Archaeology: Hieroglyphs/Comics (Evolution of Art!)


Well-Known Member
Feb 26, 2016
Amsterdam; New Jersey
The science of archaeology involves the cataloging of discovered relics from ancient civilization that indicate our understanding of life on Earth in eras past(!). Great archaeological discoveries about the city of Troy, Ancient Egypt, and other places remind us of our fascination with understanding civilization through relics, sculptures, hieroglyphs, ancient ruins, fossils/bones, and artifacts which reveal the behavior/consciousness of peoples from the past, across world history. Archaeologists have found many examples of civilization-illuminating arts and images from Egyptian pyramids, the ruins of submerged ancient cities (e.g., Pompeii), and from the art and sculptures/pottery from various settlements...not just bones/fossils of dead cities!

These discoveries of the 'art' of ancient places reveal why archaeology can help us understand/appreciate the cardinality of behavior and traffic from places in the past, and this helps archaeologists frame the models of 'idealized social structures' that can be used perhaps to better evaluate pragmatic institutions in our modern civilization(!), such as the Salk Institute, NASA, the Louvre, and the Sydney Opera House!

We therefore use archaeology to 'frame' the rationalism of art and imagination from ancient places and therefore 'place' the beings/creatures/people from the past (from the Jurassic Era to Ancient Egypt to Constantinople to Rome to even Nazi Germany!) so we can get a 'portrait' of evolution itself. This portrait of evolution can help us determine the 'arrows of consciousness' maybe that help us analyze the rationalism of art and therefore (arguably) the evolution of art itself!

Why does art reflect or represent the behavior or consciousness of the people? Why is art separate from graffiti or vandalism? Why is art symbolic of a civilization's imagination and even social structures? These are questions that archaeologists often ask while working/digging in the field(!). How can we therefore use such archaeological understanding to evaluate how art has developed/evolved to offer us a 'mosaic' of civilization-progression and place-development across the time-epochs on Earth? Isn't this sort of curiosity representative of what makes our species rather...intelligent?

What do you think?


Modern art has included characterizations of technology and toys and spaced-out depictions of ergonomically 'sleek' furniture or sculptures. Sometimes modern art included characterizations of 'socialization' imagination regarding capitalism/consumerism in modernized civilization (e.g., paintings of Andy Warhol). These abstracted ideas about stylized space (and place!0 is what separates modern art from classical art which explored more the human fascination with 'natural beauty' found in nature, as we saw from the paintings of the Impressionists and even the Renaissance Era! Modern art has also included the rich and textured flowery of an entire new medium of art known as comic book art. Yes, comic books(!) are wild-eyed imaginations about fantastic beings and 'superhumans' arrayed in adventurous conditions where good has to triumph over evil. We see incredible 'superheroes' (and heroines!) like Spider-Man (Marvel Comics) and Wonder Woman (DC Comics) contending with vile and dangerous 'super-terrorists' (or villains!) like Mysterio (Marvel Comics) and Brainiac (DC Comics). Comic book art is a purely 'modern art' that captures our modern age fascination with the characterization of idealized and even fantastic values about traffic-control (governance) and crime-fighting (law and order). Comic book art, like the paintings of Andy Warhol in modern times, represent our new age fascination with coordinating values with dizzying traffic and multiculturalism oriented consumerism activity (e.g., eBay, MTV, People Magazine, Toys 'R Us, etc.). Archaeologists in the future will most likely look back on our time period and comment on how comics art and 'modern (20th-21st Century art) symbolized our civilization's fascination with 'traffic consciousness.' This is therefore a 'snapshot' of the 'evolution' of art in the context of civilization-intelligence. There's much to comment here, to be sure(!). What do you think?


Here are image stills from Roman Polanski's controversial/incendiary 1999 film The Ninth Gate (Johnny Depp), about an unscrupulous American rare book-dealer named Dean Corso who is given a special assignment to hunt down and collect rare and undiscovered arrays from a mystical and dangerous book rumored to be able to invoke the presence of the Devil (Lucifer/Satan), adversary of mankind and God, for a large sum of money. Mind you, this film was made in 1999, so it's not reflective of 'ancient world' superstitions but rather our new age and ongoing social interest in 'placing' art and imagery within the context of civilization consciousness and intelligence/imagination. These stills from Polanski's film about Satanism and heresy 'archaeology' reveal our new age curiosity about using images of complexity or even danger(!) to grasp at deep concepts about immortality, fate, doom, sin, morality, and dangerous adventure(!). We can see how these images reflect our species' curiosity about why/how imagery parallels socialization behavior ideas (e.g., rhetoric, dogma, norms, fears, etc.). What would an archaeologist in the future say about the 'artistic significance' of such imagery, were they to, say find a poster of The Ninth Gate along with these images/stills from the Satanic text cited in the Polanski film in someone's Manhattan apartment, someone who was fascinated by Christian heresy dialogue? We could frame such a question within our larger question of "How does art 'mirror' civilization IQ?"


We know from the iconic hieroglyphs from Ancient Egypt that the Egyptians were intrigued by dolls or gods who exhibited both animal-like and god-like behaviors and intelligence. One such 'god' or 'avatar' is Anubis, a wolf-headed man obviously exhibiting some power or charm regarding the authority to 'preside' over commands or directives. This wolf-god Anubis was symbolic to Ancient Egyptians and it is found in the hieroglyphs/art of that civilization in various tombs and pyramids. Archaeologists consider this one of the earliest examples of 'thoroughly-coordinated' art collections, almost as if the pyramids/tombs that housed these hieroglyphs were intentionally meant to be some kind of 'religion museum.'


We see from later periods of art a human fascination with images of God and divinity and paintings of great angels and adversaries such as Michael and Lucifer. This sort of art was popularized during the Renaissance Era by great Italian artists such as Raphael and Michelangelo(!). This 'divinity-art' is in great contrast to our modern traffic-based 'colloquialized' art (e.g., Warhol's mosaic-painting of Marilyn Monroe, Stan Lee's comic book art of Spider-Man, etc.). Today's 'street-IQ' art is in contrast to this more classical art presenting our fascination with the divine or heavenly. How should we compare a painting of Lucifer or Michael by Raphael (for example!) to the modern comic book art presenting patriotic images of street-justice (e.g., Captain America, Catwoman, She-Ra, etc.)?


In Polanski's incendiary Satanism-themed film The Ninth Gate, we're shown a postcard and painting with an image of the symbolic eerie castle in Europe in which the Devil (Satan/Lucifer) is said to be 'residing' and waiting for the right soul who has collected all the correct pieces/images from the dangerous Satanic text/book to use to converse 'formally' with him and perhaps make communion with evil and darkness(!). This eerie castle may remind us why we as a species want to 'place' imagination within social infrastructures (e.g., pyramids, museums, castles, shops, skyscrapers, etc.!) to appreciate how civilization itself has its own 'labyrinth.'


So, thinking about the abstract imagery of modern art (e.g., Warhol, Stan Lee, etc.) and comparing with the divinity-art of the Renaissance or the hieroglyphs of Ancient Egypt can help us formulate how/why art has 'evolved' to conceptualize ideas about the development of intelligence itself! This modern-art painting/image, for example, seems to clearly indicate a human curiosity about how human uniqueness is wed to a contemplation of the evolution of institutional geometry (e.g., the Smithsonian Institution!). We might think about why an archaeologist would consider such a painting as representative of the evolution of art as an expression of socialization, dogma, politics, and even intellectualism(!).


Here's a vivid image of the DC Comics super-villain Brainiac, a cybernetic freak/mutant who is dependent on wires and tubes for energy and power but also uses this energy to create terrifying realms of fascism and oppression, becoming an 'overlord of life.' Brainiac is a purely 'modern art' avatar, very different from the 'governing Egyptian god' Anubis or the Greek governing god Zeus(!). Brainiac is a modernism 'monster' who exemplifies our new age curiosity about the 'shape' of evil and terrorism! We can see how the progression of paintings of the Christian archangel Michael to the comic book portraits of the evil Brainiac reveal how art has evolved to capture the dynamic development of civilization rhetoric. What do you think? Is this sort of modern art (comic books) brain-candy...or 'popularized philosophy'?


We might discover that a brilliant archaeology student (graduate or undergraduate level) at the Archaeology Department at Yale University (a prestigious Ivy League school!) is studying how the discovery of the ancient city of Troy parallels the more recent discovery of cryptic computer algorithms from the 1960s purported to be able to 'give rise' to A.I. (Artificial Intelligence). We might wonder if archaeology is a field of study that contributes to our overall understanding of thought itself. After all, why would we be interested in Brainiac (DC Comics) or Anubis (Ancient Egypt), if we're not constantly thinking about the 'ergonomics' of evolution itself?


Here's a portrait of a modern A.I. robot avatar Megatron (From Hasbro's popular Transformers franchise), which clearly indicates our modern interest in the shape and dynamics of organics and psychology and intelligence evolution. This sinister-looking robot seems to represent our modern civilization fascination with the ergonomics of terror and 'evil intelligence.' What would an archaeologist in the future say about such a portrait were they to discover it in the college dormitory of an Ivy League student? Would they think our civilization was preoccupied with ideas/images of technology superiority?


In the end, the job of the archaeologists is to re-present civilization and places with findings about structuralism, sculpture, city ruins, and characterizations of dogma through art and architecture. We'll then better appreciate the 'social value' of Hollywood (USA) films about evolution-intrigue such as Jurassic Park, Robots, and Valerian(!). So we have this special opportunity to place art and creativity within the context of 'imagination-value.' This should at least make us more eager to see the next Hollywood (USA) film about Brainiac (DC Comics) or Spider-Woman (Marvel Comics)!


I'd love to hear what other people make of this special archaeology oriented intrigue regarding the evolution of 'dogmatic art.' Thanks for reading (signing off),



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