700 Kilometres to the North: Ros’ Marked Rock Number 2
By Steven & Evan Strong
We first heard talk of this marked rock about five hours before the deadline of an on-line auction. Ros rang me speaking of an unusual rock, which she believed to be reminiscent of her earlier find, and at that stage it was indeed encouraging news as the highest bid was hovering in the mid-twenty dollar range. It did look very promising, but even so without a visual image for us to reference and enthuse over, her description was certainly intriguing yet I still felt a disconnect as we do with any talk and every photograph of a site or artefact. On enough occasions to make it compulsory to carry this equivocation into every description of unknown archaeology and new sets of photographs sent to us, which can easily overstate or understate, we refuse to be fully committed or convinced (with one recent exception) until actually on site or with artefact in hand.
Unfortunately, the paltry financial offer for this archaeological treasure did not stand unchallenged, Ros was involved in a spirited bidding war with a second unknown party. Her concern was ever-present, so many Original artefacts and relics are being sold on the open-market and often end up in a private display in an off-shore locale. Over the final two hours the bidding began in earnest and it wasn’t until well into the three figures before Ros prevailed. What Ros did not know, and nor did the person she was bidding against, was that she was competing with another person who is a very important part of what we are doing. Sean filmed Ros’ arrival when she showed us the first rock, and with some agreed future improvement in communication and a co-operative approach, we can only hope that the next Original item they are both trying to save will not be as expensive.
The tragic part of this tale is not so much the money lost (which is of course an issue), but the fact that so many priceless pieces of Original archaeology are bought and sold on the open-market throughout Australia and elsewhere, and very few have the integrity and scruples of Ros and Sean. As for those selling these Original relics, there is the same gamut of motivations, fortunately, we happen to know that in this case the seller is a person of good character and intentions and has considerable respect for the culture and in particular, a real interest in what this rock means. Our concern is that there is no regulation or interest in this open slather marketing of Original heritage. Sean was outbid on an earlier occasion for an artefact of huge significance from a different source, which now may be stored in a private collection in a foreign land.
Despite the misfortunes and hurdles this rock has endured it now has been saved and what we have now not only confirms the little we have learned from our investigations into Ros’ rock, it opens up so many new ancient horizons and continually redefines a technology eulogised on a rock that is so old, yet looks so recent.
Upon first sighting my immediate reaction was that the rock was very old, much older than Ros’ Rock 1. To be honest, my initial response was tinged also with just a hint of being underwhelmed. Yes the figure that looks so striking and resembles the capital A letter, is very dramatic and grabs attention, but in comparison to the first rock found by Ros many of the engraved lines are fainter and often just visible. There is one side that bears evidence of substantial wearing of some sort while the other three sides are smooth and level. The markings of varying styles seem to lack the preciseness of Ros’ Rock Side 3, or even Side 1. Fainter, in some places seemingly cruder and less exact in maintaining the same angle, and at a little over half the size, when scanning the entire assemblage of marks it just doesn’t grab the eye like the earlier rock.
Of course once training the eye, and looking with more patience it soon became obvious this is actually as complex, in fact more so, than its chert colleague. And that is our beginning point, we must first identify the geological make and model. Although we are yet to receive confirmation, we are prepared to suggest with confidence that the smaller rock is also chert. The two rocks are the same colour, compact grain, smoothness, general shape and even make the same noise when in contact with each other. And it is that immediate truth, being of the same shape, make and model yet separated by 700 kilometres, that seems to suggest there is a distinct and widespread pattern emerging. Both rocks have an assortment of artificial markings, have been deliberately fashioned into this shape and display evidence of exactly the same technology (with extensions). This is not a coincidence, but part of a pattern.
With Ros’ Rock 1 we are fairly confident we have worked out the sequence in the passage and progression from Sides 1 through to 4, and once again with this rock there is evidence that gives an indication that the side with the elongated staffed capital A is opening statement. However, a case can be made that Side 3 could begin this enigmatic narrative, but for the sake of at least opening proceedings we will assume that Side 1 is the face with the capital A symbol and await further developments with the right to readjust, if needed at a later date.
The lines that make up the capital A shape are as wide as the broadest cuts on Ros’ Rock 1, but none are as long as the right-hand staff which is 92 millimetres. It is the longest continuous line on either rock and takes a circuitous route wrapping all the way around the bottom-edge of the rock. The smaller second staff is 28 millimetres long, and the two cross-bars are 8 and 4 millimetres across, but in both cases do not quite join up on one side. Being made aware of intentional use of ratio and balance in numbers evident on Ros’ Rock 1, we noted that the ratio of these four sides is 1:2:7:23 and have no idea if that is of significance, but going on current form we would not be surprised if there is meaning in the mathematics. There are seven separate smaller lines found in the bottom-half of Side 1 and range between 6 to 15 millimetres in length, but none are as ‘clean’ as those on Ros’ Rock. Three aren’t quite straight, one is ‘ragged’ with three minute pieces of rock remaining inside the carved line. It is an interesting contrast in that the bigger A-like engraving is clear with a consistent width, depth, clean line and symmetry.
Again, at first glance, take away the engraving of the letter A and it all looks impressive, but a bit frayed at the edges. If comparing against the neater and more catching presentation of the rock from Bambara, what is demonstrably evident is the intricate planning and awareness of mathematical balance on Side 3 of that rock. There are seven semi-horizontal/diagonal lines of which five are aligned at 33 degrees, equally three are 32 millimetres in length and the other four 23 millimetres long. There is design and deliberate repetition in evidence, whereas this smaller rock meanders between precision and a cruder line.
Or so we thought, a closer look at side 2 in the sun with a magnifying glass changed perspective and began to sharpen the focus. One perfectly straight line spans all four sides, completing the cap on the Side 1 of the capital A, spreading across the entire second surface as it slopes down past the smoothed out channel on Side 3 then reappears on the other side and continues its passage back to Side 1 at very bottom edge. It actually encompasses all four sides, beginning at the top of the letter A and completing its journey at the lowest point of the rock, that sophistication of design, extreme narrowness in the width of cut and dedication to maintaining a perfectly straight line that is faultless, made me realise I had dramatically underestimated the extent of technology, variety of applications and symbols used.
In what only added to the issues to reconsider, we found 7 other smaller, much fainter lines on Side 2 and all were very fine in cut and again gun barrel straight, whereas of the 7 thicker and much easier to see lines, three are straight and four have deviations, gaps or are curved. What is immediately apparent is that the older and finer lines are geometrically perfect, whereas what seems to be more recent appears more haphazard and a little carefree in rendition.
Now we were warming up to the task in hand and were able to see more clearly, it was Side 3 that really pushed back the boundaries. We counted ten lines, three were thicker and seven were of the much thinner variety, but all lines no matter what the width were subject to another force that saw the engravings all but disappear under the pressure and abrasion of human skin. The central channel/depression runs all the way along the centre of this side and most of the way underneath Side 2, and we believe was made and shaped for one purpose, to accommodate the index finger. When placing the finger in and along what we believe is a depression specifically fashioned for that purpose, it becomes so obvious it could have no other role-the finger is meant to be placed in that position. All lines are almost or totally missing in indentation at the deepest part of this depression, and reappear at the elevated sides, and this we believe was solely due to the rubbing of skin onto silica.
But for how long? The rock is incredibly hard, and yes most of the exact geometry from the older application is all bar gone, but what is apparent on this side is that both types of line, thick and thin had been worn away by the human hand. Such a process would take an eternity. This antiquity carries with it an unexpected reversal of technological parameters, in that the much fainter, finer, straighter and delicate cuts/engravings are older than what seems to be a cruder less precise set of lines and pecks. This is back to front and in opposition to the conventional take on pre-history supporting the gradual rise of technology and civilisations leading up to the pinnacle of human existence, which of course is assumed to be today’s societies.
Side 4 has to be the focal point, with no less than 200 individual marks presented in an unexpected array of styles. The thickest lines, fine thin lines, chiseled semi-circles, one cluster of 170 odd pecks which could quite possibly be a star map and four deceptive sets of markings that form lines, create an intriguing set of unknowns. None are exactly straight like the older delicate lines, but the closest description we can give is that it looks like an extract from four lines of Morse Code. What seems to be four series of dots and dashes, with raised ridges or small segments of rock remaining made up of no less than 30 marks, may seem a touch rough, but could be a cryptic yet sublime concluding narrative.
The smaller this rock also displays two stages of timing and creation, and this goes a little further in confirming a commonality in manufacture and intentions. It probably had dozens of extra marks that are lost to the passing of years and being much older that is a conservative estimate. What has been become increasingly obvious is that this less grand rock is older, smaller and shows evidence of a technology more advanced than what is shown on Ros’ Rock 1. There is a greater variety in diameter of pecks, thin straight lines, thick less exact lines, semi-circles, a complete symbol/letter, evidence of long-term interaction with human hands, and in what only extends into new modes of communication, there are four lines of what seem to be dots and dashes.
One Point of Difference
Upon reflection, and this is purely a subjective call, the pivotal difference between the rocks is that when examining the smaller rock it is immediately obvious that each side is so unlike the face preceding or proceeding. In the bigger rock there is a more integrated and symbiotic interplay of symbols and lines between all four sides, not so on this rock. There is a bold opening proclamation which features, once excluding the older thinner lines, the longest and widest engraved line on both rocks. It was chiseled with precision in line, edge, width and curve that is a daunting task today and requires the steady hand of a mason of high degree and no less than a blade of hardened steel.
The narrower face gives over to the second and widest stone canvas which seems all but untouched. Less refined, and we believe more recent, the lines are small in number (6) and the longest less than two centimetres. However, in full sun with glasses on and magnifying glass in hand, the older straighter and thinner lines dominate and are spread across the face. We counted eight such lines of different placements and alignments that span, or almost reach, across the entire side. In times long gone this side was indeed quite striking, what we have left is a pale shadow of yesterday’s glory.
In one respect the third side is the most impressive piece of archaeology we have seen, in so far as nothing else has so intimately and continuously been in contact with ancient human hands and index fingers.
The concluding side is an incredibly intensive and extensive stone palette and we sincerely doubt that it will ever be surpassed. The question that immediately comes to mind relates to whether this is a huge star map. Of varying diameter and numbering close to 200, these tiny pecked holes appear on no other side and are restricted to the upper two thirds of this face. Two older straight lines, the straightest of the younger lines, a very wide depression and boomerang-like line are spread throughout this hypothetical star map. What adds some substance to this possibility through collaboration to a celestial destination, three of the four Morse Code-like lines are placed to the side and below the star map. It could appear that these rows of dots and dashes were providing commentary, whereas the thinner and thicker lines that cut through the star map chart position and trajectory.
Or maybe someone in ancient times had plenty of free time and idle hands? Either way is fine by us. The tools used, irrespective of the motivations and year of manufacture, is the primary focus and its existence and application on rock is still positioned well outside the province of any conventional historical text.
So Many Paths to Travel
Because of the general location of where this artefact was found and its proximity to the Standing Stones site, supplemented by the translation of the First Language which includes 16 letters, of which the letter A is the first, we strongly suspect this engraving is connected to that site.
There are so many areas to investigate both separately and in comparison with the other rock, and alas as it is with the first rock, we as investigators are hamstrung in that we are a part of today’s Homo sapien community. Which means we have ‘a snowflake’s chance in hell’ in deciphering what these beings from distant times engraved for posterity. If only we had the scope of intelligence and breadth of vision to even begin to understand the wisdom inscribed, but the truth is we are far less intelligent than we claim and confuse our thinking abilities with its lesser form: cleverness. It is a task we are doomed to fall short on, but will still attempt to find whatever is left over for those of today blighted with diminished abilities and clouded memories. For now, we only have one certainty, while everything else is a long way off from making any declaration, the technology is wrong.
There is a large array of technologies evident on this rock and the one before that do not fit into any conventional account of human development and the gradual rise of cities, along with the associated technological advances that accompany this purported recent trend towards larger towns and cities. Both of these rocks have no part in that historical tale and that portion of our research is ticked off, but regrettably these two rocks are at the moment the geological equivalent of Terra Nullius. That doctrine, which was only recently dismissed in the High Court, maintained although it was agreed that Original people were in Australian, officially they were legally inferior non-persons. So too the rocks exist, but according to every accepted academic and political standard if they are taboo and not spoken of, looked at, whispered or written about, they also must hover in a state of suspended inertia.
Our task is to wake, stir, rattle and shake their cages, and perhaps even loosen the locks a fraction. All we are trying to do is tell the whole Original truth. Surely amongst all the clutter and collateral damage they could try and find the time and room to fit in the Original version of events, then again, going on past and present form, this task may be even harder than trying to interpret the narrative on the two rocks.