© Antropark 2006

Illustrations and text © Libor Balák

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Translated and modified by Vít Lang after discussions with the author.

This is the website of the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Archaeology in Brno, The Center for Paleolithic and Paleoethnological Research

 

THE AURIGNACIAN CULTURE  

The Era of the transitional cultures and the prominent European cultures of the Northern-type hunters.

42,000 – 27,500 years ago (37,000-23,000 radiocarbon years before present).

It is possible that some Aurignacian localities appeared at the end of the era of the transitional cultures. (It is not clear who the bearers of the transitional cultures such as the Szeletian or Chatelperronian were, whether the modern people or the Neanderthals.) The rise of the first pan-European culture, which was carried by the modern Homo sapiens, begins with the Early Upper Palaeolithic (41,000 - 35,000 years ago, 35,000 – 30,000 RCYBP). The findings of Moravia include both artefacts and bones (the Mladeč Cave, 36,000 years old, 31,000 RCYBP). The recent research underscored the pivotal place of the Mladeč site for understanding of the emergence of modern Homo sapiens in Europe. There is only one locality in Europe where older remains of modern people than those of Mladeč were unearthed – bone fractions from Pestera cu Oase in Romania, about 41,000 years old (35,000 RCYBP). Nevertheless, the Mladeč cave yielded an assemblage of bones of 5 or 6 persons and, what is even more notable, Mladeč is now the only Aurignacian locality in Europe, where human remains are directly connected with the bone and stone tools, ornaments and other artefacts.

 A typical Aurignacian site is 37-35,000 years old (32,000 – 30,000 RCYBP). There are also some older or younger Aurignacian sites, but they are rare. The map of the Gravettian sites of Moravia and Austria shows that the Gravettian people disappeared from Central Moravia 27,500 years ago (23,000 RCYBP). At the same time, they started to be more influenced by eastern cultures (the Kostenki-Willendorf culture). It is possible to imagine that the reason was the existence of post-Aurignacian people, who came to Central Moravia, and thus the Gravettian people opened a new passage to the East. Nevertheless, the eastern orientation could be also explained by changes caused by progressive cooling before the last glacial maximum.

A feline-man, a mythological being (a reconstructional transformation) 

The reconstructional transformation shows the oldest demonstration of a mythological object and mythological being at the same time (Hohlenstein-Stadel, Germany, more than 35,000 years old, 30,000 RCYBP).  

 

 

The Early Upper Palaeolithic outside Europe

Work in a mine (a reconstructional imitation)

Some 41,000 years ago (35,000 RCYBP), the first real stone mines appeared in Egypt (Nazlet Khater). Deep holes were dug up, sand and gravel were removed and raw stones were excavated from the bottom, where a large round space with a ledge emerged. The raw material was extracted through the central shaft. Pits that ran horizontally into a gentle hill slope were then dug from inside. Stones suitable for shaping were rare in the gravel or sand, and that is why mines appeared. Mines were quite common in the Palaeolithic. It is even possible that some of them were made by the Neanderthals (the Tata locality in Hungary).

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Illustrations © Libor Balák

Translated and modified by Vít Lang after discussions with the author.

© Antropark 2006