Museum of the origins of Man

THE HEAD OF ANIMALS IN PALEOLITHIC SCULPTURE


Production of sculptures of animal heads is subdivided in 4 phases:
- 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),
Typology of the sculptures is constituted from the representation of heads of animals, the majority mammalians without the neck (Fig. 7,1).
Between 400.000 and 200.000 years the head is represented with the body in horizontal position and without limbs (Fig. 7.3).
In the lithic sculpture of the Paleolithic, mammals are represented without horns, tusks and ears.
It is probable that the religion of the painters of animals in the caves (Solutrean and Magdalenian) of the upper Paleolithic derives from the religion of makers of animal heads.
This type of sculpture in the Mousterian and in the upper Paleolithic represents also head of felines. At Dolni Vestonice, Moravia, Czechoslovakia, in the upper Paleolithic (Gravettian) heads of felines have been made in clay and have ears, what would have been impossible or difficult to realize with silex or hard stones.


clikka per ingrandire l'immagine

clikka per ingrandire l'immagine


Fig. 7,1) Zoomorphic lithic sculpture.
It represents a mammal head, perhaps a horse. Eyes are not represented, but it is perceived a generic orbital zone. The sculpture is obtained from a nodule of silex, of which the Place of Place of original shape has been used in part.We can desume it from the remaining rind, in the drawing represented by dots.
The stylistic deformation is interpreted, also, from the curving of the snout, with a own elegance. The working technique is constituted from resolute removals.
Size: lenght cm. 22.
Place of origin: Rodi Garganico, Foggia, Italy.
Material culture: Clactonian or ancient Acheulean.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


clikka per ingrandire l'immagine

Fig. 7.2) Zoomorphic lithic sculpture.
It represents a mammal head, perhaps an elephant, or a mammouth, as it has pointed nape, and snout inclined, folded on the right in tip like a trunk. It is obtained from a nodule of silex; it is worked from every side, and the only trace of rind (like is looked at in photography) is between the snout and the nape. The part under (base) is grooved, like other anthropomorhic sculptures, in order to put in relief the jaw.
Size: height cm. 9.
Place of origin: Rodi Garganico, Foggia, Italy.
Material culture: Clactonian or ancient Acheulean.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


clikka per ingrandire l'immagine

clikka per ingrandire l'immagine

Fig. 7.3) Zoomorphic lithic sculpture.
It represents a head of mammal with body and without limbs . It is one of the little sculptures of this type, and most ancient, that have been found. The working technique is exceptional, as the body is realized with great longitudinal removals on six sides (see cross-section in the drawing), while the head has a cross-section of five sides, with an accurate processing of the snout. This sculpture in silex is completely worked everywhere in the surface, that is, there is no rind trace.
Size: lenght cm. 6.5.
Place of origin: Rodi Garganico, Foggia, Italy.
Material culture: Clactonian or middle Acheulean.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


Fig. 7.4) Zoomorphic lithic sculpture.
It represents a mammal head, probably a fawn.Photography published by A.THIEULLEN in 1900. In this old photography the working traces are not looked at on the stone, so it is not possible to establish if the sculpture has been obtained from a nodule of silex accidentally zoomorphic, but retouched intentionally, or if it is a totally natural nodule, that is a FALSE. Errors of interpretation have been made by all the first archeologists, also with the lithic tools, and the human fossil remains.
A propensity for the FALSE finds confirmation in the typology of sculptures of heads of mammals of the lower Paleolithic, where neither the ears, neither the neck are represented; however we can not exclude that hominid, when founding zoomorphic nodules, could have used them, perfecting the shape with little retouches.But also making so, he left always the print of a typology, that today we know.
Size: perhaps height cm. 5 approximately.
Material culture: generically Clactonian or middle Acheulean


Fig. 7.5) Zoomorphic lithic sculptures.
They represent two heads of the family of stags, that very probably are FALSE. They have been published by E.HARROY in 1902.
Harroy has been a great scholar, and has compared more than 100,000 " stones figures ", an enormous job, involving inevitables ERRORS. This photography, old of 100 years, does not allow to understand the type of stone, neither to see the parts worked. Harroy attributes his findings to the middle and upper Paleolithic, but we believe that a good part is of the lower Paleolithic.
These sculptures (Stones figures) are much evocative, and our suspicion that they are FALSE bases on these deductions:
- in the years successive to these discoveries (that is until today), in the lower Paleolithic never lithic sculptures of heads of mammals with the horns have been found ; moreover, all the mammals are represented with the only head and without the neck, except they which have body without limbs.
- the Size that Harroy supplies of his numerous sculptures of the family of stags oscillate from 3 to 5 cm. of height, a standard of sculptures of silex too much small for being worked. Probably he has found some quarry with small nodules of silex, where he has operated great selections, collecting what seemed to him verisimilar.
It is important to see findings and the studies of the first researchers of sculptures of lower and middle Paleolithic, as there is much to discover, obviously, discarding the ERRORS that have been made.


clikka per ingrandire l'immagine

Fig. 7.6) Zoomorphic lithic hanging sculpture.
It represents a feline head, probably a lion, with holes (in correspondence of the eyes and the nostrils) predisposed for hanging them with ropes.
This head has the opened wide mouth, to represent the roar. Well proportioned to the reality, although the stylistic language deforms it a little, even if in elegant manner.
Used material is red travertino, therefore it is not possible to verify the totality of the worked surface, as in the nodules of silex. The jaw is much worked and well represented; the ears are represented also, but one is partially broken off, and is lacking.
Size: height cm. 30, lenght cm. 37.
Place of origin: Arma delle Manie, Finale Ligure, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: Mousterian.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.
Arma delle Manie is a great cavern that has been object of diggings in the layers of the middle and upper Paleolithic, in association with Ursus speleus. (Diggings G.Isetti 1963, 1964, 1965; O.Giuggiola 1967, and after occasionally until these last years by others archeologists). This cave always has been destination of scholars of the prehistory. This sculpture has been found in 1975 by P.Gaietto in the inside of the Arma delle Manie between " digging refuses "; it was in great evidence, but nobody of the archeologists assigned to the diggings, and no more others archeologists visitors, were shrewed about it. The explanation of this is in the disinterest of these archeologists for the art of lower and middle Paleolithic, unknown by them, and therefore they do not know to see it, on the place.


clikka per ingrandire l'immagine

Fig. 7.7) Zoomorphic lithic sculpture.
It represents a head of mammal with a long neck, that can have three interpretations: 1) to serve from support for a collocation in the ground, or between some stones; 2) lengthened for a stylistic fact, even if the head is proportioned to the reality; 3) representation of a seal, of which the head is similar, and in which the neck and part of the body are melted.
S.Pietro d' Olba is an half mountain locality, few kilometers far from the Mediterranean Sea, and at that time the seals were sure most numerous.
The representation of the head is " all round "; it has two eyes; in the zone of the nose there is a breach, and a piece is lacking. ( see photography: frontal view).
Size: lenght cm. 43.
Place of origin: S.Pietro d' Olba, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: upper Paleolithic.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


clikka per ingrandire l'immagine

Fig. 7.8) Zoomorphic lithic sculpture.
It represents a head of mammal without neck, perhaps a lion. It has some affinities with the great head of lion of Arma delle Manie (Fig. 7,6), for the general structure of the snout and the head; also the tip of the jaw is equal, but it differentiates in order to have the mouth closed.
Size: height cm. 4.
Place of origin: Grotta della Basura, Toirano, Savona, Italy.
Material culture: Mousterian or upper Paleolith.
Collection Museum of the Origins of Man.


Fig. 7.10) Zoomorphic sculpture in terracotta .
It represents a head of mammal, interpreted like a lioness. It differs from other sculptures of the same type for the representation of the ears. This happens for the new technique of working with the terracotta, modeled with the hands. These small sculptures in terracotta are an isolated episode of the upper Paleolithic ( at Dolni Vestonice 2,300 clay sculptures have been found).This will be interrupted for some thousand of years, and reinvented after the end of the Paleolithic; and it will be expanded all over the world for the fabrication of small sculptures, and above all for the pottery.
Size: lenght cm.6.
Place of origin: Dolni Vestinice, Moravia, Czechoslovakia.
Material culture: upper Paleolithic (Gravettian).


Fig. 7,11) Zoomorphic sculpture in bone. Discoverers defined it " skull "; we think that it is an artistic hybrid " life-death ", in how much the general representation is of a skull, but the ears are of " a living wolf".
Size: smallest, in how much it have been carved with a bone of the basin of a llama.
Place of origin: Tepexpan, Mexico.
Originating from an archaeological layer with mammoth rests; dated 10,000 years ago.
Material culture:probable civilization of the end of Paleolithic.

Fig. 7.12) Zoomorphic lithic sculptures. In France, where we have photographed them, a touristic guid supported that they are zoomorphic sculptures of the First Aurignacian. It is difficult to give a judgment, also about the stylistic language. These sculptures are defined " a anneau". Guides say that through those holes passed a rope and that the sculptures were hung; it is a hypothesis, but reliable.
Collocation: Sergeac, near the Fort Troglodytique des Anglais, Dordogne, France.
Material Culture : upper Paleolithic (Aurignacian I).





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