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Gonnersdorf settlement The open-air site of Gönnersdorf was discovered in 1968, during the construction of a cellar for a private house. After digging through the pumice, bones and stone slabs appeared and it became clear that it was a location of the late ice age. A wonderful inventory of ice age life was unearthed: pulverised red hematite, a fireplace, evidence of habitation constructions, a lithic industry, statuettes of ivory and antler, engraved slate plaquettes, jet beads, perforated animal teeth and a well preserved faunal record. Based on these finds it was evident that Gönnersdorf was a site of huge importance.


Lalinde / Gönnersdorf Figurines and Engravings

Lalinde style engravings

Engravings in the Lalinde style from la Roche de Lalinde.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies



Lalinde / Gönnersdorf figurines and engravings are strictly stylised, overtly female forms with over-sized buttocks, long trunks, small or missing breasts, and no heads. These images have been found at sites such as Gönnersdorf in Germany, in Abri Murat and Gare de Couze in France, Pekárna in the Czech Republic, and Wilczyce in Poland.
Text above adapted from: http://archaeology.about.com/od/upperpaleolithic/a/0307_venusfig.htm



Les figurations féminines schématiques

Très caractéristiques de la fin du Magdalénien, les figures féminines stylisées (du type Lalinde-Gönnersdorf) constituent une iconographie à part de l'art traditionnellement animalier du Magdalénien. Identifiées à l'origine d'après la figure princeps de Couze, gravés sur bloc calcaire (No 1 dans la vitrine), ces figurations schématiques sont connues sur divers supports dans toute l'Europe. Elles traduisent l'homogénéité culturelle de la fin du Paléolithique supérieur à une époque où les circulation des matières premières et des coquillages, atteignent leur apogée.

Very characteristic of the late Magdalenian, these stylized female figures (known as the Lalinde-Gönnersdorf tradition) are a part of imagery in the art of the traditional Magdalenian. Identified initially on the basis of the figures from Gare de Couze, engraved on a limestone block (No. 1 in the display window), the schematic figures are known on various media across Europe. They reflect the cultural homogeneity of the late Upper Paleolithic at a time when the movement of raw materials and shells reached their climax.

Lalinde style engravings Lalinde style engravings Lalinde style engravings


Engraving in the Lalinde style from Gare de Couze.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies




Lalinde style engravings Lalinde style engravings

Engravings in the Lalinde style from la Roche de Lalinde.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies




Lalinde style engravings Lalinde style engravings

Engravings in the Lalinde style from la Roche de Lalinde.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies




Lalinde style engravings

Engravings in the Lalinde style from la Roche de Lalinde.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies




Lalinde style engravings

Engravings in the Lalinde style from la Roche de Lalinde.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies






Lalinde style engravings Lalinde style engravings
La Roche de Lalinde engravings highlighted.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Originals, display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies




Lalinde style engravings Lalinde style engravings
La Roche de Lalinde engravings highlighted.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Originals, display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies




Lalinde style engravings Lalinde style engravings
La Roche de Lalinde engravings highlighted.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Originals, display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies






These form part of a consistent art form, showing the outline of the female form engraved in limestone or on ivory plaques. See the illustrations below.

Note however, that every single one of the engravings photographed above on a single stone is shown from the right side of the female outline, which is not the case with all of the examples shown below.

Lalinde style engravings



La Roche Lalinde

Photo: www.ucmo.edu/Documents/dissertationillus.pdf


Lalinde style engravings



11-13 , Hohlenstein; 14-16 Gönnersdorf (engraving No. 59-1 and 86-1 and figurine No. 1

Photo: www.ucmo.edu/Documents/dissertationillus.pdf







Lalinde style engravings





Stone block with schematic female figures engraved on it. La Roche, Lalinde, Dordogne. Length of block 37 cm.

Photo: Sieveking (1979)
Source: Original, Field Museum, Chicago.




Montastruc decorated stone

Montastruc decorated stone
The Montastruc decorated stone (Acc. No. Palart 518) is an example of Ice Age art, now in the British Museum. A human figure that appears to be female has been scratched or engraved to decorate a fragment of a piece of limestone used as a lamp. The piece was excavated from Courbet Cave, Montastruc, Tarn-et-Garonne, Midi-Pyrénées, France, on the northern bank of the River Aveyron, a tributary of the Tarn. It is dated to around 11 000 BC, locally the Late Magdalenian period of the Upper Palaeolithic, towards the end of the last Ice Age.

It was excavated by Edouard Lartet and Henry Christy in 1863, and bequeathed with many other items to the museum by Christy. The dimensions of the stone are: length 230 millimetres, width 145 mm, depth 52 mm. The Swimming Reindeer and Mammoth spear thrower were found at the same site.

The other side of the slab of limestone has a natural depression in which fat was burnt, no doubt for lighting in the rock shelter. The engraving seems to have been made after the stone lamp broke, as the figure is neatly centred on the fragment.

Photo: Johnbod
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Tracing: Don Hitchcock 2013
Text: Wikipedia




Montastruc decorated stone





The headless figure is shown from the side, bending to the right, with the large rounded buttocks and thigh carefully drawn. The thin torso features a small sharp triangle that may indicate the breasts, or perhaps arms held out. The two lines defining the front and rear of the profile are continuous and 'confidently drawn', though they converge at knee level. Extra lines below the waist may represent an apron or skirt. Similar characteristics can be found in engraved figures from Neuwied in Germany.

Tracing: Don Hitchcock 2013
Text: Wikipedia




venus figurine

Venus sculpture from Vogelherdhöhle in the Lalinde/Gönnersdorf tradition.

The figurine is made from a boar tooth, found at the 2008 re-excavation of the materials from the Riek excavation of 1931 in front of the Vogelherdhöhle cave.

It is of Magdalenian age, about 13 000 BP.

Photo: Thilo Parg / Wikimedia Commons
Permission: CC BY-SA 3.0




Lalinde engraving



Feminine silhouettes engraved on a limestone plaque in the Grotte de la Roche de Lalinde.

Photo: http://www.istmira.com/foto-i-video-pervobytnoe-obschestvo/3923-iskusstvo-predystorii-pervobytnost-1.html




Lalinde style engravings
1 - Arancou - fragment of a polisher, Magdalenian.

3 - Chateau des Eyzies - fragment of a rib, Magdalenian.

Both of these objects have carvings which bear some resemblance to Lalinde/Gönnersdorf figurines.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Originals, display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies




Lalinde style figures Lalinde style figures Lalinde style figures


Lalinde style figures



Chipped stone female figurines (style Lalinde/Gönnersdorf) from Wilczyce, Poland

Photo: Romuald Schild, photo credit Dagmara Manka
Source: http://archaeology.about.com/od/artandartifacts/ig/Wilczyce-Figurines/Chipped-Stone-Female-Figurine-.htm




Lalinde style figures



Carved Bone Female Figurine (style Lalinde/Gönnersdorf) from Wilczyce, Poland

Photo: Romuald Schild, photo credit Dagmara Manka
Source: http://archaeology.about.com/od/artandartifacts/ig/Wilczyce-Figurines/Chipped-Stone-Female-Figurine-.htm




Further information about the Wilczyce site may be found at the link below:

WilczyceFemale figurines in the style of Lalinde/Gönnersdorf from Wilczyce are unusual in that many are knapped from flint. Located on the Sandomierz plateau in southern Poland, the Wilczyce site was discovered in 1994 during a prospecting campaign carried out by the Polish Academy of Sciences. The site is located on a slope dominating the valley of the river Opatówka, and uniquely, the venus figures are all in 'ice wedges' deposits, which occur in areas subjected to permafrost.






Lalinde style figures from Oelknitz

Female figurines from the excavations at Oelknitz, Thüringen.

Source: Museum für Ur- und Frühgeschichte Thüringens in Weimar

Photo: PaulTTS, Feb. 2010

Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike version 3.0




Lalinde style figures from Oelknitz

Female figurine from Oelknitz, 36 mm high.

Photo: Original, Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




Oelknitz venus figure fragment


The Oelknitz venus above as a replica for sale.



Photo: Facsimile, http://www.topgeo.com/venusfragment_nebra_replica__7076.html




Oelknitz venus figure


Oelknitz Venus.

Photo: Original, Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




Oelknitz venus figure


Oelknitz Venus in ivory.

Photo: Rau et al. (2009)




Oelknitz venus figure


Replica for sale, possibly the same as the one above, Oelknitz venus, 45 mm high.

Photo: http://www.topgeo.com/venus_of_nebra_2_replica__7077.html




Oelknitz venus figure


Oelknitz Venus.

Photo: Original, Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




Nebra venus figure


Engraving of a vulva, from Oelknitz.

Photo: Original, Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




Nebra venus figure
Kraków Spadzista (Poland). Burned pendant made from ivory. Scale is 2 cm.

Artefacts made from mammoth bones or ivory are much less represented on open air Gravettian sites in southern Poland. There are ten in the collection from Kraków and five in the Jaksice II's collection. It should be noted that artefacts from this second site were made only from ivory. On Kraków Spadzista mostly bone artefacts or ornamented objects made from mammoth bones were found. Only one pendant made from ivory was discovered, which was (probably) accidentally burnt.


( note that this is very similar to a Lalinde/Gönnersdorf figurine. It is not unusual that it is made of ivory, but it is a little unusual in that, being of ivory, it has been pierced for use as a pendant. Some of the jet venus figures from Petersfels are, however, pierced for use as a pendant.  - Don )

Photo and text: Original, Wojtal and Wilczynski (2015)




References

  1. Cook, J., 2013: Ice Age art - the arrival of the modern mind, The British Museum Press, 26th May 2013
  2. Hansen, M., 2006: Beyond seals - The Representation of Seals on Engraved Slate Plaquettes from the Magdalenian Site Gönnersdorf (Central Rhineland, Germany), Thesis in Archaeology, Candidate thesis for the title Cand. Philol. University of Tromsø, Autumn 2006
  3. Müller-Beck, H. and Albrecht, G. (Ed.), 1987: Die Anfänge der Kunst vor 30000 Jahren Theiss: Stuttgart.
  4. Rau, S., Naumann D., Barth M., Mühleis Y., Bleckmann C., 2009: Eiszeit: Kunst und Kultur, Thorbecke, 2009, 396p. ISBN: 978-3-7995-0833-9
  5. Sieveking, A., 1979: The Cave Artists, Thames and Hudson
  6. Stevens, R., O'Connell T., Hedges R., Street M., 2009: Radiocarbon and stable isotope investigations at the Central Rhineland sites of Gönnersdorf and Andernach-Martinsberg, Germany, Journal of Human Evolution 57 (2009) 131–148
  7. Wojtal, P., Wilczynski, J., 2015: Hunters of the giants: Woolly mammoth hunting during the Gravettian in Central Europe, Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sławkowska 17, 31-016 Kraków, Poland





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