Ancient America: Carved Stone Figures in the Plateau

The Maryhill Museum located near Goldendale, Washington, has a display of Plateau stone artifacts. The Plateau Culture Area is the area between the Cascade Mountains and the Rocky Mountains in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia, and Western Montana. From north to south it runs from the Fraser River in the north to the Blue Mountains in the south. Much of the area is classified as semi-arid. Part of it is mountainous with pine forests in the higher elevations.

The meaning or function of the carved stone figures is not known. According to the Museum display:

“In studying prehistoric materials, utilitarian objects are quite easily identified, but the meaning of artistic motifs often remains obscure.”

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According to the Museum display:

“The image of a human head with opposed faces has been used by cultures in widely separated parts of the world at various times. It would be wrong to assume that these cultures have any connection. Instead, it would seem that this theme has an appeal that relies on the commonality of human experience.”