Stone Age Culture
A-Z Fact sheet and glossary
- Aboriginal rock art
Any art created on stone surfaces by indigenous peoples of the Australian mainland and its islands.
- Abri Castanet
Vézère Valley, France. Dordogne rock shelter noted for its Stone Age engravings on a collapsed ceiling, along with paintings of horses and some abstract symbols. Dates to 35,000 BC.
- Abri Cellier
Vézère Valley, France. Dordogne rock shelter noted for rock engraving of an ox, dated by molecular filtration and Hydroxyproline 14C to 36,000 BC.
- Abri de Laussel
Dordogne, France. Famous for its bas-relief sculpture known as the Venus of Laussel (Venus with a Horn), dating to 23,000 BC.
- Abri du Poisson
Vézère Valley, Dordogne. Most famous for its bas-relief carving of a salmon, dating to 23,000 BC. Fish were rarely depicted during the Upper Paleolithic.
- Abstract Signs & Symbols
A common form of parietal (cave) art, but also seen outdoors and on portable carvings. There are 32 main types. The first pictographs were made by Neanderthals around 65,000 BC. The earliest known sign is a scalariform at La Pasiega Cave, Cantabria, dated to 62,000 BC.
- Acheulean industry
Lower Paleolithic archaeological tool industry (type-site: Saint-Acheul, France), associated with H. ergaster in Africa, H. erectus in the Middle East and Asia. It was an extremely widespread and long-lived Mode 2 tool technology. The Early Acheulean lasted from 1.76 mya to 600,000 years ago; the Late Acheulean, associated with H. heidelbergensis, ran from 600,000 to 200,000 years ago.
- Addaura Cave Engravings
Monte Pellegrino, Sicily. World famous for its unique engraving of an apparent ritualistic sacrifice, featuring more than a dozen human figures, most of whom are dancing in a circle around the victims. Engraved as the Upper Paleolithic gave way to the Mesolithic, around 10,000 BC.
- Ahmarian tool industry
Upper Paleolithic archeological culture (type-site: Erq el-Ahmar rock shelter, Israel) which appeared in the Middle East between 44,000 and 40,000 BC.
- Aitzbitarte Caves
Cantabria, Spain. The three caves - Aitzbitarte III, V and IX - are noted for their engraved drawings of horses, bison, oxen and birds, executed in a style known previously only in France but not in Spain. Dates to 25,000 BC.
- Altamira Cave
A significant centre of Stone Age culture on the Iberian Peninsula. It was the first great site of Franco-Cantabrian art to be discovered, and the first cave to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Decorated in phases, its oldest cave painting is a red claviform sign which dates to 34,000 BC. However, the cave is best known for its multi-coloured bison ceiling created during the Magdalenian period from 15,000 BC.
- Altxerri Cave
Basque Country, Spain. Contains Europe's oldest animal paintings (half of which are bison), dating to about 37,000 BC. Also noted for its Magdalenian engravings and a number of human-like figures.
- Ancient Pottery Timeline
Dates and chronology of all major styles of ancient pottery.
- Apollo 11 Cave Paintings
Huns Mountains, SW Namibia. Famous for having the oldest animal paintings in Africa - charcoal and ochre on small slabs of quartzite - dating to 25,500 BC.
The study of sound resonance in paleolithic caves.
- Archaeology: Prehistoric/Ancient
The study of human activity in the distant past, via the recovery, dating and analysis of artifacts, including fossilized bones, stone tools, minerals and other materials found buried in middens. Has close links with paleoarchaeology, paleoanthropology and paleontology. See also: Archaeology Glossary.
- Ardales Cave Painting
Málaga, Spain. Noted for its collection of 1,000 painted images, including red and black drawings of animals (like the Great Black Deer), abstract symbols and hand stencils. However, Ardales is best known for its primitive Neanderthal paintwork (lines of red ochre) - uranium-thorium dated to at least 63,000 BC, which places them among the oldest art in Europe.
- Atxurra Cave
Basque Country, Spain. Noted for its engraved drawings of horses and bison dating to 12,500 BC - most accentuated with black or red pigment.
- Auditorium Cave Cupules
Bhimbetka, India. Famous for its Stone Age cupules, dating to between 200,000 and 700,000 years ago.
- Aurignac Cave
Haute-Garonne, France. The type site of the Aurignacian culture, the earliest known culture associated exclusively with Cro-Magnon modern humans in western Eurasia. Dates to 35,000 BC.
- Aurignacian culture
Upper Paleolithic archeological culture (type-site: Aurignac Cave) introduced by Cro-Magnons and associated with two unique examples of Stone Age art: namely, the Chauvet Cave paintings of lions, rhinoceroses, horses and bison; and the extraordinary ivory sculpture known as the Lion Man of Hohlenstein Stadel. The Aurignacian was a Mode 4 tool industry which lasted from roughly 40,000 to 30,000 BC. At the beginning of the Aurignacian, H. sapiens also introduced sophisticated cave painting to the islands of Indonesia in SE Asia, producing the world's first figurative paintings in Sulawesi and Borneo.
The principal ancestral species for the Homo genus, whose name is Latin for southern ape, it possessed both ape-like and human-like traits, and is believed to be the first stone tool maker. It lived from about 4.2 million years ago (mya) to 1.9 mya.
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- Barandiarán, José Miguel de
Famous Basque anthropologist and ethnographer (1889-1991).
- Baume-Latrone Cave
Sainte-Anastasie, Gard. Noted for its unique clay paintings drawn with the fingers. Includes pictures of a lion surrounded by several mammoths and a rhinoceros. Dates to 35,500 BC.
- Bédeilhac Cave
Ariège, France. Noted for its black and red animal paintings, as well as its unusual 'clay paintings' and finger fluting. Dates to 14,000 BC.
- Bednarik, Robert G. (b.1944)
A world expert in Lower Paleolithic rock art, notably cupules.
- Cave of the Bees
Matopos, Zimbabwe. Neolithic site noted for its animal rock paintings, dating to 8,500 BC.
- Bernifal Cave
Petite Beaune Valley, Dordogne. Cave highlights include: a rare engraved drawing of a pregnant mare; an engraved panel of tectiforms on several mammoths, dating to 12,000 BC.
- Bhimbetka rock paintings
Madhya Pradesh, India. In addition to the cupules in the Auditorium Cave, Bhimbetka is also famous for its Neolithic rock art (featuring painted scenes of hunting and dancing), which dates to 9,000 BC.
Stone Age flake tool, obtained from a stone core, that is modified or retouched on both sides.
- Bilzingsleben Engravings
Engraved elephant tibia dating to the Acheulean culture. Second oldest engraving in history after the Trinil Shell engravings.
Prehistoric cutting tool made from a flake whose length is at least twice its width, with parallel edges. Blades measuring more than about 45 mm in length are referred to as macroblades; those less than 12 mm are known as microblades.
- Blombos Cave Drawing
Blombos Cave is one of the most important centres of Stone Age culture in South Africa. World famous for a cache of ancient artifacts, including the world's oldest known drawing (71,000 BC) by early African H. sapiens, and an ochre workshop. See also, Klasies River Caves and Pinnacle Point Cave.
- Brandberg rock paintings
Brandberg Massif, Namibia. Neolithic engraved drawings from the San culture, dating to 2,000 BC.
- Breuil, Henri (1877-1961)
Famous French archaeologist and prehistorian.
- Bruniquel Cave Structures
Neanderthal cave in Occitanie, France, noted for its two ring-shaped speleothem constructions, containing 400 stalagmite pieces (speleofacts) weighing over 2 tons and assembled 175,000 years ago. Is it the world's oldest installation art?
Specialized flake tools with sharp, chisel-like tips, typically hafted onto a handle. Modern humans used them to create rock engravings, and to carve wood, bone, ivory and antler.
- Burrup/Murujuga Rock Art
Includes over 1 million petroglyphs, dating back to 30,000 BC, spread over 2,300 sites across the Dampier Archipelago, home, of the indigenous Jaburara people. The region also has a large concentration of megalithic art, similar to European menhirs.
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- Cap Blanc Frieze
Beune Valley, Dordogne. A 13-metre limestone frieze of relief sculpture, created about 13,000 BC. An important benchmark for Magdalenian rock carving.
- Carnac Stones
Carnac, Brittany. An arrangement of stone alignments, dolmens and tumuli comprising some 4,000 megaliths of weathered granite. Carnac is one of the world's largest sites of megalithic rock art. Dates to 4,500-3,300 BC.
- Cathole Cave
Gower Peninsula, Wales. Home to the oldest art in the UK - a small stylized engraving of a reindeer – dating to 12,500 BC.
Proto-city and centre of Neolithic art on the southern Anatolian Plateau, Turkey.
- Cave Art
Includes Stone Age paintings and rock engravings, as well as relief sculpture. Parietal art began with early modern humans in Africa, around 100,000 years ago. As these moderns migrated out of Africa, they took their cognitive and cultural toolkit with them, and by about 40,000 BC they were producing figurative animal paintings in SE Asia as well as Europe. Outstanding sites of prehistoric cave art include: Chauvet Pont D'Arc in the Ardèche; Lascaux in the Périgord; and Altamira in northern Spain. Superb engravings can be seen at Trois Frères Cave in the Ariège, while Stone Age relief sculpture is exemplified by the bison reliefs next door at Tuc D'Audoubert Cave.
- Cave Painting
Includes abstract and figurative paintings. Abstract signs are detailed above, while figurative works depicted mainly animals, with some hand stencils and a tiny handful of human figures. No landscape or 'genre scenes' were produced. Animal images included black paintings, made with charcoal, burnt bone or manganese (examples: Chauvet, Niaux Cave); and multi-coloured paintings made with bone black, ground calcite, and various ochres (examples: Lascaux, Altamira, Font-de-Gaume, Ekain Cave).
- Châtelperronian culture
Proposed Upper Palaeolithic tool industry (type-site: La Grotte des Fées, Châtelperron), supposedly introduced by Neanderthals in central and southwestern France, as well as in Northern Spain, between 43,000 and 38,000 BC.
- Chauvet Pont d'Arc Cave
Ardèche, France. A world famous centre of Stone Age culture, featuring charcoal drawings by Cro-Magnons, dating to 34,500 BC. Highlights include the Panel of Lions and Rhinoceroses, and the Horse Panel. Abstract signs abound, including finger tracings.
Hand tool with a bevelled cutting edge at one end, used for cutting or carving, often in conjunction with a hammerstone.
The first widespread Stone Age tool. Choppers are spherical stones with an irregular edge that acts as a chopping blade. The chopper is the diagnostic tool of Oldowan culture, made by Homo habilis during the earliest toolmaking phase.
- Chufín Cave
Cantabria, Spain. Contains a number of paintings and engravings of bison, horses, deer, and goats, mostly dating to the late Solutrean or early Magdalenian, around 16,000 BC.
- Clottes, Jean (b.1933)
French prehistorian, and authority on Upper Paleolithic art.
- Coa Valley rock art
Portugal. The valley features over 5,000 rock carvings of aurochs, bison, deer, horses and ibex. The largest collection of outdoor rock engravings in Europe. Dates back to 28,000 BC.
- Coliboaia Cave Art
Apuseni Natural Park, Romania. Contains the oldest parietal art in Central or Eastern Europe - eight charcoal drawings carbon dated to the late Aurignacian, around 30,000 BC.
A stone from which pieces (flakes) are knapped to make tools.
- Cosquer Cave
Marseille, France. Now mainly flooded by a rising Mediterranean - had it remained dry, it would contain 800 animal images alone - comparable to Lascaux or Altamira. A major cultural centre dating back to the Gravettian culture, around 25,000 BC.
- Cougnac Cave
Lot, France. Best known for its two images of wounded men - one with three spears sticking in him, the other with seven. Also noted for a frieze of red ochre animal paintings, and several strange aviform signs (Placard signs). Dates to 23,000 BC - the coldest period of the Ice Age.
- Covalanas Cave
Cantabria, Spain. Noted for its red ochre animal paintings featuring stippled outlines (made with the fingers). It also has a quantity of geometric symbols, red and black dots, and lines. All its parietal art was created between 18,000 and 12,000 BC.
- Creswell Crags
The Midlands, UK. The most northerly Ice Age art in Europe, consisting of animal and bird engravings located in Church Hole Cave, and dating to around 10,800 BC.
The first species of modern Homo sapiens to be identified in Europe, from remains found at the Cro-Magnon rock shelter in the French Dordogne. They arrived in Europe no later than 54,000 BC, and rapidly supplanted the indigenous Neanderthals who became extinct about 37,000 BC. Cro-Magnons were more advanced than Neanderthals, a superiority clearly shown by their sophisticated cave art, as well as their stone tools and specialist bone, ivory and antler toolkits. It is not known exactly when Cro-Magnons became extinct, but probably they were gradually absorbed into later variants of modern humans.
- Cromlech of Almendres
Évora, Portugal. Largest arrangement of menhirs on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the largest in the whole of Europe. The petroform complex contains 95 granite monoliths, ten percent of which are decorated with engraved drawings. Dates to 6,000 BC.
- Cueva de las Manos
Patagonia, Argentina. The 'Cave of Hands' is world famous for its collages of hand stencils and other handprints, dating to 7,300 BC.
An important feature of Stone Age culture. Cupules are non-utilitarian cup-shaped hollows made in a natural rock surface by hitting it with a hammerstone. They are found on all continents except Antarctica, and are believed to date from around 2 million years ago.
- Cussac Cave
Vézère Valley, Dordogne. Noted for its Gravettian engravings of bison, mammoths, rhinoceros, horses, ibexes and geese, as well as an unknown creature with an open mouth and elongated snout. Dates to 26,500 BC.
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- Dabous Giraffe Engravings
Agadez, Niger. These two enormous rock carvings of giraffes - some 6 metres tall - incised into the Dabous Rock, are the largest known animal engravings in the world. The immediate area also features over 700 engraved drawings of other animals, including elephants, antelopes, crocodiles and cattle. Associated with Tuareg Culture, the rock carvings date to 6,000-4,000 BC.
- Daraki-Chattan Rock Shelter
Located near Bhanpura, India. Famous for its large collection of cupule rock art, dating to between 200,000 and 700,000 years ago.
- Dating Methods in Archaeology
Techniques used to determine relative and absolute dates for fossils, artifacts, and other materials.
Stone debris left over from flint-knapping of a core during the manufacture of stone tools.
Species of Stone Age humans (now extinct) named after the Denisova Cave in Russia where the first fossils (teeth) were found. Lived between 500,000 and 30,000 BC.
- Deux-Ouvertures Cave
Ardèche, France. Best known for its rock engravings of mammoths, aurochs, bison and ibexes, plus an indistinct figure similar to The Sorcerer in Gabillou Cave. Dates to 26,500 BC.
- Diepkloof Rock Shelter
Western Cape, South Africa. Noted for two dozen ostrich eggshells engraved with geometric crosshatch motifs about 60,000 BC. See also, Blombos Cave and Pinnacle Point Cave.
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- East Kalimantan Caves
A significant site of Stone Age culture in Borneo, Indonesia. World famous for a 2-metre long reddish-orange painting of a wild cow, wounded by a spear (38,000 BC), and for a hand stencil (37,400 BC), discovered at Lubang Jeriji Saleh Cave, located in remote jungle in East Kutai. The animal image is the third oldest animal painting in the world, after the warty pigs on Sulawesi. Other decorated caves in the area include: Lubang Ham, Liang Karim and Liang Tewet, as well as the more easterly Liang Sara and Liang Banteng.
- Ekain Cave
Basque Country, Spain. Famous for its sublime paintings in the 'Great Panel of Horses', sating to 12,000 BC. They were described by the French archaeologist André Leroi-Gourhan as "the most perfect group of horses in Quaternary art".
- Elands Bay Cave
Western Cape, South Africa. Noted for its collages of hand stencils dating to 4,000 BC.
- El Castillo Cave
Monte Castillo, Cantabria, Spain. Best known for its red ochre dots or disks, one of which dates to at least 39,000 BC. Other highlights include the engraved horses in the Rotunda chamber, and the famous 'Bison-man'.
Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France. Contains a variety of engravings and paintings, as well as cruciforms and circle signs. Part of the Isturitz Cave complex, inhabited by H. neanderthalensis and then H. sapiens, between 80,000 and 10,000 BC.
- Estuarine painting
A Neolithic style of Australian Aboriginal painting associated with Ubirr rock art in the Northern Territory. Features an X-ray style of drawing showing the internal anatomical details of humans and animals.
- Finger Fluting
Term invented by Robert G. Bednarik, to describe prehistoric finger markings in clay or soft rock. Also known as digital tracings or 'macaroni'.
A fragment of stone that has been detached from a stone core.
A key process in Stone Age culture. It involves the shaping of a stone core through the process of lithic reduction (striking the core with another stone in order to detach pieces or 'flakes') in order to make a stone tool.
- Font de Gaume Cave
Beune Valley, Dordogne. A highlight of Magdalenian painted engravings. Famous works include: The Leaping Horse, The Licking Reindeer, and the Bison frieze. Dates to 14,000 BC.
- Franco-Cantabrian Art
Includes paintings, engravings
and sculpture from paleolithic caves in the region of southwestern France and northern Spain.
- Fumane Cave Paintings
Lessini Hills, Italy. Fumane is well known for its ancient animal paintings, including a weasel, a strange five-legged creature, and a humanoid Shaman wearing a mask with horns. Dates to 34,500 BC.
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- Gabillou Cave
Isle Valley, Dordogne. Home to 200 engraved images of horses, reindeer, bison, ibex, bears, birds, and rabbits. Best known for two petroglyphs: the 'Sorcerer' and the 'Hare'. Dates to 13,000 BC.
- Gargas Cave
Hautes-Pyrénées, France. Best known for its large quantity of hand stencils in red and black, many of which look deformed. Also has more than 100 animal engravings. Highlights are the Panel of the Great Bull and the Panel of the Mammoths. Dates to the coldest years of the Ice Age, around 25,000 BC.
- Gavrinis Passage Tomb
Brittany, France. Neolithic passage tomb noted for its megalithic art, including spiral engravings on stone slabs, dating to around 3,000 BC.
- Gobekli Tepe
The world's earliest religious sanctuary, in Urfa province, Turkey. Contains the
oldest megalithic architecture and art. A strange and unique hunter-gatherer sanctuary from the Early Neolithic.
- Gorham's Cave
Gibraltar. Neanderthal cave best known for its crosshatch engraving, dated by accelerator mass spectrometry to 37,000 BC. Whether it was incised by Neanderthals or Homo sapiens is still being debated.
- Gouy Cave
Normandy, France. Most northerly of French paleolithic caves, it is noted for its numerous finely and deeply incised animal drawings, including an engraving of a stampede of horses, a rare drawing of a bird, and numerous claviforms, triangles, and crosshatch motifs. Dates to 12,000 BC.
- Grande Grotte Arcy-sur-Cure
Yonne, France. Noted for its collection of almost 300 paintings of mammoths, lions, bears and rhinos. Highlights include a giant Megaloceros, and several rare examples of fish (notably, pike). Many animal pictures are decorated with dots, rods, scrolls, and other abstract signs, including several shapes similar to 'Spanish tectiforms'. Dates to 26,700 BC.
- Gravettian Culture
Upper Paleolithic archeological culture (type-site: La Gravette) associated with the cave art at Pech Merle, Cougnac Cave and Roucadour in the French Lot, the engravings at Roucadour and Cussac Cave, as well as the continent-wide series of venus sculptures exemplified by the Venus of Willendorf. It witnessed the Last Glacial Maximum of the Ice Age, and lasted from 30,000 to 20,000 BC.
- Gwion Gwion rock paintings
Aka Kiro Kiro or Kujon (previously known as Bradshaws), is a form of Kimberley rock art from the north-west region of Western Australia. The paintings - most of which date to around 10,000 BC - typically depict human figures decorated with accessories such as tassels, bags and headdresses. Other figures are known as 'elegant action' and 'clothes-peg' figures.
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- Hall of the Bulls
One of the most famous chambers of prehistoric cave painting, located at Lascaux Cave.
The defining tool of Acheulean culture, and the most widespread and longest-serving stone tool in the paleolithic toolkit. Not unlike a chopper, except it is flatter and shaped on both sides with a longer, more even cutting edge. They were multi-purpose implements, used for scraping animal hides, as well as breaking bones and chopping up carcasses.
A so-called positive handprint is the imprint left behind after a painted palm and fingers are placed flat against a rock surface.
- Hand Stencils
A negative handprint is the outline left behind after liquid pigment is sprayed over a hand placed flat against a rock surface.
The present geological epoch which began after the Pleistocene, in 10,000 BC.
A group of Stone Age humans consisting of pre-homo species, like australopithecines; extinct human species, and modern humans. The category of 'hominins' is narrower than the old category of hominids, which also included the Pongo, Gorilla, and Pan genera of great apes.
- Homo habilis
The first Homo species (now extinct) who lived from 2.8 mya to 1.6 mya. Linked to Oldowan culture, it was thought to be the first to make stone tools until recent evidence dated tool-making back to 3.3 mya. Believed to have migrated out of Africa as far as Georgia in the Caucasus.
- Homo erectus
A very broad species (now extinct) who survived a very long time from 2 mya to 120,000 years ago. Migrated out of Africa to the Middle East, East Asia and SE Asia. H. erectus is associated with Acheulean tool culture.
- Homo ergaster
Currently viewed as the African branch of Homo erectus, the core group of this species lived in Africa between 1.9 and 1.4 mya, although experts have detected anatomical continuity in fossils from 2 mya to 600,000 BC. Like H. erectus, it is linked to the Acheulean tool industry.
- Homo heidelbergensis
Human species (now extinct) that originated in Africa perhaps as early as 900,000 years ago. The latest DNA evidence indicates H. heidelbergensis left Africa about 600,000 years ago and then split into two groups. One group went north into West Asia and Europe and eventually became H. Neanderthalensis. The other group moved northeast, and eventually became Denisovans. Those who stayed in Africa eventually evolved into modern humans.
- Homo neanderthalensis
A human species that settled across the northern hemisphere, from Britain to China. It lived between 400,000 and 37,000 BC, and co-existed with modern humans (H. sapiens) in Europe for at least 17,000 years. Neanderthals also had larger brains than any other human species, and could think abstractly. They introduced Levallois flint-knapping and produced the first cave art (painted signs and stalagmites). The species proved unable to compete with the more advanced modern humans who arrived in Europe about 54,000 BC, and became extinct about 37,000 BC.
- Homo sapiens
The only surviving species of the Homo genus. An archaic variant emerged in Africa around 300,000 years ago, followed by a modern variant about 160,000 years ago. The latter migrated out of Africa around 100,000 years ago, arriving in China by 80,000 BC, Australia by 65,000 BC, and Europe by 54,000 BC. Archaeogenetics evidence shows that the entire global population is currently descended from this modern variant of H. sapiens, although a small degree of inter-breeding with indigenous populations is recorded in gene profiles around the world.
Hunter-Gatherers hunted game and fished, while simultaneously foraging for edible plants, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Prior to the Neolithic, all hominins were hunter-gatherers.
- Isturitz, Oxocelhaya and Erberua Caves
Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France. Famous for its prehistoric flutes (30,000 BC). Other highlights include engravings and numerous abstract symbols including quadrangles, dots and lines. The complex also includes Oxocelhaya and Erberua caves. Inhabited between 80,000 and 10,000 BC.
- Kapova Cave
Bashkortostan, Russia. Home of Russia's oldest cave painting, Kapova is noted for its red ochre mammoths (and horses), dating to around 14,500 BC. But its paintings are much younger than some of Russia's mobiliary art, like the venus figurines of Kostenki (22,500 BC).
- Klasies River Caves
On the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Housed a series of linear rock engravings, dating to more than 100,000 years ago, which are among the oldest known art in Africa. See also, Blombos Cave and Pinnacle Point Cave.
- Knowth Passage Tomb
Knowth Passage Tomb is the largest of all Neolithic tombs found at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Brú na Bóinne in Ireland. It is world famous for its megalithic rock carvings.
- Koonalda Cave
South Australia. Limestone sink-hole famous for its huge collection of finger fluting (digital tracings) and stick markings located below the burning heat of the Nullarbor Plain. Dates to 18,000 BC.
- Krapina Eagle Jewellery
Neanderthal decorative art made at the Krapina rock shelter, Hušnjakovo Hill, Croatia, dating to 130,000 years ago.
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- Labastide Cave
Hautes-Pyrénées, France. Includes Grotte Blanche, Porche de la Perte and the decorated Grotte des Chevaux. Best known for its Magdalenian cave art, as well as numerous abstract symbols including the rare aviform sign. Dates to 13,000 BC.
- La Ferrassie Cave
Vézère Valley, Dordogne. Famous for its Mousterian cupules (c.60,000 BC) as well as its animal rock engravings dating to the Gravettian culture between 30,000 and 26,000 BC.
- La Garma Cave
Cantabria, Spain. Noted for its collection of red ochre animal paintings, some geometric signs, negative handprints and various portable carvings. The art was created in two main phases: the first around 24,000 BC (Gravettian); the second about 13,000 BC (Magdalenian).
- La Gravette
Rock shelter in the Couze Valley, Dordogne. The archaeological type site of the Gravettian culture. Best known for its collection of stone tools. Dates to 28,000 BC.
- La Madeleine
Rock shelter in the Dordogne, France. The archaeological type site of the Magdalenian culture. Also noted for its animal carvings, like the Creeping Hyena and Bison Licking its Side made about 13,000 BC.
- La Pasiega Cave
Monte Castillo, Cantabria, Spain. Best known for its scalariform symbol, dating to 62,000 BC (the oldest abstract sign in Europe), La Pasiega actually contains more prehistoric art than any cave in Spain: a total of 700 different images, almost half of which are abstract symbols, including: dots, claviforms, polygonals, and Spanish tectiforms. The cave is also noted for a famous panel of abstract symbols, known as The Inscription, considered by some experts to be a precursor to systems of writing like the Sumerian cuneiforms and Egyptian hieroglyphs.
- La Pena de Candamo Cave
Asturias, Spain. Noted for its painted engravings of deer, bison, deer, horses and ibex, the mural of horses on the Talud Stalagmite, and the Hall of the Red Signs. Its most famous engraving is that of a large stag pierced by several spears. Dates to 19,000 BC.
- La Pileta Cave
Málaga, Spain. Like Nerja Cave - also in Málaga - La Pileta's cave art, which includes paintings of a giant fish and a pregnant mare, is dominated by abstract symbols, including cruciforms, serpentiforms, spirals, 'Spanish tectiforms', zig-zags, and other symbols. Dates to 18,000 BC, but could be significantly older.
- Lascaux Cave
A major centre of Stone Age art and culture in the French Dordogne. Arguably the greatest showcase of Upper Paleolithic art in the world. Highlights include the Hall of the Bulls, the Axial Gallery, the Apse, the Nave and the "Shaft" with its celebrated black drawing of the dead man, the bird and the bison. Many archaeologists consider Lascaux to be the apogee of prehistoric art. The cave also contains a diverse range of abstract signs. Oldest art dates to 19,500 BC.
- Las Chimeneas Cave
Monte Castillo, Cantabria, Spain. A neighbour of La Pasiega and El Castillo, it has an extended collection of macaroni-type digital tracings - known as finger fluting - in the soft clay. Its oldest art is an abstract sign dating to 13,000 BC, followed by a black drawing of a deer created in 12,000 BC.
- La Tete du Lion Cave
Ardèche, France. Best known for a panel, believed to be a map of the stars (Taurus constellation), similar to markings discovered at Lascaux. Dates to 17,000 BC.
- Édouard Lartet (1801-71)
French geologist and paleontologist, pioneer of Upper Paleolithic archaeology.
- Laugerie Haute
Vezere Valley, Dordogne. Best known for its engraved drawings of horses, aurochs and bison, dating to between 22,000 and 12 000 BC.
- Le Placard Cave
Charente, France. Best known for its aviform signs which are also found at Pech Merle, Cougnac, and Cosquer caves. Because Placard Cave is the only one of the four whose cave art has been directly dated (to 17,700 BC), its strange aviform signs have been christened 'Placard-type signs'.
- Le Portel Cave
Ariège, France. Noted for its black drawings of horses and bison (highlights include the Circus Horse, and the Scene of the Three Bison), and for its unusual archaeoacoustics. Dates to 12,500 BC.
- Leroi-Gourhan, André (1911-86)
Eminent French archaeologist and prehistorian, probably best known for his book 'The Dawn of European Art: An Introduction to Palaeolithic Cave Painting.'
- Les Combarelles Engravings
Beune Valley, Dordogne. Famous for its 600–800 engraved drawings of animals, some of which are also accentuated in black. Its most famous image is the 'Drinking Reindeer'. Also contains some 50 human-like figures, and a quantity of abstract signs. Dates to 11,700 BC.
- Levallois Technique
Important method of flint-knapping introduced during the Mousterian tool culture, about 300,000 BC. It involved the methodical preparation of a stone core (by striking off very small flakes), to enable a precise flake to be detached with one blow. Flake tools made using the Levallois-Mousterian method included: scrapers, burins, blades, and a range of projectile points.
- Lion Man of Hohlenstein Stadel
A therianthropic figurine carved from mammoth ivory, it was found in the cave of Stadel-Hohle in the Swabian Jura. It is the world's oldest freestanding sculpture, dated to 38,000 BC. Also known as the "Löwenmensch".
- Lorblanchet, Michel (b.1937)
French archaeologist, renowned expert on paleolithic art in the French Lot.
- Los Aviones Cave Jewellery
Cartagena, Spain. Sea shell jewellery decorated with red and yellow ochre, made 113,000 years ago.
- Lower Paleolithic
The first and longest period of the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age), which began around 3.3 mya (the date of the first stone tools) and spanned the Oldowan and Acheulean lithics industries, before giving way to the Middle Paleolithic, about 300,000 years ago. Cave art was non-existent during this period, except for cupules, but a few items of portable art have survived, including the Trinil Shell Engravings (540,000 BC) and the Bilzingsleben Engravings (350,000 BC).
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- Magdalenian Culture
A Mode 5 tool culture (type-site: Abri de la Madeleine) which was associated with the stunning cave paintings at Lascaux, Font-de-Gaume, Altamira, Niaux and Ekain Cave; the rock engravings at Trois Frères and Gabillou; and the bison high reliefs at Tuc D'Audoubert Cave. The highpoint of Stone Age culture, the Magdalenian lasted from 15,000 to 10,000 BC. Sadly, the end of the Ice Age caused the ice sheets to retreat northwards, taking the reindeer herds with them. This spelled the end of hunter-gatherer culture, and its incredible cave art.
- Maltravieso Cave
Extremadura. Spain. Famous for having the oldest cave art in europe, namely a hand stencil dated by uranium-thorium technology to at least 64,700 BC.
- Mandrin Cave
Malataverne, Rhône Valley. Famous for containing the earliest evidence of modern humans migrating into Europe from the Middle East. Artifacts unearthed include a child's tooth and a modern Neronian toolkit. Dates to 54,000 BC.
- Marsoulas Cave
Haut-Garonne, France. Best known for its pointillist bison and a musical instrument made out of a conch shell. Dates to 16,000 BC.
- Mas d'Azil Cave
Ariège, France. Archaeological type site of the mesolithic Azilian culture (10,500-8,000 BC). It is noted for its painted pebbles, mobiliary art, and engraved drawings of horses, bison, deer, three fish and one bird, as well as a number of red dots, half-circles, and penniform signs. Dates to 11,000 BC.
A megalith is a very large stone used to construct a prehistoric structure, either by itself or with other stones. A good example is the group of 25-ton sarsen standing stones that form the outer circle at Stonehenge, England.
- Megalithic Art
Images either painted, engraved or carved onto very large stone (megaliths) in prehistoric Europe. Ireland and the French province of Brittany have the largest concentration of megalithic art in Europe. Examples include the multiple-spirals at Newgrange passage tomb, and the diverse range of spiral, axes, croziers, zigzags, lozenges, and serpentiforms at the Gavrinis passage tomb.
The term comes from the greek words 'mesos' (middle), and 'lithos' (stone), was first coined by the Irish archaeologist Hodder Westropp (1820–85) in 1872. The mesolithic era (aka Middle Stone Age) represents the final period of hunter-gatherer culture before the settled farming lifestyle of the Neolithic. Outside Europe, the period is usually called the Epipaleolithic. Dates for both the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods vary enormously, depending on climate and habitat. Some areas - the Middle East and China, for instance - experienced no Mesolithic at all. For areas that did, the Mesolithic ran (very roughly) from 10,000 to 6,000 BC, and the Neolithic from 6,000 to about 3,200 BC.
A prehistoric microlith is a small stone flake, typically no more than 1 cm in length, which were used as spear points, arrowheads or knife points. The earliest examples come from the Howiesons Poort lithic industry in South Africa, about 60,000 BC. They were superceded by geometric microliths about 9,000 BC.
- Middle Paleolithic
The second sub-division of the Paleolithic era, which lasted from 300,000 to 40,000 BC. It witnessed the introduction of the Levallois-Mousterian tool industry and the first artistic steps by Neanderthals. It also witnessed the emergence of modern humans in Africa, and their arrival in Europe.
- Mobiliary art
A technical term for portable art, like the animal carvings in the Vogelherd Cave, or any of the venus figurines.
- Modern Humans
A loose term commonly used to describe modern variants of Homo sapiens who migrated out of Africa from about 100,000 years ago. Includes Cro-Magnons, who arrived in Europe, as well as others who migrated as far as China and Australia. Moderns were anatomically modern from their emergence in Africa, around 160,000 years ago, but they demonstrated behavourial modernity much later - perhaps as late as 40,000 BC - through their sophisticated cave painting and rock art, as well as their stone tools and specialist bone, ivory and antler toolkits. The latest DNA evidence shows that the world is descended from modern humans from Africa, although a small degree of inter-breeding with indigenous groups appears in almost all gene profiles.
- Montespan Cave
Haute-Garonne, France. Famous for its 'headless bear sculpture' riddled with spear marks, as well as an array of abstract symbols including lines, dots, half-circles, tectiforms and others. Dates to 13,000 BC.
- Mousterian tool culture
Middle Paleolithic archaeological tool industry (type-site: Le Moustier), associated with Neanderthals in Europe, and also with the earliest anatomically modern humans in North Africa and West Asia. Dates for the Mousterian vary, depending on whether it includes the preceding Mode 3 Levallois tool technology. We prefer to speak of a Levallois-Mousterian culture which lasted from about 300,000 to 40,000 BC.
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- Nawarla Gabarnmang
Rock Shelter, Arnhem Land N.T., Australia. Contains the earliest known Aboriginal rock art in Australia, consisting of a faded charcoal drawing of 2 crossed lines with infill, dating to 26,000 BC.
Although their cognitive and creative abilities were outshone by those of H. sapiens, Neanderthals produced some interesting artworks. These include: the mysterious speleothem structures at Bruniquel Cave (175,000 BC); the Krapina Eagle Jewellery (130,000 BC); the Los Aviones Cave Jewellery (113,000 BC); the hand stencils at Maltravieso Cave; the painted stalctites at Ardales Cave (63,000 BC); the scalariform image at La Pasiega Cave; the cupules at La Ferrassie Cave (60,000 BC); and the abstract engraving at Gorham's Cave (37,000 BC).
The term comes from the greek words 'neos' (new), and 'lithos' (stone), was first coined by the English polymath Sir John Lubbock (1834-1913) in 1865. The Neolithic began when early humans abandoned their hunter-gatherer lifestyle and adopted a settled existence based on farming and animal husbandry. Dates for the beginning and end of the Neolithic vary significantly. As a very crude estimate, it lasted from about 6,000 until writing systems emerged, around 3,200 BC.
- Nerja Cave
Málaga, Spain. One of the longest caves in Europe (4 km), it is best known for its pictures of seals, as well as its huge speleothem - a combination of stalactite and stalagmite - about 32 metres in height. Dates to 10,000 BC.
- Nevalı Çori
Şanlıurfa, Southeastern Anatolia. One of the oldest temples from the Early Neolithic. Noted for its megalithic art and architecture. Similar to but smaller than Göbekli Tepe. Now underwater.
- Newgrange Passage Tomb
Co Meath, Ireland. Neolithic passage tomb famous for its megalithic art - namely, a series of complex spiral engravings. The tomb dates to around 3,200 BC.
- Niaux Cave
Ariège, France. Best known for its black paintings including a unique weasel drawing. The cave also has a large quantity of abstract symbols, including more than a hundred red and black dots, dashes, bars and lines. It is also noted for its archaeoacoustics. Dates to 13,000 BC.
- Niola Doa Engravings
Ennedi Plateau, northeast Chad. Famous for its Neolithic rock carvings featuring several groups of life-sized human figures, dating to around 3,000 BC.
- Oldowan industry
Lower Paleolithic archaeological tool industry (type-site: Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania), associated with extinct species of hominins such as Australopithecus and H. habilis. It was a simple but widespread Mode 1 tool technology, used throughout the populated world between 2.6 mya and 1.7 mya.
- Oxocelhaya Cave
Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France. Noted for its engraved drawings of horses and bison, as well as a quantity of open-angle signs, ovals, half-circles, and spirals. Part of the Isturitz Cave complex, inhabited by Neanderthals and then moderns, between 80,000 and 10,000 BC.
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- Pachmari Hills
Central India. An area noted for its rock paintings of animals and human figures, dating to 9,000 BC.
A modern term coined by Mark Hallett in the late 1980s to describe illustrations of prehistoric subjects.
- Paleolithic Art
The Paleolithic era (aka Old Stone Age) begins with the creation of stone tools, and ends with the demise of hunter-gatherer culture around 10,000 BC. Paleolithic artistry begins in the Lower Paleolithic with the applied art of tool-making, which was critical to the evolution of the human species, before expressing itself in the strange rock carvings we call cupules, and later the glorious cave painting, engravings and sculpture of the Upper Paleolithic.
- Parietal art
Prehistoric images found on the walls, floors and ceilings of caves and rock shelters.
- Pech-Merle Cave
Lot, France. A showcase of Gravettian art, during the coldest part of the Ice Age, it was christened the 'Sistine Chapel of the Lot' by Abbé Breuil. Its most famous works include: The Spotted Horses of Pech-Merle, The Black Frieze of bison and horses, and the "Wounded Man" surrounded by Placard-type aviform signs. Dates to 27,000 BC.
Large scale man-made arrangements of rocks on open ground dating to the Neolithic or later. Where very large stones (megaliths) are involved, the petroforms are classified as megalithic art.
From the Greek word for rock carvings, it includes cupules as well as rock engravings (and bas-relief sculpture).
Prehistoric pictographs are images painted on rock that are intended to convey something to the observer.
A geological epoch that followed the Pliocene and lasted from about 2.5 mya to 10,000 BC. It was followed by the Holocene.
- Pindal Cave
Asturias, Spain. Home to paintings of bison, horses and mammoths, plus some rare images of fish. Dates to between 16,000 and 11,000 BC.
- Pinnacle Point Cave
On the southern coast of South Africa. Famous for its piece of engraved ochre created 164,000 years ago - Africa's oldest mobiliary art. See also, Klasies River Caves, Blombos Cave and Diepkloof Rock Shelter.
- Points (Projectile points)
A type of flaked stone tool with a sharp pointed tip. Made in a range of sizes and weights, they were attached to harpoons, thrusting spears, javelins, darts and arrows. Projectile point technology arose independently among different tool industries around the world, including the Fauresmith, Levallois, Still Bay and Aterian cultures.
- Pre-estuarine painting
A style of Australian Aboriginal art associated with the Northern Territory. Corresponding to the Upper Paleolithic era, Pre-estuarine painting featured action-drawings of stick-like human figures armed with clubs, stone axes and barbed spears.
- Prehistoric Sculpture
Includes low-relief sculpture (the salmon in the Abri du Poisson); high relief carvings (friezes at Roc de Sers and Cap Blanc); and freestanding works like the Lion Man of Hohlenstein Stadel and the hundreds of venus figurines.
This refers to the period of human history between the emergence of stone tools by hominins about 3.3 mya, and the beginning of recorded history around 3,200 BC. It includes the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic eras, as well as all hominins involved in tool-making, such as: Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Homo ergaster, Homo heidelbergensis, Denisovans, Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.
- Pressure Flaking
This was a specialist retouching technique, developed by Solutrean stone masons, which was used in the creation of finely worked laurel-leaf points, blades and other microliths. A core would be heated, causing microscopic cracks to form. These cracks reduced the amount of force required to cause a fracture. Then, pressing gently with a soft chisel made from bone, antler or ivory, pressure was applied to the edge of the core in order to detach a small flake. The process was continued until the desired tool shape was achieved.
- Quesang Handprints
Found on a travertine boulder at Quesang on the Tibetan Plateau, they are the World's oldest handprints.
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The process of reshaping or modifying the edge of a stone tool.
- Roc-aux-Sorciers Frieze
Angles-sur-Anglin, France. A highlight of Magdalenian rock carving, this 20-metre frieze contains high reliefs of bison, horses, ibexes and felines. Dates to 13,000 BC.
- Roc-de-Sers rock art
Charente, France. Known as the benchmark of Solutrean relief sculpture, it features 14 carved and painted limestone blocks, decorated with fifty rock engravings and low-reliefs. Dates to 17,200 BC.
- Rock art
An umbrella category of man-made markings on natural rock faces. It includes four types: (1) Rock paintings. (2) Engravings & relief sculpture. (3) Petroforms. (4) Geoglyphs.
- Rock Engravings
Includes finely and deeply incised imagery, drawn with a burin or other sharp stone tool. The greatest cave engravings can be seen at Roucadour, Trois Frères, Gabillou Cave, and Les Combarelles.
- Rock of Solutré
Mâcon, France. Limestone escarpment and hillside used as a hunting centre. Adopted as the type-site of the Solutrean culture (20,000-15,000 BC).
- Roucadour Cave
Lot, France. Similar to Pech Merle and Cougnac, also in the Lot, Roucadour's cave art includes 150 engravings of horses, megaloceros, bison, aurochs, mammoths and birds, plus a quantity of abstract signs. Dates to 27,000 BC.
- Rouffignac Cave
Dordogne. Dubbed the 'cave of the hundred mammoths', it contains more than 250 animal images, either black drawings or engravings. Also contains numerous circles, half-circles, cruciforms, pectiforms, serpentiforms and tectiforms. Dates to 11,000 BC.
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- Santimamiñe Cave
Basque Country, Spain. Occupied by Neanderthals during Mousterian and Chatelperronian cultures, and later by Cro-Magnons, it is best known for its Magdalenian charcoal drawings of horses, ibex, bison, and deer, dating to about 12,000 BC.
A prehistoric stone tool used for scraping purposes, such as scraping animal hides. An end scraper is one with a retouched distal edge; a side scraper is one whose side edge has been retouched.
- Shaft of the Dead Man
A famous chamber at Lascaux Cave, containing a bizarre scene featuring a disembowelled bison, a dead human with an erection, a bird on a stick and a rhinoceros who defecates as it walks away.
- Shigir Idol
World's oldest surviving wooden statue, found in 1890 buried 4 metres below the surface of a peat bog near Yekaterinburg in Russia.
- Siega Verde rock art
Salamanca, Spain. Across the border from the Portuguese Coa Valley, the district features more than 400 images, including some 250 animal engravings, dating back to 18,000 BC.
- Solutrean Culture
Upper Paleolithic archeological culture (type-site: Rock of Solutré, Crôt du Charnier) associated in particular with the development of relief sculpture at Fourneau-du-Diable and Roc-de-Sers. Solutrean stone carvers also mastered the important technique of pressure flaking, which was crucial for the manufacture of microliths. The Solutrean period lasted from 20,000 BC to 15,000 BC.
- Spear-Thrower (Atlatl)
This important prehistoric hunting tool, usually made from wood, bone or antler, 'extended' the throwing arm of the hunter, allowing him to propel a spear or javelin up to 150 km/h (93 mph). it enabled prey to be hit by missiles at a greater distance than before, making it safer to hunt megafauna, and easier to bring down fast animals. The date of its invention is unclear, but may date back to 38,000 BC.
People who explore caves. Also known as potholers. These enthusiasts play a vital role in discovering hidden caves and chambers.
- Stone Age
Began 3.3 mya and ended around 3,000 BC with the advent of metalworking. Made up of 3 periods: the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic. defined by its tool industries, such as the Oldowan, Acheulean and Levallois-Mousterian, among others.
- Stone Age Colour Palette
When cave painting, paleolithic artists relied on a small number of mineral-based colour pigments, including ochre pigments, manganese, and kaolin, as well as charcoal and burnt bone.
- Stonehenge Stone Circle
Salisbury Plain, England. Originally aligned towards the sunrise on the summer solstice, the site served as a burial site and ceremonial centre. Features an outer ring of sarsen standing stones (each megalith weighs 25 tons), topped by connecting horizontal lintels, and an inner ring of smaller bluestones, surrounding five trilithons. The monument dates to around 2,500 BC. Now in a ruined state.
- Stone Tools
The key instrument of Stone Age culture which set humans on the way to global domination. Tools were our main form of cultural expression for more than two million years, becoming almost an art form in the process. The history of stone tools is the history of human cognition.
- Sulawesi Cave Paintings
The Leang Tedongnge Cave is an important centre of paleolithic culture in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Its red ochre painting of warty pigs (43,500 BC) is the oldest figurative painting in the world. After this comes the hunting scene at Leang Bulu' Sipong 4 Cave (41,900 BC). Sulawesi is also known for a hand stencil found in the Leang Timpuseng Cave (37,900 BC). These discoveries astonished many archaeologists, since they show that sophisticated cave painting by H. sapiens began not in Europe, but in Asia.
- Sydney Rock Engravings
Ku-ring-gai district and throughout the Sydney region. A wide variety of Aboriginal rock art featuring figurative drawings of people and animals carved in sandstone. The oldest engravings date to around 5,000 BC.
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Southeast Algeria. A huge plateau famous for more than 15,000 Neolithic animal paintings and engravings, dating to 8,000 BC. One of Africa's most important cultural sites.
- Tito Bustillo Cave
Asturias, Spain. Renowned for its paintings of horses, notably those in the Gallery of Horses (Galeria de los Caballos), and its unusual use of red and violet paint pigments. Other highlights include the Chamber of Vulvas and the Anthropomorph Gallery. Its oldest painting is an anthropomorphic figure in red ochre which dates to 34,000 BC.
- Trois Frères Cave
Ariège, France. World famous for its exceptional rock engravings, including the famous 'Sorcerer' - a human with the features of several different animals, depicting a shaman or other spiritual figure. Also known for its Gallery of Owls, as well as numerous abstract signs, including claviforms, cruciforms and crosshatch motifs. Located next door to Tuc d'Audoubert. Dates to 13,000 BC.
- Tuc d'Audoubert Cave
Ariège, France. One of three River Volp caves, along with Les Trois Frères and Enlène. Best known for its haut-relief clay sculptures of two bison about to mate. Dates to 13,000 BC.
A flaked stone tool which is modified or retouched on one side only.
- Upper Paleolithic
Beginning sometime between 45,000 and 40,000 BC, this was the third and final period of the Old Stone Age. In Europe, it witnessed the extinction of Neanderthals and the rapid dominance of modern humans (Cro-Magnons), who were responsible for a unique explosion of cave painting, rock engraving and prehistoric sculpture. In Asia, moderns created the world's first figurative paintings in the limestone caves of Sulawesi and Borneo. Upper Paleolithic art was the apogee of Stone Age culture, and - as Picasso once confessed on a visit to Lascaux - remains unsurpassed in the 120 centuries since its demise.
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- Venus Figurines
An iconic form of Upper Paleolithic sculpture, mainly associated with the Gravettian, which spread across Europe - from France to Siberia between 40,000 and 20,000 BC. The classic venus was a small figure carved out of mammoth ivory, which depicted an obese, nude female with exaggerated female features.
- Venus of Berekhat Ram
Retouched humanoid figure, found on the the Golan Heights, dating to the Acheulean culture before 230,000 BC.
- Venus of Dolní Věstonice
Clay and bone ash: 27,000 BC. Probably the oldest example of ceramic art, it was discovered at the paleolithic settlement of Dolní Věstonice (which specialized in ceramic objects and pottery) near Brno.
- Venus of Hohle Fels
Mammoth ivory: 38,000 BC. This figurine, also known as the Venus of Schelklingen, was discovered near the Hohlenstein mountain in the Swabian Jura. It is the earliest figurative carving of a female known to archaeology.
- Venus of Tan-Tan
Retouched anthropomorphic figure, found in Morocco, dating to before 200,000 BC.
- Venus of Willendorf
Oolitic limestone: 28,000 BC. Found close to the Danube in Lower Austria, it is the archetypal venus figurine and an iconic example of this genre of sculpture.
- Vézère Valley Caves
Famous hotspot of paleolithic art and culture, containing some 30 decorated caves.
- Vogelherd Cave Carvings
Swabian Jura, Germany. Vogelherd Cave - like others including Geißenklosterle, Hohle Fels and Hohlenstein-Stadel - is famous for its Aurignacian sculpture: in this case, ivory sculptures of mammoths, lions and horses, dating to 38,000 BC.
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- Wandjina paintings
The Wandjina (aka Wondjina or Gulingi) are Australian Aboriginal cloud and rain spirits, who are depicted in a style of rock painting (typically black, red and yellow images on a white background) which is of great importance to the Wanjina Wunggurr cultural bloc in the Kimberley region of western Australia. The rock art dates to around 2,000 BC.
- Wonderwerk Cave
Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Noted for its collection of small stones engraved with geometric motifs and animal figures, as well as its rock paintings - dating to 8,200 BC. See also the Apollo 11 Cave in south-western Namibia.
- Zaraysk Venuses
Mammoth ivory: 20,000 BC. Excavated from just outside the walls of Zaraysk's medieval fortress in Moscow Oblast, these two venus statuettes share characteristics from both the Avdeevo and Kostenki figurines.
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