hydromagnesite. If equilibrium relations in volving dolomite and hydromagnesite do exist at low temperatures and atmospheric pressure, dolomite formation might depend on the partial pressure of carbon dioxide. Alternatively, the rate of dolomite formation might be so slow under normal environmental conditions that other metastable minerals usually would form first from supersaturated solutions. --GWM HUNTOON, PETER W. (1968). HydrogeoLogy 0/ the Tapeats Amphitheatre and Deer Basin, Grand Can,' on, Arizona: a s/1Idy in karst hydroLogy. M.S. Thesis, University of Arizona. 124p. A derailed analysis of the hydrology of the large springs and caves of part of northwest Grand Canyon. Climate, provenance, lithologic and structural controls, water quality and discharge are treated. The dynamics of the ground-water system is interpreted from a circulation model. The evolution of the system and future courses of events are projected. -ALL REDFIELD, ROBERT C. (1967). Brantley Reservoir Site An investigation of evaporite and carbonate facies: E lIgineering GeoLogy (Association 0/ Engi'lleerillg Geologists) B1IIL. 4 (2): 14-30. A summary of a detailed study based on field mapping and core drilling of the rapid change of facies of the Seven Rivers formation (Permian) from pervious evaporite, carbonate, and clastic rocks to impervious carbonate rocks (See Annotation of Cox, 1967). Conservation storage is practical at th e site and although some seepage losses are to he expected, there will be no problem, ,iIllilar to those at the McMillan Reservoir. LAt lirst, the proposed dam site seems quite daring, but Redfield's prudent analysis shows that its location is dictated by sound interpretation of fortuitous stratigraphy It will be interesting to read future case histories on the BrantLey Dam. Ed. I JFQ SIIELLBACH, LOUIS ( 196 7). Excavation of Cave No.1, southwestern Idaho, 1929. T ebiwa 10 (2) : 63-72. (with foreward by E. H. Swanson, Jr.). Field notes and maps of the 1929 excavations in a lava rockshelte!' overlooking the Snake River. This and a nearby rockshelter, 10-AA I 5, are believed by Swanson to represent Desert Culture peoples beginning as early as 1 200-2500 B.C. -ALL TAFT, WILLIAM H. (1967). Physical chemistry of formation of carbonates. Chapter 3 of CHIL INGAR, G. Y., and others, Carbollate Rocks, Elsevier Pub. Co. Amsterdam, p. /51-167. Experiments using artificial aragonite g round to less than 0.062mm showed that its recrystalla tion to calcite by solution-reprecipitation is temperature dependen!. In distilled water, 100-percent recrystallizati o n took 100 days at 23 C and" days at 70'C. Magnesium ions in the solution stop the recrystallizati on, 5ppm being sufTlCient at 23 and 50ppm at 70'C. The rate of recrystallization is slowed by lesser concentratiuns o f magnes ium and by strontium and is increased by calcium, potassium, and sodium chlori,kin solution. -GWM Contributors: ALL, A. L. Lange; GWM, G. W. Moore; JFQ, J. F. Quinlan 40

Content: A note on cupule sculptures in exogene caves from
the Sierra Nevada, California / Louis A. Payen --
From the current literature.
Cave Notes(vols. 1-8) and
Caves and Karst: Research in Speleology(vols. 9-15)
were published by Cave Research Associates from 1959-1973. In
1975, the Tumbling Creek Cave Foundation compiled complete
sets of the journals in three volumes. The Foundation sells
hardbound copies of the material to support its


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