Museum of the Origins of Man
PALEOLITHIC PLACES OF WORSHIP IN CAVE WITH SCULPTURE
Fig. 30.1) Basura Cave, Toirano, Savona, Italy.
Photo of a passage of the cave. After the discovery, steps were taken, as the path alternates ascents and descents.
The cave preserves many traces of the man who visited it: calcified footprints of feet and hands; small sculptures brought to the cave; clay balls attached to the wall by man; carbon traces of torches
In this cave the bears went in lethargy, and beyond great amounts of bear boneses, there are also its prints calcified with those human.
Bears were hibernating there: in addition to large amounts of bear bones, there are also its footprints calcified along with human ones.
It is believed that the man went into the cave to hunt for the bear, but there are no traces of bones broken by man.
When the cave was discovered, the calcified footprints were attributed to Neanderthal Man. Recently, these footprints have been attributed to Homo sapiens sapiens, i.e. to the Modern Man of the Upper Paleolithic. To our opinion, the footprints of the modern Man are related to the last visit, as previously the cave has been visited by the Neanderthal Man, as testified by some of the five small sculptures found in the cave (see Figg. 5.30 - 5.31 - 5.34 - 5.35 - 7.8).
These five small sculptures, that stay in the palm of the hand, have been made probably outside the cave, and then brought to the bottom of the cave, where the bears went in lethargy, and where the clay balls have been thrown (Fig.30,2). These rites were probably done once a year, and when the bears were not lethargic, that is when the cave was free.
(from E. Bernardini, cited)
Fig. 30.2) Basura cave, Toirano, Savona, Italy.
Wall at the bottom of the cave, where the clay balls are looked at, picked up from the ground and thrown on the wall, and now calcified.
This action has been interpreted as a cult rite, which adds to another rite, to carry small sculptures into the cave.
Fig. 30.3) Basura cave, Toirano, Savona, Italy.
Carbon traces of torches left by man during the path in the cave for the rites of worship.
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