Museum of the Origins of Man


PALEOLITHIC THREE-DIMENSIONAL ART



HUMAN HEAD IN PALEOLITHIC SCULPTURE



The typology of human head is subdivided in 5 phases:
- from 2,500,000 to 750,000 years (Olduvaian)
- from 750,000 to 400,000 years (Acheulean and ancient Clactonian)
- from 400,000 to 200,000 years (Acheulean and middle Clactonian)
- from 200,000 to 40,000 years (Acheulean and recent Clactonian, and Mousterian)
- from 40,000 to 12,000 years (upper Paleolithic)
Remark on the datings: the Olduvaian in East Africa begins 2.500.000 years ago (absolute dating), while in the South Europe the beginning has been dated approximately 1,000,000 of years. In consideration that the Africans and Europeans artefacts are practically equal, and with most insufficient evolution in 1,500,000 years, we consider " conventionally " the parity of Africa and Europe; and we indicate the end of the Olduvaian with the arising of the Clactonian, which at Isernia La Pineta (Italy) has been dated 736,000 years.
This typology is constituted in the Olduvaian from the representation of the human head without neck (Fig. 4,1 ). The representation of the head with body (Fig. 4.18) comes subsequently.
In the upper Paleolithic sculptures of human feminine heads also appear. The human figure is present in Africa in the upper Paleolithic also in painting, conjonctly with zoomorphic figures, but it is not sure if it derives from the this typology.
The representation of the human head, if devoid of a strong stylistic deformation, represents the man that has produced it, and allows to establish also the human species; like as example, to distinguish Homo sapiens neanderthalensis from Homo sapiens sapiens.


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Fig. 4,1) Lithic sculpture. It represents the head of a hominid, probably Homo habilis.
Height cm. 4.5. Obtained from a pebble of silex.
Place of origin: S.Severo, Foggia, Italy.
Material culture: Olduvaian (Pebble Culture)
The head is represented without jaw, or perhaps the jaw is just pointed out; it has been found in secondary layer with lithic tools, it is a little damaged from alluvial tumbling.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.2) It represent the head of a hominid.
Height cm. 6. Obtained from a nodule of silex.
Place of origin: Rodi Garganico, Foggia, Italy.
Material culture: Olduvaian (Pebble Culture evolued).
The working concerns the face, the skullcap, and the posterior sides of the nape. The represented species of hominid seems to be near the Australopithecus robustus, and however to others hominids, that have preceded Homo erectus. The sculpture shows tumbling traces, but is not disfigured.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.3) Lithic sculpture. It represents the head of Homo erectus, type with prominent jaw.
Height cm. 9. Obtained from a green stone pebble.
Place of origin: Vesima, Genoa, Italy.
Material culture: Acheulean or ancient Clactonian.
We have no findings of skulls of Homo erectus with prominent jaw, but only sculptures (see Fig. 4.4 - 4.5 - 4.6 - 4.7). The type of stone, not too much hard, has allowed a working accurate in the particulars of the face. Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.4) Lithic Sculpture. It represent the head of Homo erectus, type with prominent jaw.
Height cm. 9. Obtained from a pebble of white stone.
Place of origin: Tortona, Alessandria, Italy.
Material culture: Acheulean or ancient Clactonian.
This sculpture is worked from every side, and is in relief, while behind is flat.
If view frontally, only half face is represented, that is there is a single eye. Not much damaged from alluvial tumbling.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.5) Lithic sculpture. It represents the head of a Homo erectus with prominent jaw.
Height cm. 7. Obtained from a pebble of green stone .
Place of origin: Vicenza, Italy.
Material culture: Acheulean or ancient Clactonian, or, perhaps, middle.
This sculpture is nearly semifrontal, in how much the chin is frontal, while the face and the head are worked only in half, because behind it is flat. The working under the nose seems to indicate the mouth. Under the jaw there is a socket, intentionally wanted. It has a stylistic deformation towards the horizontal lengthening. There is forehead absence, but the face prelude to the Pre-sapiens. Lightly disfigured from alluvial tumbling.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.6) Lithic Sculpture. It represents the head of Homo erectus with prominent jaw.
Height cm. 11.5. Obtained from a nodule of silex.
Place of origin: Rodi Garganico, Foggia, Italy.
Material culture: Acheulean or ancient Clactonian.
The workmanship is rough, due also to the hardness of the stone, but essential, in how much all the lateral profile of the head of Homo erectus with prominent jaw is well represented; and of remarkable relief also the cheekbone, in how much of great dimensions, even if artistically disproportionate.
The alluvial tumbling has not damaged the shape.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.



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Fig. 4.7) Lithic sculpture. It represents the head of Homo erectus with prominent jaw.
Lenght cm. 46. Obtained from a great nodule of silex.
Place of origin: Mouthiers, Charente, France.
Material culture: Acheulean or middle Clactonian.
The eye and the mouth are constituted from two natural recess of the nodule of silex, and probably this stone has been choiced purposely. The chin is carved like if the representation were frontal; it is sketched out from the two sides with great removals. The pointed nape is constituted from the original shape of the nodule of silex, perhaps, it has been choiced also for this, and can have a meaning that is unknown to us: a ritual hat? The mouth opened wide in the typology is interpreted like " scream ".
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.



Fig. 4.8) Lithic sculpture. It represents the head of a hominid.
Height: probably it is high approximately 15 cm., and this is deduced from the worked sides.
Place of origin: probably Valley of the Somme.
Material culture: Acheulean or middle Clactonian, or perhaps final.
This sculpture has been found by JACQUES BOUCHER DE PERTHES presumibly in the first half of the nineteenth century.
Technique of working: it is obtained from a nodule of silex empty inside. The worked sides that we can see in photography, are the increase of the larger eye; the increase of the mouth, where the removals are much clear in the sides and under, in correspondence of the zone of the chin. The opened wide mouth so large in our typology is interpreted like " scream ", it constitutes also a representation of " movement ", so, as a Taurus that jumps in the magdaleniana painting is " movement " .
Current placing: probably Musée des Antiquités Nationales de Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Paris).


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Fig. 4.9) Lithic Sculpture. It represents the head of a hominid with great opened wide mouth.
Size: Height cm. 23.5, width cm. 29, width cm. 18.5. The mouth is wide cm. 17 in the inside and cm. 7 in the tip of the jaw, and is deep cm. 11. Obtained from a large nodule of silex. Weight kg. 11.5.
Place of originrigin: Torrent Romandato, Rodi Garganico, Foggia, Italy.
Material culture: Acheulean or middle Clactonian, or perhaps recent.
The sculpture has been obtained from a nodule of silex, in which the cavity that constitutes the open mouth is part of the shape original of the nodule.
The strong expression has been interpreted in the typology like " scream ". The stylistic deformation is based, exactly, on the scream.
A study on this sculpture and others two similar, by Pietro Gaietto, (Fig. 4.7 and 4.10) entitled " The shout of Homo erectus " is published on " Paleolithic Art Magazine ",(2000).
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.10) Lithic sculpture. It represents the head of a hominid with opened wide mouth.
Size: Height cm. 8.5, lenght cm. 9, width cm. 5.5. Obtained from a nodule of silex. Weight kg. 0.340.
Place of origin: Spinacchi, Vico Garganico, Foggia, Italy.
Material culture: Acheulean or middle Clactonian, or, perhaps, recent.
The sculpture has been obtained from a nodule of silex, in which the cavity that constitutes the open mouth is part of the original shape of the nodule. It was worked at the two sides with clean removals. The tip of the jaw is worked with accuracy, like other sculptures of the same type that represent the scream.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


Fig. 4,11) Lithic sculpture. Human head in frontal view.
Size: height cm. 21. Found by WALTER MATTHES.
Place of origin: Wittenbergen, Northern Germany.
Material culture: Acheulean or recent Clactonian, perhaps Mousterian.
Rare type with face in frontal view. It has one eye closed and the other open. Of this type of representation there are two findings of the second millennium D.C. (Fig. 4A14 and 4A15).
Unknown location; perhaps near the son of W. Matthes.


Fig. 4.12) Lithic sculpture. It represents a head of acromegalic type.
Size: Height cm. 7.5. Found by WALTER MATTHES.
Place of origin: Sulldorf, Northern Germany.
Material culture: Mousterian (opinion of W.Matthes), but perhaps upper Paleolithc. see other acromegalic types: Fig. 3.20 - 4,21 - 5.39 - 5.40.
Unknown location: perhaps near the son of W. Matthes.


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Fig. 4.13) Lithic sculpture. It represents a head of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis .
Place of origin: Voltri, Genoa, Italy.
Material culture: Mousterian.
The sculpture is in relief in the side that is shown in photography, behind is flat. It has had tumbling, but is not disfigurated.
The high part of the skullcap is probably a hat, also because it thins out upwards.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.14) Lithic sculpture. It represents a head of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis with neck, and look upwards .
Size: Height cm. 15. It is worked in both the sides, almost full-relief. It has a pointed nape. It is a classic Neanderthalian.
Place of origin: Valle del Vero, Toirano, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: Mousterian.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.15) Lithic sculpture. It represents a head of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, probably a woman, it has the neck, and a pointed hood or a pointed hairdo, and look upwards.
Size: Height cm. 14.
Place of origin: Grotta delle Capre, Monte Circeo, Latina, Italy.
Material Mousterian culture, perhaps posterior.
The face is proportionate in the dimensions and thickness. The pointed hood and the neck thin. Behind it is flat.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.16) Lithic Sculpture. It represents a head of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, probably a woman; it has a neck, that is nearly a bust, and a pointed hood or a pointed hairdo, and look upwards.
Size: Height cm.10.
Origin: S.Pietro d' Olba, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: Mousterian.
The setting up of the sculpture is nearly semifrontal, but behind it is flat. It has pointed lips, like in others two Neanderthalian heads (Fig. 4.17 and 5.20). Just for the lips, it can be assumed that they are representations of women.
The sculptures of pointed heads represent almost all Neanderthalians.We cannot know if they are males or females.They are attributed to the Mousterian, and perhaps to the first millennia of the upper Paleolithc. The hypothesis that these pointed heads are feminine, is based on the feminine statuines (Venus), with the same type of head, and the same hairdo or pointed hood.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.17) Lithic Sculpture. It represents a head of Homo sapiens sapiens neanderthalensis, interpreted as a young woman.
Size: Height cm. 57. It is the greatest Paleolithic woman head known
Place of origin: Pianpaludo, S.Pietro d'Olba, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: Mousterian.
The face is well modeled, and has a stylistic deformation, that makes the eye of the young woman particularly elegant. The neck is robust, and also the paleoanthropologists say that Homo sapiens neanderthalensis was more robust and strong than Homo sapiens sapiens.
This sculpture, with a high and beautiful relief, behind is flat as others, and it is possible that its positioning was horizontal on the ground, but also is probable that the neck was used for fixing it in the ground for giving to it the vertical position.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.18) Lithic Sculpture. Human figure with look up. Size: Height cm. 20.
Place of origin: Pole, S. Pietro d' Olba, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: Mousterian, perhaps beginning upper Paleolithc.
It represents a neanderthalian, also for the large and short neck. It has the chin, therefore it could be a recent Neanderthalian. The body, except the legs, are represented. The entire arm is raised. Thickness cm. 5; behind is flat.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.19) Lithic Sculpture. It represents a head of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis without neck.
Size: Height cm. 7.2.
Carved on a pebble of red silex.
Place of origin: Senigallia, Ancona, Italy.
Material culture: Mousterian, but perhaps previous.
The setting of the head is semifrontal.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


Fig. 4.20) Lithic Sculpture. It represents a head of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.
Size: Height cm. 11 approximately. The sculpture has been found and designed in 1931 by PHILIPPE HELENA; he had attributed the fabrication of it to Neanderthal Man.
Origin: Great Cave of Bize, Narbonne, France.
Material culture: Mousterian.
The sculpture has semifrontal setting, and has been designed in semifrontal and lateral view.
Unknow collocation, perhaps at the Archaeological Museum of Narbonne.


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Fig. 4,21) Lithic Sculpture. It represents a human head with chin and without forehead
Size: height cm.18. The sculpture, very well modeled, is obtained from a large fragment of rock, and is carved only from a side. It could also be an incomplete sculpture, from which a second head had to be gained, in order to make a two-faced sculpture.
Place of origin: S.Pietro d' Olba, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: Mousterian or upper Paleolithc.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.22) Lithic sculpture. It represents a human head without the neck. Strong stylistic deformation in ironic sense, deduced from the large nose.
Size: Height cm. 12.
Place of origin: Tortona, Alessandria, Italy.
Material culture: Mousterian, but perhaps previous.
It comes from an ancient alluvium of the Scrivia Torrent; it is damaged, as there are no more external traces of working. But the traces are present in the recess that constitute the orbitale zone and the mouth. The human type seems an archaic Homo sapiens, but it does not have chin, and the forehead is little. The style lengthens the head vertically.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.23) Lithic sculpture .It represents a human head without neck, and with a pointed hood.
Size: Height cm. 16.
Place of origin: Tiglieto, Genoa, Italy.
Material culture, perhaps upper Paleolithc.
The represented human type seems a Homo sapiens sapiens of archaic type, but however we do not forget that the varieties of Homo sapiens sapiens must have been many, as today they are many more. An equal type is found in an anthropomorhic menhir of Carnac: they have in common great nose, pointed hood or the hair, if woman; the chin, and the style lengthened vertically, even if proportionate to the real.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.




Fig. 4.24) Sculpture in ivory. Feminine head with hairdo as the " nubianan ".
Size: Height cm. 4; the face is high cm. 1.5 approximately.
Place of origin: Brassempouy, France.
Material Culture: Aurignacian-Perigordian.
The execution of the face is influenced from the Mousterian tradition, as lateral profile is executed better than the frontal, without mouth. Same type of hairdo to the " nubian " of the neanderthalian woman (Fig. 5.32) represented in the two-faced sculpture of Balzi Rossi, joined to a Homo sapiens sapiens.


Fig. 4.25) Sculpture in mammouth ivory. Feminine head with hairdo with fastening.
Size: Height cm. 4.8. Origin: Dolni Vestonice, Moravia, Czechoslovakia.
Material culture: Gravettian.
The representation is elegant, and the stylistic deformation increases the nape, and tightens the face from the top towards the chin. It is lacking of ears and neck, and has the look towards the bottom. Hairs, that widen the nape, seem binded up. A similar hairdo is found in the two-faced sculpture of the Grotta di Toirano (Fig. 5.30), where also the human type is similar.


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Fig. 4.26) Lithic Sculpture. It represents a human head with neck and hat or hairdo .
Size: Height cm. 46. Working is in the side photographed, behind is flat.
Place of origin: Vara, S.Pietro d'Olba, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: upper Paleolithc, and perhaps Mousterian.
The represented human type could be a woman, both because not bearded, and because the hats come down from the nape, and are putting in relief in the sculpture, like shown in the drawing. However, the men of the Mousterian or the upper Paleolithc, as the greater carved part of the heads is without beard, could very well to shave the beard, like still today in many zones of the East, snatching the hairs one after the other, ignoring the razor intentionally.
The re-entering face of this sculpture has a reply in an anthropomorhic menhir of Carnac.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.



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Fig. 4.27) Lithic Sculpture. It represents a human head in frontal view. Behind it is flat.
Size: Height cm. 33.
Place of origin: Andora, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: Mousterian or upper Paleolithc.
Found in the gravel bed of a torrent, it has signs of tumbling, that however are not disfigurant. This type of frontal representation is rare, and the stylistic deformation inclines to the essential, and not to the imitation of a head.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.



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Fig. 4.28) Lithic sculpture. It represents a head of Homo sapiens sapiens, with beard and hairs, without neck and behind flat.
Size: Height cm. 24.
Place of origin: Palo, S. Pietro d' Olba, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: upper Paleolithc.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4.29) Lithic Sculpture. It represents a head of Homo sapiens sapiens with neck.
Size: Height cm. 27.
Place of origin: S.Pietro d'Olba, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: upper Paleolithc.
Worked from two sides, it is nearly a frontal representation. This type of sculpture, with high and robust neck, is present in several anthropomorphic menhirs at Carnac, with several types of Homo sapiens sapiens.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


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Fig. 4,30) Lithic sculpture. It represents a bearded head with body.
Size: Height cm. 7.5.
Place of origin: Tiglieto, Genoa, Italy.
Material culture: upper Paleolithc.
Eye,nose and moustaches are clearly represented; for the beard, there are light recordings. On the height of the mouth a diamond with two lines is recorded. One arm, but not the legs are represented. Behind it is flat.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.




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