Museum of the Origins of Man

SKULLS AND PREHISTORIC HUMANS: INTERPRETING ANTHROPOMORPHIC SCULPTURE IN THE LOWER AND MIDDLE PALEOLITHIC




Fig. 3,1) Australopithecus gracilis (africanus) .
Drawing in lateral view. This hominid is very similar to Homo habilis.
This skull has affinity with the olduvaian anthropomorphic sculpture of S.Severo (Fig. 4,1).




Fig. 3.2) Homo erectus (Sinanthropus).
Drawing of the skull reconstructed by F. Weindenreich with some fragments of skulls, both male and female, of several ages. Through this skull we can interpret, in lateral profile, the sculptures of human heads without chin and forehead of the Acheulean and the Clactonian.




Fig. 3.3) Graphic simulation of the union of two skulls of hominids living at the same time, for a parameter with the two-faced anthropomorphic sculptures of the lower Paleolithic. (Drawing by P.Gaietto , 1982).
On the left Australopithecus africanus, on the right Homo erectus (Sinanthropus). The part outlined with the vertical lines refers to the sculptures twhitout division between the jaws. Excluding the vertical lines, the drawing makes reference to the sculptures in which the two jaws are separated and joined up.




Fig. 3.4) Homo erectus with prominent jaw.
This human type does not emerge by the skeletal finds of the Acheulean and the Clactonian, but it is known in the anthropomorphic sculpture. (see Fig. 4.3 - 4.4 - 4.5 - 4.6 - 4.7).
Drawing by A.Cestino on indications of P.Gaietto (1974).



Fig. 3.5) Graphic simulation of the union of two skulls of hominids lived at the same time, for a parameter with the two-faced anthropomorphic sculptures in the final phase of the lower Paleolithic. (Drawing by P.Gaietto, 1982). On the left Homo sapiens Neanderthalensis (the Old man of the Chapelle-aux-Saints) and on the right Homo erectus. We have used, for the representation of the skull of Homo erectus, the reconstruction of the Sinanthropus, made many years ago by Weidenreich, and this need explanation.
In the Acheulean and the Clactonian, that is for approximately 650,000 years (from 750,000 to 100,000 years ago), no one single skull complete of Homo erectus has been found, but only some parts, and not even in the same place.
Recently a new type of hominid has been classified, the Archaic Homo sapiens . Some rests of Homo erectus have been attributed to Archaic Homo sapiens, and not there is complete agreement between the paleoanthropologists. Not even of Archaic Homo sapiens, a skull complete has been found. However, the differences between Homo erectus and Archaic Homo sapiens would have to be minimal, whitout influence in the general profile of a head , in order to interpret a head represented in sculpture.



Fig. 3.6) Pre-neanderthalian woman .
Drawing by A.Cestino on indications of P.Gaietto (1974).



3.7) Pre-neanderthaliano man.
Drawing by A.Cestino on indications of P.Gaietto (1974).



Fig. 3.8) Graphic Simulation of two parts of the same skull of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis (the Chapelle-aux-Saints). On the left frontal view, on the right of profile. (Drawing by P.Gaietto , 1982).
This reconstruction has been made in support of the two-faced anthropomorphic sculpture of Voltri(Genova, Italy) (Fig. 5.23).


NOTE: The Drawings of the skulls, and also their couplings, have been introduced in this Museum in order to facilitate the interpretation of the anthropomorphic sculptures, that are representations of living " hominids ", in how much, in the Paleolithic, at least until today, representations of skeletons, neither in sculpture, neither in painting have been found



Fig. 3.9) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis (la Chapelle-aux-Saints).
Skull in lateral and frontal view, oriented in the orbit-auricular plan.


Fig. 3.10) Homo sapiens sapiens. (Type of Predmost, Moravia, Czechoslovakia).
Skull in lateral view. It has the chin, but still the receding forehead like the Neanderthalians.
This human type in the anthropomorphic sculpture of the upper Paleolithic is more frequent than the Cro-Magnon (Fig. 3.16).


Fig. 3,11) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. (Cave of Skhul, Palestine).
It is one of the more modern Neanderthalians. Finds confirmation in the sculpture of Balzi Rossi (Liguria, Italy) (Fig. 5.32), that represents the head of a neanderthalian woman (left side) with beautiful hairdo.



Fig. 3.12) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis (the Old man of Chapelle-aux-Saints).
The position of the skull, in semifrontal view, is put in relation with the sculptures of heads of Neanderthalians (Fig. 4.19 and 5.24).



Fig. 3.13) Homo sapiens sapiens (Type of Cro-Magnon).
Semifrontal view. In this position, the heads represented in sculpture seem with absence of forehead like the Neanderthalians, while the Cro-Magnon has the forehead of the modern Man (Fig. 3.16). Also the chin seems longer, and so is represented also in sculpture (5.24 Fig. - head left side).



Fig. 3.14) Graphic simulation of union of two skulls. On the left Homo sapiens sapiens (Cro-Magnon), on the right Homo sapiens neanderthalensis (La Chapelle-aux-Saints). The skulls are in semifrontal position.
The reference of this simulation is with the two-faced anthropomorphic sculpture of Campoligure (Liguria, Italy). (Fig. 5.24). (Drawing by P.Gaietto , 1982).



Fig. 3.15) Graphic simulation of the union of two skulls. On the left the modern Homo sapiens neanderthalensis (Skhul V) (Fig. 3,11), on the right Homo sapiens sapiens (Predmost) (Fig. 3.10).
This type of coupling is frequent in sculpture. (Drawing by P.Gaietto, 1982).



Fig. 3.16) Homo sapiens sapiens (Type of Cro-Magnon).
See the sculpture of the Balzi Rossi (Fig. 5.32), where the skull and the human head (right side) have the same jaw with chin, the same forehead, and the same skullcap; light difference for the nose. (see also Fig. 5.35).



Fig. 3.17) Homo erectus " sculptor ".
The technique of working for the production of sculptures is more complex than that for the production of tools.
The working for the production of lithic tools is constituted by the detachment of flakes that must be cutting or pointed. The working for the production of sculptures is similar to that one of the tools for the external molding, in which also stikers of wood or bone are employed, in order not to break off the stone, while are removed flakes for molding them, and a single hand is used for strike.
For the inner molding of the sculpture, that is in order to make concavities with removal of flakes of stone within the surface, it is necassary to use a chisel of wood or bone, and a striker, and are necessary two hands like in this drawing. We can see very well this twofold technique in the sculpture of Maribo (Fig. 5.17). (Drawing by A.Cestino on indications of P.Gaietto, 1974).



Fig. 3.18) Homo sapiens sapiens. Image of woman infered by sculptures of the final middle Paleolithic. (Drawing by A.Cestino on indications of P.Gaietto, 1974).



Fig. 3.19) Homo sapiens sapiens. Image created by sculptures of the end of middle Paleolithic.
(Drawing of A.Cestino on indications of P.Gaietto, 1974)



Fig. 3.20) Acromegalic Man. It is a disease that deforms the head.
We have put this subject in relation with some human types represented in sculpture (see Fig. 4.12 - 4,21 - 5.39- 5.40). The likeness is extraordinary, and for this we want to point out this observation, that can be useful for future searches.



Fig. 3,21) Hairdo in the African ethnography.
In the sculptures of heads of the final phase of the middle Paleolithic, and in the " Venus " of the middle and upper Paleolithic, pointed heads are frequent, which could be pointed hoods or hairdos.



Fig. 3.22) Homo sapiens sapiens. Burial of the Arene Candide, Finale Ligure, Italy.
The headdress of marine shells has some affinities with representations of heads of the upper Paleolithic, between which the Venus of Willendorf (Fig. 8.6).
Archaeological museum of Genova Pegli (Italy).



Fig. 3.23) Child with skull of the died relative. African ethnography .
This use, perhaps, finds a confirmation in the sculpture of Tiglieto (Liguria, Italy) (Fig. 8.2), that represents a Neanderthalian with the head applied to the back.




Fig. 3.24) Skull trophy of a head-hunter of Borneo.
In the ethnography the skull can be connected to the ritual of the enemy beated in battle, or to the cult of the died relative.
During the lower Paleolithic, a cult of the died relative had been in ipothesis, as a graet number of remains of skulls has been found . However, in the Paleolithic, a cult connected to the dimension of the head is indubitable, because the greater part of the sculptures represents heads.
In Paleolithic there are also hanging sculptures, that is hung as this skull (see Fig. 7,6,1 and Fig. 7.12).





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