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La Madeleine - a rock shelter in the Dordogne with exquisite art objects from the Magdalenian

Bison

Bison licking its shoulder, from La Madeleine

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




La Madeleine is a rock shelter located in the Vézère valley, in the Dordogne, France. In 1926 the skeleton of a three year old child was discovered, with exquisite shell jewellery, dating from the end of the Magdalenian period. It is a treasure house of art and knowledge about the people of the Magdalenian. Much of this art is on display at the Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac.

Vezere Map

Map of sites in the Vézère Valley of France, including l'abri de la Madeleine.

If you click on the map you will see a larger map with the ability to click on the sites marked with a red dot and get further information.

Photo: Don Hitchcock





mapmadeleinecloseupsm


The archaeological site of l'Abri de la Madeleine is a rock shelter under an overhanging cliff situated near Tursac, Dordogne. The medieval castle of Petit Marsac stands on the top of the cliff just above the shelter.

Photo: © Sygic Maps, 2022.


IMGP5939chapelmadeleinesm
l'Abri de la Madeleine (and thus the archaeological period of the Magdalenian), is named after this chapel of Sainte Madeleine, part of what is now known as the Troglodyte Village of Madeleine.

Lord Beynac built the Sainte Madeleine Chapel in 1354 on the foundations of a previous chapel. l'Abri de la Madeleine is almost directly beneath it.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Taken from a kayak on the Vézère River on a trip from below Roque St Christophe to Les Eyzies, to document the important sites along this section of the Vézère.


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The abri of La Madeleine. This view is unchanged except for the growth of vegetation since the date of the historic photos below.

Photo: © Gerard Bastiaan, 2022


La Madeleine gisement

Another view of la Madeleine.

Photo: J. G. Marcillaud - Service Départemental d'Archéologie Dordogne
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux




La Madeleine gisement La Madeleine gisement La Madeleine gisement


La Madeleine gisement La Madeleine gisement


Le gisement, or archeological site, of la Madeleine, downstream from the tourist site and the medieval rock shelter of La Madeleine

Photo: Christine Dubourg, Service archéologique départemental Dordogne, Christine Dubourg, Service archéologique départemental Dordogne
Source: http://www.pole-prehistoire.com/page_site.php?site=20




The Magdalenian site of La Madeleine may be approached via the Peasant Farm of La Madeleine, La Ferme Paysanne. Both the cliff-top Medieval site and the Farm beside the Vézère are owned and managed by the Hamelin family, and are well worth a visit.

These destinations are well run, interesting, and informative.

The family, Charles, Louis and Marie, took over the site of the cliff-top Medieval site in 2019, and have worked to provide an excellent experience with tours, activities and information boards.

Charles had worked for ten years in management of the Troglodyte Village of La Madeleine, which was first occupied in Medieval times, and was enhanced with stone walls to make a series of dwellings. The site was chosen for its ease of defence in difficult times especially during the 100 years war, above the prehistoric site of La Madeleine, which uses the rock shelters beside the Vézère River.

Charles' children, Louis and Marie now help him to run both the Troglodyte Village, and La Ferme Paysanne, an interesting site on the flat, rich, alluvial land below the Troglodyte Village.

The family provide tours, activities (workshops and other experiences, available in summer) to make any visitor welcome and interested, and these are always being renewed and improved.

image00024approach1sm walkbeneaththecliffssm


The abri of La Madeleine may be approached via La Ferme Paysanne, on the river bank of the Vézère.

Photo (left): © Gerard Bastiaan, 2022
Photo (right): © guide-du-perigord.com


image00023path2sm image00022pathsm


The path continues at river level towards the Medieval village on the cliffs above.

Photo: © Gerard Bastiaan, 2022


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The sign (circled in the left hand image) reads, in part:

150 metres from here lies the prehistoric deposit of La Madeleine.

It is a world famous archaeological site. Like many other sites in the Périgord Noir, the prehistoric site of la Madeleine was discovered (in 1863) by Édouard Lartet and Henry Christy.

It was neither chance, nor luck that drove these two archaeology enthusiasts to explore along the Vézère. They knew that hunter-gatherer peoples around the world shared similar behaviours:

• Living at the entrances to caves or under rock shelters, abris.

• Preferably with a southern aspect

• Presence of a river or water source.

From the turning of the first sod, thousands of flint, bone tools, reindeer antlers, bones, and dozens of engraved bones and stones were exposed.

The prehistoric industries revealed by these excavations were used in 1872 by G. De Mortillet to characterise the period as the Magdalenian, named after the Abri de la Madeleine.

In 1926, Peyrony discovered the burial of a child between the ages of two and four, accompanied by more than 1500 pieces of shell jewellery. Jean-Marc Bouvier was the last archaeologist to search the site, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photo: © Gerard Bastiaan, 2022


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Just after passing the sign, the river has cut in to form a narrow passageway between the cliff and the Vézère.

Photo: © Gerard Bastiaan, 2022


image00003firstabrism
Past this 'choke point', the path widens a little under an overhanging abri. If this ground has not been excavated, it may prove advantageous to do so.

This view looks upstream from underneath the mediaeval town.

Photo: © Gerard Bastiaan, 2022


image00019abrism image00018abrism


Here we may see the advantages of an abri for the original inhabitants. The cliff shelters this area from rain and snow, and hide curtains might be erected at the drip line to protect from the wind.

Photo: © Gerard Bastiaan, 2022


image00015madeleinesm image00015madeleinesm


(left) Soon the gisement of the abri of La Madeleine appears, protected by a fence around its perimeter. This is the upstream, eastern end of the fence.

(right) View along the fence line. The forest seems to be quite young.

Photo: © Gerard Bastiaan, 2022




image00013madeleinesm
Gerard Bastiaan writes:

View through the fence downstream. I think the part of the site with the roof on it is the part which on the drawing of Peyrony is mentioned as not excavated. I now can see the stonewall which is shown on his drawing.

Photo: © Gerard Bastiaan, 2022




image11_12madeleine_med


image00007vezeresm

(above) The abri of La Madeleine.

The Vézère is just a few metres away on the left of the abri.

Note how shallow it is at this point, the river was 70 cm lower than normal because of the drought.

Photo: © Gerard Bastiaan, 2022




La Madeleine gisement


In 1913, the distance from the cliff to the edge of the Vézère was about thirty metres, and the hills were bare. Now the river is just 2.5 metres from the cliff, and trees have reclaimed the land.

( It may be that goats which kept the vegetation in check were removed from the area - Don )

The text that accompanies the photo in Capitan et Peyrony (1928) reads:

General view of the rocks of La Madeleine with the ruins of the old castle. On the left, behind the trees, the famous shelter before the excavations.

Photo: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)
Additional text: sign at La Ferme Paysanne




La Madeleine gisement
Front view of the La Madeleine shelter. In the foreground, the Vézère. The excavated material forms a white band at the foot of the cliff.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




La Madeleine gisement
View of l'abri de la Madeleine during the course of the excavations.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




La Madeleine gisement
Peyrony or Capitan (in the background) and workers during the excavation of La Madeleine in 1926.

Photo: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




La Madeleine gisement


Looking upstream, south east, along the Vézère River from the Medieval Rock Shelter at the tourist site of La Madeleine, towards the end of the huge incised meander or 'cingle' in the course of the river.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




La Madeleine

View down the Vézère valley from the Medieval La Madeleine rock shelter, towards the archaeological gisement of La Madeleine.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




La Madelaine


Map of the location of La Madeleine on the Vézère River

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Display at La Madeleine




La Madelaine


Aerial photograph of the location of La Madeleine on the Vézère River. The rock shelter used in medieval times shown above may or may not have been used during the Magdalenian. I would appreciate further information on this point.

However the major archaeological site of l'Abri de la Madeleine is further downstream from the cliff site shown above. The gisement of La Madeleine has been an historic monument since October 1956.

Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: © Display at the Troglodyte Village of La Madeleine




La Madelaine


This is a very valuable sketch of the layout of the Troglodyte Village, supplied as part of a catalog or tour guide lent to visitors at the time that I was there.

• 1 Car Park, Museum and Reception
• 2 Look out post
• 3 Troglodyte Village
• 4 Resident with oven
• 5 Drainage
• 6 Outside stairs
• 7 Look out post
• 8 Water channel and pigeon holes
• 9 Sheep pen
• 10 Troughs 1 and 2
• 11 Base of partition wall
• 12 First floor 'bedrooms'
• 13 Inside stairs
• 14 Slots for beams
• 15 Bakers oven
• 16 Marks where a kitchen once stood
• 17 Multi use reception
• 18 First floor kitchen
• 19 Cloth makers workshop
• 20 Walls of stone
• 21 Centre altar
• 22 10th century altar
• 23 Sun dial
• 24 Central room
• 25 Refuge
• 26 Intermittent fountain
• 27 Interior arrangement
• 28 Door arrangement
• 29 Rock slide
• 30 Observation shelter
• 31/32 Vegetable garden path
• 33 Original enclosed vegetable garden

Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source and text: © Catalog at the Troglodyte Village of La Madeleine



IMGP5860chapelmadeleinesm
The Troglodyte Village of La Madeleine, seen from a kayak on the Vézère River.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Taken from a kayak on the Vézère River on a trip from below Roque St Christophe to Les Eyzies, to document the important sites along this section of the Vézère.




Map of the Magdalenian


Maps showing a) the extent of the Magdalenian, as well as the the maximum extent of Weichselian glaciations (the last glacial maximum, LGM, between 26 500 and 19 000 - 20 000 BP) and distribution of loess covers in Europe (orange patches); b) the Late Weichselian major glacial phases (Pz = Poznan, Pm = Pomerania, Ga = Gardno, Sb = Stupsk Bank, Sm = Southern Middle Bank), distribution of loess covers in Poland (orange patches).

(This is an important map which shows how widespread the Magdalenian culture was, from relatively warm coastal areas in southern France and Spain, to continental climates within fifty kilometres of the ice sheet at its maximum extent, although of course at the time of the Magdalenian, 18 000 BP to 10 000 BP the ice sheets were in retreat from their maximum extent at the LGM. The site of Klementowice in Poland, known since the early 1980s, is the furthest east and north which displays this culture - Don )

Photo: Wisniewski et al. (2012)




Map of the Magdalenian


Location map of Homo Sapiens during Magdalenian culture, between 17 000 ~ 10 000 BP.

Photo: Sémhur, Furfur
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.




At the end of 1863, Édouard Lartet, a palaeontologist, and his friend and benefactor Henry Christy discovered the shelter of La Madeleine by the side of the Vézère River. They were returning from investigating Le Moustier a few kilometres away, and noticed a large shelter on the right bank of the river. At this time there was no bridge, and they stopped a passing boat for assistance in crossing the river. A search was carried out with shovels and spades, and they began to realise the importance of the site. Each level revealed the presence of mankind: burins, flint blades, spear points. Numerous unrecognised objects turned up, made from unknown bones: harpoons, spears, needles, and numerous artefacts made from reindeer antlers. They decided to leave a serious investigation until spring.

The next spring, they continued their research. In May 1864 workers discovered five fragments of an ivory plate, which once reassembled, revealed an exceptional engraving of a mammoth. The accuracy of the engraving confirmed without doubt that the artist had observed the living creature and reproduced it in accurate detail: wooly coat, tusks, and hump were all faithfully recorded. The rear end of the animal was also clearly defined.

From Lartet and Christy (1875):

The next spot we visited in descending the Vézère was the station, near the ancient castle of La Madelaine, which has been, and still is, under examination by Messrs Lartet and Christy, lies at the foot of the cliff on the north bank of the river, about 30 yards distant from it; and the upper surface of the deposit is not more than 20 feet above the level of the stream, so as to be even now within reach of the highest floods.

The beds, which must be about 50 feet in length by about 25 feet in width and 8 to 10 feet in thickness, lie in a recess under the overhanging cliff, a portion of which appears, however, to have fallen off not more than a century or two ago, at the most. The upper bed consists principally of rubble from the cliff above; but the lower part of the deposit is a regular Kjökken-Mödding, rich beyond conception in the rude implements formed by the primitive occupants of the spot. Flint flakes of all sizes, many of them of most symmetrical form, some of great length and others of most diminutive size, scrapers of various forms and sizes, and cores or nuclei of flint abound.

Interspersed in the deposit are numerous large stones used as hearths, and occasionally, as it appears, arranged to form a sort of oven. There are also numbers of large pebbles of quartz, granite, and other rocks, some few of which, of spheroidal form, have had a slight recess worked in one of their faces so as to look like a sort of mortar ; a few others bear traces of rubbing upon them; and many others, especially of quartz, have their edges battered, or have even been broken, by having been used as hammers.

A few flint cores bear traces also of having been used in the same manner. Some of the flakes and scrapers have been broken diagonally from each side so as to produce a pointed end or tang, as if for insertion into a handle, or for use as a narrow chisel. But in addition to the worked flints, the beds contain a large number of implements, of various forms and sizes, made of Reindeer antler or of bone.

The principal of these are dart or arrow heads with a number of barbs running along either one or both sides, stylus shaped instruments, pointed at one end and chisel-shaped at the other (harpoon-points), and needles of good finish and workmanship, with neatly drilled eyes.

Some perforated pieces of reindeer antler, and others bearing the marks of sawing upon them, have also been found, as well as some bearing animal forms sculptured upon them, but not so finely engraved as those which will subsequently be mentioned. The deposit is of course full of animal remains, and the fauna is the same as that of the Cave of Les Eyzies.

madeleine map


Map of the shelter of La Madeleine.

Photo: Patrick Paillet
Source: Paillet (2011)




plan of la Madeleine excavations


The plan of the gisement at la Madeleine by Capitan and Peyrony, as well as some cross sections.

Photo: after Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




mammoth engraving


Drawing (engraving) of a woolly mammoth engraved on a plate of ivory found in the cavern of La Madeleine, Perigord

Photo: C. Lyell 'The Antiquity of Man' (1873)




mammoth engraving


Woolly mammoth engraved on a plate of ivory found in La Madeleine.

( note that this is a photo of a facsimile - Don )

Photo: Delporte.




mammoth engraving


A recent photograph of the mammoth from La Madeleine.

In its present size, the fragment of La Madeleine mammoth ivory measures 248 mm long and 106 mm width. Its thickness is 18 mm section on the left side and 8 mm on the fracture.

Photo: © Patrick Paillet (2009) avec l’autorisation du Département « Histoire de la Terre », Muséum national d’histoire naturelle.
Source: Paillet (2011)




mammoth engraving


The original mammoth from La Madeleine.

Photo: © Jc Domenech
https://storify.com/public/templates/slideshow/index.html?src=//storify.com/franceinter/visite-virtuelle-du-musee-de-l-homme#25




mammoth engraving


The original mammoth from La Madeleine.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source: Musée de l'Homme in Paris




mammoth engraving


A recent tracing of the mammoth from La Madeleine.

Photo: © Patrick Paillet (2009)
Source: Paillet (2011)




mammoth engraving


A selective tracing of the mammoth from La Madeleine.

Photo: © Patrick Paillet (2009)
Source: Paillet (2011)




mammoth engraving


The back of the piece of ivory on which the woolly mammoth was engraved in La Madeleine.

Photo: © Patrick Paillet (2009) avec l’autorisation du Département « Histoire de la Terre », Muséum national d’histoire naturelle.
Source: Paillet (2011)




Reindeer and calf Reindeer and calf


Reindeer and calf on a slab of limestone, from the excavations of Peyrony.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye




female reindeer and fawn


Female reindeer and calf engraved on a stone block. Such careful and realistic representation is typical of Leroi-Gourhan's late Style IV, from La Madeleine, Dordogne. 65 cm in length.

Photo: Sieveking (1979)
Source: Original on display at Le Musée de Saint-Germain-en-Laye




La Madeleine tools and artefactsLa Madeleine tools and artefacts


Left to right, left photo:

• Ciseau, chisel or wedge.
• Lissoir, polisher, used to stretch hides during the tanning process.
• Aiguille, eyed needle.
• Poinçon, awl, used to make holes in hides preparatory to sewing.
• Pointe double, thin rod sharpened at each end.

Left to right, right photo:

• Propulseur, spear thrower.
• Pendeloques, pendants, apparently of cave bear teeth.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye




La Madeleine tools and artefactsLa Madeleine tools and artefacts


Left to right, left photo:

• Sagaie à base fourchue sculptée, engraved spear point with forked base.
• Sagaie à biseau simple, spear point with a single bevel base.
• Harpon, harpoon.
• Baguette demi-ronde, half cylindrical spear point, one of a pair.

Left to right, right photo:

• Harpon, harpoon.
• Sagaie à biseau double, spear point with a double bevel base.
• Harpon, harpoon.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye




La Madeleine tools and artefactsLa Madeleine tools and artefacts


Left to right, left photo:

• Perçoir, drill.
• Perçoir, drill.
• Pointe de Laugerie-Basse, point typical of some points from Laugerie-Basse.

The Laugerie-Basse point shown in the drawing on the right has a particular shape and method of retouch which makes it quite unique.

Photo: (left) Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye

Photo: (right) Bordes et al. (1973)




La Madeleine tools and artefactsLa Madeleine tools and artefacts


Left to right, left photo:

• Four lamelles à dos, small backed blades.

• One lamelle denticulé, small toothed blade.

Right photo:

• Three burins.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye




La Madeleine tools and artefactsLa Madeleine tools and artefacts
(left photo): Burins

(right photo, on left of photo): Grattoir double, scraper on each end of the tool.

(right photo, centre and right): Grattoirs , scrapers.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye




La Madeleine tools and artefacts
Grattoirs, scrapers.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye




parrot beaked burin



Parrot beaked burin from la Madeleine.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, display at Musée d'Aquitaine à Bordeaux






In 1868 Gabriel de Martillet established a new timescale for the prehistoric centuries, and La Madeleine became the type site for "Magdalenian" times.



baton perce

Larger version

Bâton percé in deer antler.

Magdalenian, between 17 000 and 10 000 BP.

La Madeleine, Tursac, Dordogne, France.

Former collection of Édouard Lartet (1801 - 1871), Muséum of Toulouse.

Size : 165x48x21 mm

Photo: Original, Didier Descouens
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.




The site was also studied by Paul Girod and Elie Massenet, as well as numerous amateur investigators. Denis Peyrony restarted the research in 1911, and refined knowledge of the site. In 1926 the skeleton of a three year old child was discovered, with exquisite shell jewellery, dating from the end of the Magdalenian period. In 1968, following several years without further developments, the research was restarted by Jean-Marc Bouvier.

reindeer on bone

Fragment of decorated reindeer metatarsal (bone) engraved on the obverse surface with two reindeer, one of which is now incomplete; decorated bone; Palaeolithic; Madeleine, France.

Photo: © The Trustees of the British Museum
Text: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/9847457/Ice-Age-Art-in-pictures.html?frame=2470431










spike or compresseur

Assegai (spear point) with double beveled base from la Madeleine. Two views of the same object.



Sagaie à base biseautée double. Deux vues du même objet.

Magdalenian
Locality: Tursac, Dordogne, France ; site of La Madeleine
217 x 18 x 15 mm, 21.3 g
Collection Edouard & Louis Lartet
Muséum of Toulouse MHNT.PRE.2010.0.1.4

Photo: Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr
commissioned by Wikimédia France
Permission: licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 France license.




Madeleine tools




These are exceptionally well made tools from La Madeleine.

Photo: http://www.aggsbach.de/




horse on baton percé
Perforated baton with low relief horse, 16.6 cm long.

Late Magdalenian, about 12 500 years old
From the rockshelter of La Madeleine, Dordogne, France
Made from reindeer antler

Between about 14 000 and 10 000 years ago, many objects made of bone and antler were decorated with animals. At La Madeleine, horses seem to have been a particular favourite. Here the surface of the antler around the outline of the horse has been scraped away, so the body stands out in low relief.

The line of the horses' chest, the way in which the front legs point towards the back and the upward position of the tail all suggest that the animal is running. Its head and eye are large and not accurately to scale with the body. This may be the artist's way of emphasising the character of the animal in a small space. It is a common technique in portable art, but one that is rarely seen in the painted cave art of the period.


Source: www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_image.aspx?image=k125497.jpg&retpage=21186

Photo and Text: © The British Museum

Other Data:
Length: 16.600 cm
Excavated and bequeathed by Henry Christy
P&EE Sieveking Catalogue no. 310
Room 2





spear straightener

Same object as above, perforated baton with low relief horse, Late Magdalenian, about 12 500 years old, from the rock shelter of La Madeleine, Dordogne, France.

Made from reindeer antler, on display in the British Museum.

Photo: Johnbod
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.




La Madeleine tools and artefacts
Bâton percé gravé figurant une file de chevaux, spear straightener engraved with a line of three horses.

13 000 BP, reindeer antler, 31 cm long.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Facsimile, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye




spear straighteners

Pierced batons from la Madeleine.

Photo: Johnbod
Permission: licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Source: BM Ice Age Art Event, 2011


batons perce
(right) Pierced baton from La Madeleine, Tursac, in reindeer antler.

(left) Pierced baton from Cap Blanc.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Catalog: 60.524.1 (la Madeleine)
Source: Original, Musée d'Aquitaine à Bordeaux




Angles sur anglin



Fish carved in reindeer antler.

Photo: http://anetcha-parisienne.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/en-passant-par-saint-germain-en-laye.html
Source: Facsimiles on display at Le Musée de Saint-Germain-en-Laye




Madeleine feline

Carving of a feline on antler.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014

Source: Original, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Madeleine deer

Carving of a deer head on the point of a deer antler.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014

Source: Original, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Madeleine plaquette

Engraved plaquette.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014

Source: Original, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Madeleine compresseur

Compresseur from la Madeleine, Upper Magdalenian.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014

Source: Original, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Squelette panorama

Squelette panorama

The skeleton of the child burial at La Madeleine.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008, 2014




La sépulture de l'enfant de la Madeleine
Magdalénien final


Découverte par D. Peyrony en 1926, cette sépulture d'un enfant de 2 à 4 ans vient d'être datée par spectrométrie de masse de 10 190 ± 100 B.P. (fin de Magdalénien)

La structure funéraire reste modeste: une simple fosse accueille le corps allongé sur le dos; la tête placée au Sud, est entourée de trois pierres. Cette simplicité contraste avec une parure exceptionelle (présentée ci-contre), probablement ocrée, composée de près de 1500 pièces réparties sur le corps.

Burial of the la Madeleine child
Final Magdalenian

Discovered by D. Peyrony in 1926, this burial of a child 2 to 4 years old has been dated by mass spectrometry at 10 190 ± 100 BP (the end of the Magdalenian)

The funeral was modest: a simple pit houses the body lying on her back, her head placed to the south, and was surrounded by three stones. This simplicity contrasts with an exceptional adornment, probably sprinkled with ochre, comprising nearly 1 500 shells spread over the body. (probably originally sewn to a garment - Don)

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac
Text: Display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac

Parure Parure
La parure de l'enfant de La Madeleine (Tursac, Dordogne) est fortement enracinée dans le monde magdalénien, bien que datée de 10 190 ± 100 B.P.

En 1927, Denis Peyrony la découvrit ainsi: " [Le] squelette était allongé, étendu sur le dos, suivant la direction Nord-Sud, la tête vers ce dernier point [...]. De nombreux petits coquillages perforés (dentales et turritelles) et des dents percées, se trouvaient dans la région des chevilles, des genoux, des poignets, des coudes, du cou et de la tête [...]. Le cadavre de cet enfant enduit de rouge (saupoudré d'ocre, ou plus vraisemblablement peint avec cette matière), avait été déposé là soigneusement, orné d'une riche parure". L'analyse récente des objets renseigne sur la fabrication, l'assemblage et l'utilisation de cette parure. L'usure des coquillages, tronçonnés en tubes de petite taille, indique que les dentales auraient pu être cousus sur l'habit et que l'enfant aurait pu porter le vêtement de son vivant.




Le nombre d'objets impliqués et le temps nécessaire à la réalisation de cette parure évoquent une motivation dépassant l'affection parentale. Serait-ce lié à une hiérarchisation sociétale à base héréditaire ou à un statut social propre à cette classe d'âge dans les sociétés de la fin du Paléolithique Supérieur?
  1. Dentalium sp. (1275)
  2. Cyclopes (5)
  3. Turritelles (19)
  4. Néritenes (24)
  5. Canine de renard
  6. Phalange de lagomorphe
  7. Humérus de lagomorphe
  8. Vertèbre de poisson
The parure (a parure is a set of various items of matching jewellery) of the child from La Madeleine is strongly rooted in the Magdalenian world, although dated 10 190 ± 100 BP, at the very end of the period.

In 1927, Denis Peyrony discovered the burial: "The skeleton was lying, stretched out on its back, in the North-South direction, head to the South.... Many small perforated shells (Dentalia and Turritella) and pierced teeth were in the region of the ankles, knees, wrists, elbows, neck and head. The corpse of the child, which was covered with red ochre (sprinkled, or more likely painted with ochre), was removed carefully, and was decorated with a rich parure. The child wore seashells, cut into small tubes, so that the Dentalia shells could be sewn onto the garment, and the child could wear the vestments for the rest of time.

The number of objects involved and the time required to achieve this dress evoke motivation beyond parental affection. Could this be related to a social hierarchy based hereditary or social status specific to this age group in the societies of the late Upper Palaeolithic?
  1. Dentalium sp. (1275)
  2. Cyclope sp. (5)
  3. Turritella (19)
  4. Néritenes (Neritidae?) (24)
  5. Fox canine tooth
  6. Lagomorpha phalange (Lagomorpha are animals from the hare/rabbit family)
  7. Lagomorpha humerus (Lagomorpha are animals from the hare/rabbit family)
  8. Fish vertebra
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Originals on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac


plan of la Madeleine sepulture
Excavated by D. Peyrony in 1926 (Peyrony 1926, 1927, Capitan et Peyrony 1928) in the eponymous site of the Magdalenian, the tomb of the La Madeleine child was discovered in a strongly ochred depression, located in the eastern part of the shelter 260 cm from the wall.

Although Peyrony estimated the remains to be of a child of 5 to 7 years old, they correspond more closely to an individual aged between 2 and 4 years of age.

The child had been deposited lying on the back. The head, facing south, was surrounded by three stones and decorated, as was the neck, elbows, wrists, knees and ankles by "many small shells and perforated teeth" (Capitan et Peyrony, 1928). Unfortunately, Peyrony did not give more precise information on the nature and location of these objects.

Their representation in the drawing that illustrates the burial site of the monograph is too schematic to identify them and do not reveal morphological differences sufficient to identify each category of objects and identify their location on the skeleton.

In its inventory of shell ornaments associated with this burial Taborin (1993) mentions 900 Dentalium, 160 Neritina, 20 Cyclope and 36 Turritella shells.

The attribution of this tomb in Magdalenian IV, given by Capitan and Peyrony and accepted by most authors, has recently been contradicted by the direct dating by AMS 14C of a fragment of the skull of the child which gave an age of 10,190 ± 100 BP (95,457 GIFA) or 9990-10390 cal BP, which assigns the child to the Azilian period.

Photo: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)

Text: translated from Vanhaeren et d’Errico (2001)




parures - ornaments from the child burial




Ornaments found in a box labelled "Magdalenian IV" but probably belonging to the La Madeleine child.

Photo and text: Vanhaeren et d’Errico (2001)




map of likely source of Dentalium






It seems likely that the Dentalium shells used for parure on the Madeleine child were collected from beaches. Shown on the map are the location of the La Madeleine site and Miocene fossil outcrops from Saucats-La Brède. Coastline at 10 ka BP is indicated by a solid line, present day coast by an interrupted line.

Bottom: Geological map with the location of the La Madeleine site (white dot). C3EZ: Middle–Upper Coniacian, C4BS: Lower Santonian, C4MZ: Middle Santonian, A, E, C, FC, FX: Quaternary formations.

While the identification of the source of shells used as personal ornaments is crucial for determining home range and exchange networks of prehistoric hunter-gatherers, it is often difficult to identify the coastal versus fossil origin of the shells as most genera used as beads were available both at beaches and fossil outcrops. Here we present the first application of 87Sr / 86Sr isotope dating to identify the origin of Upper Palaeolithic shell beads. We analysed four out of a collection of one thousand Dentalium shells associated to the La Madeleine child burial dated to and one Dentalium from the occupation layers of this site.

87Sr / 86Sr ratios indicate that shells were collected by Late Upper Palaeolithic beadworkers on far away beaches rather than at nearer Miocene outcrops. This may be due to the narrowness of Miocene Dentalium shells, incompatible with the size of bone needles used to sew these shell beads on clothes.

Photo and text: Vanhaeren et al (2004)




Squelette panorama
A Middle Magdalenian Burial

La sépulture de Saint-Germain-La-Rivière, Magdalénien moyen.

Découverte en 1934 par R. Blanchard, La sépulture de Saint-Germain-La-Riviere abritait le squelette complètement enduit d'ocre d'une femme d'une trentaine d'années richement parée. Les parois de la fosse étaient étayées par des dalles formant caisson, lui-même recouvert de deux grosses pierres plates constituant le couvercle. Il semble que cette structure de 'dolmen' abusivement admise pendant longtemps, ait été créée de toute pièce par les conditions particulières dans lesquelles s'est effectuée la fouille.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac
Text: Display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac


Squelette grave
La présentation proposée aujourd'hui parait beaucoup plus fiable. La position latérale fortement fléchie semble caractéristique de l'époque et se différencie nettement des inhumations postérieures (voir, à proximité, les sépultures de la Madeleine ou du Roc-de-Cave). Le squelette a tout récemment été daté de 15 780 ± 200 BP, comme d'autres fossiles humains de la région, contemporains du Magdalénien moyen (Chancelade et Laugerie-Basse IV par exemple).

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac
Text: Display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac


Squelette
The burial at Saint-Germain-la-Rivière, Middle Magdalenian.

Discovered in 1934 by R. Blanchard, the grave at Saint-Germain-la-Riviere contained a skeleton completely coated with ochre, of a richly adorned woman, about thirty years of age. It had been reported that the walls of the pit were supported by slabs forming a box, itself covered with two large flat stones forming the cover. It seems that this 'dolmen' structure was wrongfully accepted for a long time, but it is now believed that the structure had been falsely understood by the particular conditions under which the excavations were performed at that time.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac
Text: Display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac


Squelette grave
The presentation proposed today seems much more reliable. (see the way the position of the stones is now interpreted, left - Don ). The highly flexed lateral position seems characteristic of the time and is clearly distinguishable from subsequent burials (see, nearby, the graves of la Madeleine or the Roc de Cave).

The skeleton has recently been dated to 15 780 ± 200 BP, like other human fossils in the region, in the contemporary Middle Magdalenian (Chancelade and Laugerie Basse IV for example).

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac
Text: Display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac


madeleine pebble




Human profile engraved on a pebble from la Madeleine.

Photo: http://www.arretetonchar.fr/




Cyclope neritea
Cyclope neritea, one of the cyclope shells, from Spain, San Carlos de la Rapita. On sand, 20 cm deep. June 2001.

This is probably not the same species as was used for the La Madeleine parure, but gives some idea of the genus.

Photo: http://www.conchology.be/en/availableshells/shellsforsaledetails.php?uniquenumber=305516#f




Theodoxus fluviatilis
Theodoxus fluviatilis, common name the river nerite, is a small species of freshwater and brackish water snail with a gill and an operculum. It is an aquatic gastropod mollusk in the family Neritidae, the nerites. (This I think is similar to the shells labelled Néritenes in the display of the parure of the Magdalenian child. - Don)

Photo: Wikipedia




Turritella
There are many species of Turritella, and those in the parure were not identified to species, but one of the most common in Europe is Turritella communis, a species of medium-sized sea snails with an operculum, marine gastropod mollusks in the family Turritellidae.

The photo shows three beachworn shells of Turritella communis from North Wales

Photo: Wikipedia




Parure
Deer teeth and cowrie shells from one of the burials at La Madeleine.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Parure Parure
Parures Funéraires

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




Parure Parure Parure


Evocation d'une parure paléolithique
F. Boutis, 2004

La réalisation de ces pièces contemporaines s'est appuyée sur l'étude d'éléments de parures paléolithique.

Evocation of a Paleolithic parure
F. Boutis, 2004

This beautiful recreation was based on study of the elements of Paleolithic decorated clothing.

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




Parure
Several views of a single deer canine, drilled for a necklace.

Photo: (fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Collier_1.8_global.jpg)
Date: 14 juin 2010
Photo: Didier Descouens
Permission: En tant que détenteur du droit d’auteur, je publie cette œuvre sous la licence suivante : w:fr:Creative Commons, paternité partage à l’identique. Ce fichier est disponible selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Paternité – Partage des conditions initiales à l’identique 3.0 Unported

Source: Original on display at the Muséum de Toulouse MHNT PRE 2010.0.1.8 (Size 20x11x7 mm)


Parure
A necklace from Abri du Rocher de la Peine, near Les Eyzies.

It is Magdalenian in age, and consists of three cave bear teeth and one lion tooth, together with other drilled teeth and shells, including fossil Dentalium shells.

This is the description from Beloit College, the Logan Museum of Anthropology:

Magdalenian IV, ca. 12 000 BP

Dentalium shell and bear, lion, fox and deer teeth

Largest tooth 8.5 cm

Rocher de la Peine, Les Eyzies (Dordogne), France

Museum Purchase

LMA 4.7.253

These objects were purchased in 1925 from Jean Esclafer, a local miller who had excavated the site, and from whom the Logan Museum leased the site for further exploration. Three of the large teeth are bear canines, the fourth is from a lion (second from the right). A number of smaller teeth are also present: a wolf incisor, a deer canine and incisor, and a fox canine.

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




Parure

Necklace detail.

LMA 4.7.253

A detail of the lion canine reveals a series of incisions along all sides of the tooth. The tooth has been flattened and drilled for use as a pendant in a necklace. The incisions may indicate that this was considered a valued piece, perhaps because it came from a lion rather than from the more common bear.

Photo and text: http://www.beloit.edu/logan_online/exhibitions/virtual_exhibitions/before_history/europe/rocher_de_la_peine.php




Parure
Necklace detail from Rocher de la Peine.

LMA 4.7.253

A variety of other teeth and shell form the remainder of the pendants. Here we have, (from the top), a red deer incisor, turritella shell, fox canine and cowrie shell. Such variety indicates the relative rarity of the various pieces, as well as a degree of artistic sensibility.

The site at the Abri Rocher de la Peine was excavated in 1926 by George Collie and Alonzo Pond, and has been referred to as the "Logan Museum site". The site yielded a large number of ivory objects.

Photo and text: http://www.beloit.edu/logan_online/exhibitions/virtual_exhibitions/before_history/europe/rocher_de_la_peine.php




rocher de la pein postcard




An early postcard of the Abri Rocher de la Peine.

Photo: Oeuil de Lynx, http://www.flickr.com/photos/oeuil_de_lynx/2250600432/lightbox/




rocher de la pein rocher de la pein



rocher de la pein
Abri Rocher de la Peine.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014




Bison Hyena Bison




Carvings from La Madeleine in the Dordogne

These stunning pieces of art were used as propulseurs. A bison licking its shoulder on the left, a hyena in the centre, and what I think of as the 'sad' bison on the far right.

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

propulseur propulseur
Bison, left side.

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




propulseur
Close up of the head and forequarters of the bison.

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




propulseur propulseur
Bison, shown from the rear of the sculpture.

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




bison bison

Right side of bison.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014

Source: Original, le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




bison

Bison sculpture from the front, showing left and right sides.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014

Source: Original, le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




propulseur
This is the front of the hyena propulseur.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




propulseur
The artist has included the ground surface on which the hyena is sneaking up on its prey. This is like a scene in nature, a superb piece of work.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




propulseur
This is the rarely photographed back of the hyena propulseur, showing clearly the many pieces that the propulseur was found in, as well as a good view of the hook used to propel the dart.

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




Hyena

This is a large version of this very important work, and I am grateful to the uploader of the image. I have flipped it horizontally to agree with reality.

Wikipedia text: Part of a spear thrower made ​​of reindeer antler, found in the Abri La Madeleine (Tursac in the Dordogne, France). Exhibit of the National Prehistoric Museum in Eyzies-de-Tayac.

Photo: Klaus D. Peter, Wiehl, Germany
Permission: Creative Commons License Attribution 3.0 Germany




(note that this photo seems to have been slightly stretched longitudinally compared with all the photos I have taken.

At the time of writing, December 2014, readers may compare the versions at:

de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Datei:Propulseur_hy%C3%A8ne_rampante_-_La_Madeleine_-_Tursac_-_MNP.png&filetimestamp=20110823160802

and at:

de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Speerschleuder_LaMadeleine.jpg

The photos on the main Wikipedia page for this artefact have all been horizontally flipped except for the 2009 version. They have been outlined to remove the background, which is rarely a good idea. I am very grateful that Wikipedia gives the various versions which have been posted, a very responsible attitude, such as we have come to expect from Wikipedia in all sorts of ways. I had not realised before the great value of this particular idiosyncrasy of Wikipedia - Don
)


Harpoons

African hyena, photographed in Kenya.

Note the characteristic long muscular neck, short hind legs, and prominent ears.

Photo: © L. Franco
Source: https://www.emaze.com/@AFTZQLOI/African-Wild-Dog






propulseur
'Sad' bison, left side.

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




propulseur bison


'Sad' bison, right side.

The piece is an amulet, the remains of a suspension hole may be seen at the throat.

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




Harpoons

Harpoons and other bone/antler tools from La Madeleine in the Dordogne

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




harpoons
These are labelled as ciseaux, or chisels. The term is somewhat enigmatic, and I have been unable to find a sensible use, or even a reliable definition, for items of this type. The ones shown here are basically cylindrical, with one end narrower than the other, and somewhat sharpened. Number 19 is labelled as a double bevel chisel.

Many are flat, like modern chisels, but without handles. Being of bone or antler, they could have been used (for purposes suitable for what we now think of chisels) on only the most delicate of tasks, perhaps breaking apart bones previously weakened by a burin to form shapes suitable for bone spear points, for example.

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




harpoons
Left to right: Three baguettes demi-ronde, and two batons percé.

The baguettes demi-ronde are half cylinders which were wrapped around a flint point forming the end of an ivory or antler or bone spear head, depending on the material of which they were made. They were then attached to a spear/dart shaft, and were treated as, to some extent, disposable, as opposed to the spear shaft which was not easy to replace, and required a great deal of work to create, as well as the raw material (long, thin saplings) being in short supply in many times of the palaeolithic.

At this time, climatic conditions were harsh, and not conducive to the growth of such plants. In addition, spear shafts/darts were long and awkward to lug around, and not many could be carried by a hunter at one time, whereas many prepared spear heads could be easily transported in a small leather bag, and swapped fairly easily as required. The spear heads were designed to come apart from the shafts once they had sunk into the prey, leaving the shafts to be collected undamaged, and reused.

The baton percé second from the right calls into question the alleged purpose of these tools as spear straighteners. This small, delicate tool could never have served this purpose.

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


tool

Decorated diaphyse, the middle portion of a long bone, Middle Magdalenian.

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


bone horse head engraving


Engraving of a horse head on a diaphysis, the middle of a long bone, Middle Magdalenian.

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




lion engraving

Engraving of a lion head on a sandstone plaque, Upper Magdalenian.

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




pebble engraving

Pebble engraved with a pattern, Upper Magdalenian.

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




pebble engraving

Engraving of an ibex on a pebble, Upper Magdalenian.

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




bone engraving

Engraved rib, used as a compressor in flint knapping, Middle Magdalenian.

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




bone engraving

Engraved horse head on a diaphyse, the middle of a long bone, Middle Magdalenian.

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




bone engraving

Engraved horse head on a rib, Middle Magdalenian.

This is a quite rectilinear design, with even the eye shown as a rectangle.

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




bone engraving
Middle Magdalenian.

40 Antler.
41 Rib.
42 Shaft, probably a propulseur, a spear thrower.
43 Propulseur, spear thrower.
44 Probable propulseur, spear thrower.
45 Sculpted antler, probably a leg.

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




bone engraving bone engraving
Middle Magdalenian.

(left) Rib.

(right) Lissoir, a polisher for preparing leather.

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




Harpoons





Harpoons from La Madeleine in the Dordogne

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




Lamp

Lamp carved in limestone, from la Madeleine. It would have had fat or oil in the depression, with a twist of moss or string for a wick.

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




stone engraving stone engraving

Reindeer.

From la Madeleine.

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




stone engraving stone engraving

Male reindeer bellowing during the rutting season.

From la Madeleine.

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




stone engraving stone engraving

Male reindeer bellowing during the rutting season.

From la Madeleine.

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




stone engraving stone engraving

Reindeer, horses, other animals, and indeterminate lines.

From la Madeleine.

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




stone engraving


stone engraving stone engraving

Grazing reindeer.

From la Madeleine.

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




stone engraving stone engraving

Head, neck, shoulders and chest of a reindeer.

From la Madeleine.

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




stone engraving stone engraving

Aurochs and the hindquarters of a horse.

From la Madeleine.

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




stone engraving stone engraving

Hindquarters of a reindeer.

From la Madeleine.

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




stone engraving


stone engraving stone engraving

Horse.

From la Madeleine.

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




stone engraving


stone engraving

Lynx, indeterminate signs and lines.

From la Madeleine.

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




reindeer



Engraving of a reindeer on stone, Magdalenian.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




aurochs



Engraving of an aurochs on stone, Magdalenian.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Ibex



Ibex carved on a rib, from Grotte des Eyzies, Magdalenian.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Bison



Bison carved on a lissoir, a polisher, from Arancou, Magdalenian.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




pendant

Bone pendant decorated with an engraved drawing of a wolverine, Late Magdalenian, around 12&nbp;500 years old.

Probably from the cave of Les Eyzies, Dordogne, France

Photo: Johnbod
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


horses

Two horses carved on a propulseur or spear thrower, from La Madeleine.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




reliquiaeaquitan00lartuoft_raw_0374madeleinesm


Fig. 1. A cylindrical piece of reindeer antler, on which are carved two outlines of fishes, one on each side. In the figure here given, the form of the head, the shape of the gills, an obscure indication of the back-fin, and the proportions and general appearance permit us to refer this fish to one of the freshwater kind, probably of the Cyprinoid (Carp) family.

The fragment is broken at both ends ; and we can scarcely form an opinion as to its original use, and whether, indeed, it was an ornament or not. From La Madelaine.

Fig. 2. This is a piece of bird's bone, broken at both ends by old fractures. The absence of an articular extremity makes it very difficult to attribute a specific relation for this bone. Nevertheless, in spite of its broken and worn condition, we may recognise the upper part of a cubitus of a very large palmipede (web footed bird), probably a swan. On it is engraved the incomplete figure of a four-footed mammal standing still.

( Note that the pepper's patches evident on this mammal identify it as a young and/or female reindeer - Don )

By the old fracture of the fore part the head has been lost; but what remains of the shoulder, rising towards the withers, which join by a slight incurving the line of the back, that ends in a short tail, enables us to recognise the reindeer, so often represented by the aborigines of Périgord. The four legs, but not their extremities, are shown. Hatchings or indications of hair under the line of the back, at the beginning of the limbs, and below the ribs, have given a kind of relief to the drawing. It is not apparent for what intention this figure has been surcharged with a longitudinal series of chevrons or zigzag lines from shoulder to haunch. The figure is in other respects boldly drawn, and the contours vigorously rendered.

From La Madelaine.

Fig. 3. This is also a fragment, broken at the ends, and showing at one of them the broken rim of a hole intended either for hanging it up by, or for some other use. The material is of stag's antler, the red deer (Cervus elaphus); and the animal which we find represented on it is certainly a ruminant with complex antlers. The animal is squatting, having the legs folded under the body. The form of the head, with the mouth open, is not sufficiently characteristic for determining the species; but the disposition of the antlers is certainly that of the Common Stag (Cervus elaphus), bearing a chief branch, surmounted by a smaller one, and followed by the middle branch. We may see, moreover, behind, the commencement of the top-branching.

The shoulder, slimmer than in the Reindeer, bears two rows of hatchings or marks for hair; and we see others on the forehead, and some patches of lines thrown in here and there on the body, probably to give relief to the drawing.

On the opposite face of this specimen, which we thought to be too difficult to figure, we find confusedly intermixed several engravings, amongst which, how- ever, we can distinguish the leg and foot of a Horse, sufficiently well designed. From La Madelaine.

Fig. 4. A very thin slice of reindeer antler, broken on several sides, and on which is the figure of an animal somewhat difficult to define as to its specific characters. The size and shortness of the shoulder, in excluding the reindeer, the stag, and the horse, might yet serve for a Bovine animal; but the fracture at the attachment of the antlers deprives us of the means of judging if it be of this character. The withers do not seem high enough for the Aurochs ; or, at least, they would do only for a young individual. The marks for hair, indicated on different parts of the body, are also distributed with intelligence, for the purpose of making the drawing more effective.

From Les Eyzies.

Fig.5. The material here used by the old engraver is not the antler of the reindeer, but a plate from the cannon-bone or metatarsal of that animal. Of the design, unfortunately, only a part remains; it comprised at least two animals. Of one, we see the hinder part ; but its croup (rump) is hidden by the head of the one that follows. This last appears to us to be a reindeer. The general attitude, the form of the shoulder, and the different outlines would leave small doubt as to the species to which it is to be referred, were it not more evidently confirmed by the tuft of hair, characteristic of the male Reindeer, which appears under the chest in front of the brisket. The head, though well set on, is short and not very correct in design: the lower lip has too salient an angle at the chin; the nose is dilated at the muzzle, as it is not in the reindeer; and the eyes are immoderately large. In front of the ear there is, as an indication of antlers, a slender horn without a brow-antler, and which would seem as if a young animal was meant to be represented. The hatchings, or marks for hair, are cut on different parts of the figure to mark the projections either of bone or muscle. By the attitude of the body and a certain degree of animation expressed in the head, the figure recalls tolerably well the drawing of a young reindeer by Count Mellin in plate viii. of his ' Natural History of the Reindeer'

Fig. 6. This is a piece of the palm of a Reindeer's Antler, by the natural contour of which the old artist has profited in engraving on its two sides, in light lines, the profile of the head and fore body of an animal which we cannot refer to any other than the Bouquetin or Ibex (Capra ibex). Its head is rather heavy, and the forehead is not hollow enough. The horns, sketched on one of the branches of the palm, are thin and without exactitude of proportion; nevertheless their simple curvature and the absence of any sign of twist in them permit us rather to refer this animal to the ibex of the Alps than to that of the Pyrenees. Lastly, it is to the ibex of the Alps that we may refer other natural and very well characterised remains that have been discovered in the Caves of this district of France.

From Laugerie Basse.

Fig. 7. Here we find a piece of the beam of a reindeer antler, with indication of a hole for suspension, and with broken ends. Two animals are here figured evidently galloping, with nose in the air. However much the sketch is wanting in exactitude, nevertheless the general attitude and physiognomy of the two animals, combined with a manifest expression of certain zoological characters (among others, the dilatation of the antlers, however incorrect it may be), make them, in our eyes, represent two reindeer better than anything else.

On the opposite side of this piece of the beam of a horn are engraved two figures of Horses, which have not been reproduced on our Plate, in view of our having occasion to figure others in the course of this Publication.

From La Madelaine.

Figs. 8 a, 8b. The objects here represented are, in the original, engraved on the face of a cylindrical rod, which our artist has rendered diagrammatically in two separate figures, so as to reproduce the whole in halves.

On one of these halves (represented as a flat surface, fig. 8 a) we see two heads, one after the other, evidently referable to a Bovine genus. We may add that characters for a determination of the species are not altogether wanting. The points of attachment and the direction of the horns suffice, by themselves, to decide for the Aurochs; whilst, moreover, a more significant indication could not be offered than the convexity of the forehead and the presence of hair-tufts, both on the face and under the throat.

On the opposite side of the other half-cylinder (reproduced as a plane in fig. 8 b) we see, in a medley of figures, sometimes upside down, first, a human form, with the limbs not finished very incorrectly, although the face is without any expression a negligence probably intentional on the part of the ancient artist, who has perfectly characterised, close by it, a horse's head and part of its chest, with their details pretty well rendered.

More to the right, we perceive a second horse's head, not so well cut. To the left of and behind the human form, amongst rows of dashes, or figures, of which we cannot comprehend either the intention or value, there is an outline (reversed with respect to the other figures) of a serpent, or rather of an eel with indications of the tail fin; and its head, with mouth open, approaches the leg of the human figure.

In this bizarre group of figures, or in the figures themselves, we avow we cannot see any intention or premeditated arrangement; and if others, more knowing, think that they here recognise the expression of an allegory, or of any symbolism, we very willingly leave to them the merit as well as the responsibility.

( No provenance is given, but other sources give it as La Madelaine/Madeleine, (origin not specified by the authors, but it is from La Madeleine, as below)  - Don )

Source and text: Lartet and Christy (1875)
Proximal source: archive.org








Carved rod


Photo of a human figure, snake ( identified by Lartet and Christy (1875) as an eel - Don ) and horse heads on a bone from La Madeleine, indicating two arced leaves on a branch. Note the depth of the engraved notational marks at the left.

Photo and text: Marshack (1972)


Carved rod


This is Marshack's drawing of the piece above.

Photo: Marshack (1972)




Carved rod


This is Breuil's drawing of the piece above. Note that, as Marshack points out, the twig the man is carrying has leaves which arc in an opposite direction to the one on the object, and also that the mouth and eye drawn by Breuil are not really there, but only seem to be there because of breaks and marks on the bone.

Photo and text: Marshack (1972)




Carved rod


This is Lartet and Christy's drawing of the piece, showing the other side, and their description.

The objects here represented are, in the original, engraved on the face of a cylindrical rod, which our artist has rendered diagrammatically in two separate figures, so as to reproduce the whole in halves.

On one of these halves (represented as a flat surface, at 8 a) we see two heads, one after the other, evidently referable to a Bovine genus. We may add that characters for a determination of the species are not altogether wanting. The points of attachment and the direction of the horns suffice, by themselves, to decide for the aurochs; whilst, moreover, a more significant indication could not be offered than the convexity of the forehead and the presence of hair-tufts, both on the face and under the throat.

On the opposite side of the other half-cylinder (reproduced as a plane in 8 b) we see, in a medley of figures, sometimes upside down, first, a human form, with the limbs not finished very incorrectly, although the face is without any expression a negligence probably intentional on the part of the artist, who has perfectly characterised, close by it, a horse's head and part of its chest, with their details pretty well rendered.

More to the right, we perceive a second horse's head, not so well cut. To the left of and behind the human form, amongst rows of dashes, or figures, of which we cannot comprehend either the intention or value, there is an outline (reversed with respect to the other figures) of a snake, or rather of an eel with indications of the tail-fin; and its head, with mouth open, approaches the leg of the human figure. In this bizarre group of figures, or in the figures themselves, we avow we cannot see any intention or premeditated arrangement; and if others, more knowing, think that they here recognise the expression of an allegory, or of any symbolism, we very willingly leave to them the merit as well as the responsibility.

Source and text: Lartet and Christy (1875)
Proximal source: archive.org



reliquiaeaquitan00lartuoft_raw_0402bothsidessm


Bone Implements etc.

B. Plates III. & IV. (One Plate.)

The dimensions of the objects we have at present to describe make it necessary for the plate to be of double the ordinary size. Hence plates B. III. & IV. have to be consolidated in one.

( I have made an attempt to join these plates, no easy task since a sheet of glass had been used to hold down the pages, which distorted both plates optically at the edges, and the plates were not separated by white space, but met in the 'join' ( hinge ) of the book - Don )

Some of the specimens before us, showing to some extent the form that it was intended they should take, can be regarded only as having been roughly begun (if indeed they be not remnants from which material has been removed), as they keep the ruggedness of fracture even where they would have to be held while being completed. Such are specimens figs. 2 and 3. Many of those who have examined the four almost complete specimens figured in this plate have thought that they may have been used as weapons by the primitive people; and this interpretation, though not unsuitable for figs. 2 and 3, would be less applicable to figs. 1 and 4.

There have been found many stems or beams of reindeer antlers ornamentally carved throughout their length. Some, moreover, are pierced with a hole in the broad part near the base (fig. 4); and there are others that have two, three, and even four such perforations. We shall subsequently figure a reindeer antler with four holes, arranged in a row along its stem. Very flat and thin, its thickness having been reduced by cutting, it could scarcely have been used either as a weapon or as an implement for any work whatever. Others have not been pierced at all. The holes referred to are sometimes large enough to admit of the finger, frequently much smaller.

It has been suggested that these reindeer antlers, so fashioned, and sometimes ornamented with careful and very numerous carvings, might have been either symbols of authority, or simply marks of social position.

Fig. 1. The stem or beam of a reindeer's antler, rather slender, probably from a young individual, or a doe. It was a shed antler; and these are always harder and more compact than others; such, indeed, are even at the present time preferred by workmen who use this substance in the arts. The brow-antler and the second branch (bez-antler) have been taken off; and close behind their place of attachment the stem has been perforated with two round holes, of unequal size, and edged with a raised border. On the long part of the stem some outlined shapes are carved. Two of these (shown in the figure) are generally taken for figures of fishes. The tail of the second of these is confused with the much better-defined head of a horse, of which the ear, the mane, the line of the hack, and even the tail leave little to find fault with; but the artist, cramped doubtless by want of space, has been more negligent in reproducing the legs. On the side opposite to that shown on the plate are three other fish-like figures, and a fourth is on the concave surface, altogether forming a group of six fishes. There is nothing represented on the other side of the horse. The further end of the specimen having been lost by an old fracture, we cannot tell whether it was obtuse or pointed.

From La Madelaine.

Fig. 2. At first sight this specimen is always taken for a Poniard ( or poignard - a small, pointed dagger - Don ). It has indeed been evidently tapered and pointed at one end (either intentionally, or by removal of material to be otherwise used); but at the other end, or butt, which would have been the handle, the rough parts, left on detaching the two branches near the base, have not been smoothed down. This horn was broken from the skull, and has some of the frontal bone still attached. The intention may have been to ornament the butt by carving; and even now this rugged end fits the grasp of the hand, like a rough pistol-butt.

From La Madelaine (?).

Fig. 3. Another antler, larger than the foregoing, and also broken from the forehead of the freshly killed reindeer. Both the brow-antler, and the second branch higher up (bez-antler), have been shortened, but not cut off at the base. Several lines have been cut along the beam; and the two middlemost of these border a series of little rhombs, cut in relief, for nearly the whole length. The specimen thins off gradually towards the extremity, which (lost by recent fracture) was probably pointed, with a slanting edge. Although the ornament was considerably advanced in this specimen, the workman had not removed the projections of the broken branches and frontal bone from the part which ought to serve for the handle, and which perhaps was intended to receive one or more holes, or to be carved in some other manner.

From Laugerie Basse.

Fig. 4. Another antler, belonging to a young reindeer, or rather to a female, judging by its small proportions. There is a round hole through it at the broad part where the brow-antler was set on. The stem is marked both by several longitudinal furrows and by numerous irregular cross cuts. If this was meant for ornament, it must be regarded as very coarse work. At its base this antler is still attached to the broken frontal bone. It is truncate at the further extremity.

From La Madelaine.

Fig. 5. A much carved and flattened piece of reindeer antler, broken at both ends, but bearing three entire holes and part of a fourth. The holes have a raised border given to them by a groove running more or less parallel to the circumference, above and below, but not between the holes.

We cannot possibly guess the original form and use of this specimen, any more than those of the following, except from its anaology to the other perforated deer antlers, described above.

From La Madelaine.

Fig. 6a, 6b. Another fragment, analogous to fig. 5, bearing three holes at least. On one of its surfaces (fig. 6b) is carved a series of figures comparable with a vertebral column, or the fleshless back-bone of an animal, five and a half of such joint-like or hourglass-like shapes being visible.

( I can only make out four and a half of these hourglass-like shapes - Don )

From La Madelaine.

Source and text: Lartet and Christy (1875)
Proximal source: archive.org







Venus of La Madeleine

Ciseau



This piece was labelled "Ciseau - Magdalénien moyen" which translates literally as "Chisel - Middle Magdalenian". It is 131 mm long.

It looked to me more like a rough draft for a venus figure, and Duhard (2009-2010) (see below) agree.

It was discovered by Capitan and Peyrony at La Madeleine, (Capitan et Peyrony, 1928) and was described as a dagger blade made of reindeer antler. 'It was decorated with deep oblique furrows, symmetrical, two by two, from the edge and converging towards the middle without meeting. The handle bears a longitudinal groove and three arcs deeply incised, presumably to avoid slipping when held in the hand. The deep incisions were probably intended to promote the flow of blood from injured animals.'

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




horses horses horses horses
(left) Anterior side (cortical bone), 131 mm long.
(left centre) Right lateral side with bow form frieze
(right centre) Back (spongy bone)
(right) Left lateral side with longitudinal groove.

This object, elongated and with a semi-circular section, is shown in a case in Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, and labeled 'fragment of antler, chisel'.

Its true nature did not escape N. Aujoulat who in his inventory of portable art of the MNP, has called it a 'probable anthropomorphic sculpture'. Rightly so, because it is actually a human, specifically a female figure carved and engraved, represented by the upper trunk to the beginning of the thighs.

Coming from the Magdalenian IV, this is a segment of cortical reindeer antler, an elongated and round semi-section 131 mm long, 30 mm wide and 13 mm thick, cut from a reindeer antler, probably in the antler or antlers of the central stem.

Reindeer had to be the principal game because 'reindeer antlers were piled up in all directions and formed a powerful deposit in the lower layer' as reported by Capitan et Peyrony, (1928)

The object is unlikely to have been used as a dagger or chisel. Nothing is less certain: it is small, appears fragile and has no sharp proximal or distal end.

Photo and text: Duhard (2009-2010)




horses

Detail of the pelvis, 30 mm wide.

Photo and text: Duhard (2009-2010)




venus figure madeleine
Another view of the same venus figure.

Label:
Bois de renne sculpté
La Madeleine
Fouilles Capitan et Peyrony
Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, musée national de Préhistoire
MNP 1928-7-16

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux









engraved spear straightener
Engraved spear straightener.

Label:
Bàton percé gravé
La Madeleine
Fouilles Capitan et Peyrony
Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, musée national de Préhistoire,
MNP 1928-7-4

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux




engraved spear straightener
Engraved spear straightener, with an unidentified animal engraved on the shaft. The spear straightener has had one hole broken out, and another inserted. It was obviously a favourite implement of the hunter who made it.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux




engraved spear straightener
As above, viewed from a higher angle, label:
Bàton percé gravé, la Madeleine, Fouilles Bouvier
Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, musée national de Préhistoire, MNP 1996-9-1-3

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux



engraved spear straightener
Engraved spear straightener, as above.

The animal engraved is not part of the standard repertoire of images. With its large eyes, small ears, whiskers and fur/hair at the throat, and a streamlined body, it looks like an aquatic mammal.

As AnnDee points out, it is probably an otter.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux




engraved spear straightener
Otters are members of Mustelidae, the weasel family. They are highly inquisitive predators with voracious appetites and rapid metabolisms. Otters differ from their land-dwelling cousins, weasels and ferrets, in a very important way: they are specially adapted for life in the water. The bodies of otters are generally long and slender, with flattened tails that they use like a rudder to steer through the water. They all have webbed hind feet and most have webbing on the front feet, making them very strong and agile swimmers. For the most part, otters divide their time between the land and the water. They are very opportunistic predators and they will occasionally take prey such as insects and small mammals while on land. However, otters do the bulk of their hunting underwater, coming ashore only to rest, mark their territories, or care for their young.

The water in which otters feed is often very muddy or dark, making hunting by eyesight difficult at best. To cope with these conditions otters have stiff whiskers, called vibrissae, around their faces and on their elbows. The vibrissae help otters feel the vibrations caused by swimming prey, allowing them to track fish, frogs or crustaceans in water that is murky or deep. These waters may also be fairly cold, and (unlike marine mammals like seals and whales) otters do not have a layer of blubber to keep them warm. Instead, otters fluff their fur with their paws to trap air in their thick coats. The trapped air acts as insulation from the cold.

Photo: oceana.org/en/explore/marine-wildlife/european-otter
Text: adapted from http://www.conservenature.org/learn_about_wildlife/otters/otters.htm




engraved bone
This engraving on a rib bone shows a mammal's head, possibly an ibex, on the right. My thanks for interpretation of this piece to Andrea Castelli.

Length 65 mm, width 15 to 18 mm, thickness 4 mm.


Label:
Côte gravée
La Madeleine
Fouilles Bouvier
Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, Musée national de Préhistoire
MNP 1996-9-1-7

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux
Additional text: Crémades (1994)



engraved bone
This carved spear point may represent a fish.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux



engraved bone
Label:

Pointe de sagaie gravée
La Madeleine, Fouilles Capitan et Peyrony
Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, Musée national de Préhistoire
MNP 1928-7-8

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux



engraved bone
This is a curious little piece with no obvious purpose, which looks almost like a tally of events or items. It appears to be mis-labelled, since it is clearly marked as coming from La Madeleine, but the label for it in the cabinet says it comes from Laugerie Basse.

Label:

Baguette gravée, Laugerie-Basse, Fouilles Le Bel et Maury
Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, musée national de Préhistoire, MNP 1992-13-64

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux



engraved spear thrower


Spear straightener engraved with horses, side A.


engraved spear thrower


Spear straightener engraved with horses, side B.


engraved spear thrower


Spear straightener engraved with horses, side B.


Label:

Bâton percé gravé, Les Eyzies (La Madeleine?)
Collection Combes (1872?)
Agen, musée des Beaux-arts, 1270

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux


Baton percé Batons percé



Pierced batons - 1, 2, 3 (left and upper) Middle Magdalenian, 4, 5 (right and lower) Upper Magdalenian

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




Batons percé

Pierced baton - Middle Magdalenian

Note that the baton has been carved with the artistically stylised likenesses of two aurochs or bison, or one of each - but they have the characteristic 'beard' of a bison.

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



Batons percé
Pierced baton - Upper Magdalenian

This is a superbly decorated piece. The horse head, facing to the right, has been shown with the effect of all over shading, which is accentuated by the smoothing of the reindeer antler outside the outline.

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



Batons percé
Pierced baton - Upper Magdalenian

The heads of two horses have been carved into the baton, facing to the left. The jaw is accentuated on the leftmost, larger of the two, and the mouth, nostril, eye, ear, and mane are indicated.

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



(Bâtons de commandement or bâtons percé or batons perforé or pierced batons are thought by some to have been spear straighteners, (which may be why they are often found broken at the hole). There are many other theories as to their use. However no one seriously thinks they were marks of rank within the community any more.

The spears used are more properly referred to as darts, they were not the strong thrusting spear as used by, say, the Romans, but a long, thin, whippy piece of wood. The ability to bend is an integral part of why they are able to be thrown such long distances. The bend stores up energy which is released in the form of extra speed as it leaves the spear thrower.

An alternative explanation, and one that has been confirmed by experiment, is that the batons can be used as spear throwers or atlatls. You can attach a thong near (but not at) the end of a spear, thread the thong through the hole, lay it along the baton, hold the baton and the thong and the spear (!) in one hand, and by deft handling, send the spear and the attached thong on its way just as with a conventional spear thrower, of which there are of course many examples. I have read of one of these batons showing wear from a leather thong, so it is possible that some were used in that way. You've then got a spear thrower and a spear straightener all in the one tool! - Don 
)

Batons percé
Engraved limestone pebble - Middle Magdalenian

A horse, with muzzle, mouth, eye, jaw, forehead, mane, neck, and part of the chest, has been carved into this limestone pebble.

While a case can be made that art such as this was used as hunting magic on pierced batons, this would seem to be purely for artistic purposes, or perhaps practice.

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




Penis

Phallus carved from reindeer antler - Upper Magdalenian, from la Madeleine.

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



Penis
Phallus carved from reindeer antler - Upper Magdalenian, from la Madeleine.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac



phallus  madeleine
Phallus, as above, fortuitously showing the other side.

Carved in the round of reindeer antler, on loan from Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, musée national de Préhistoire.

la Madeleine

Label:
Bois de renne sculpté en ronde bosse, La Madeleine, Fouilles Capitan et Peyrony
Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, musée national de Préhistoire, MNP 1928-7-15

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux




Penis on baton percé
Gauche (12) - Bâton percé - Magdalénien supérieur
Left (12) - Pierced baton - Upper Magdalenian

Droit (13) - Bois de renne sculpté d'une tête de cheval - Magdalénien supérieur
Right (13 - Reindeer antler sculpted into the shape of a horse's head.



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

compresseurs
19 La Madeleine - Compresseur - Magdalénien

20 Saint-Germain-la-Rivière - Bâton percé (pierced baton) - Magdalénien

21 Grotte des Eyzies - Fragment de côte (rib) - Magdalénien

22 Pont-d'Ambon - Fragment d'os (fragment of bone) - Azilien

23 Laugerie-Basse Bois de cervidé (deer antler) - Magdalénien

(Note - number 20 seems mislabelled, it seems not to be a Bâton percé, it is much more likely to be a compresseur, used for doing delicate retouch on a flint tool - Don)

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





harpoon and spikes






Harpoon and spikes from l'Abri de la Madeleine.

Photo: World Imaging, 2009
Source: Musée d'Archéologie Nationale
Permission: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.





La Madeleine tools La Madeleine tools


La Madeleine tools
La Madeleine tools.

Denis Peyrony is a giant of the field in this area. He made many important discoveries, and was indefatigable in his endeavours to find and recover for science evidence of the former inhabitants of the Dordogne.

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





flint tool
Backed blades from la Madeleine.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Catalog: 60.529.26 to 60.529.30
Source: Original, Musée d'Aquitaine à Bordeaux




carved plaque
Carved plaque - Upper Magdalenian.

The carvings include what appears to be a horse head, with a large eye, but there are many other lines on this plaque.

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





carved bone
Carved omoplate or shoulderblade - Middle Magdalenian.

The carving shows the body of a horse, including parts of the tail, hindquarters, and forequarters. Also included is the line of the back, the neck, and what may be the muzzle, as well as the mane.

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





carved bone
Carved rib - Middle Magdalenian.

The carving shows the hindquarters of a horse, with a long flowing tail, several attempts at a rear leg, as well as the abdomen and the rear part of the back. The forequarters and head are missing.

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





ciseau
Ciseau, Upper Magdalenian

There is an engraving on the left of the ciseau showing the head of what may be a horse.

(Note - Ciseau translates as chisel, and I have found that they are used for scraping, or at least have marks due to scraping, but I am very unsure of their exact mode of use. They may also have been used to split open pregrooved bones along the line of weakness. Some have marks of percussion on the blunt end, as in a chisel. The ones I have seen have all been decorated, but this might be because decorated tools are more likely to be photographed and displayed - Don)

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





propulseur
Propulseur - Middle Magdalenian

( this propulseur is enigmatic. It reminds me of a fish shape, but it is difficult to identify the carvings as anything in particular. I would like to have been able to turn it over and examine it more carefully. I fancy I can make out an animal's head lightly engraved into the right hand side of the object , and the dewlap and front leg of a bison in the lower centre of the piece - Don )

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





os coxal madeleine
Engraved coxal bone, part of the pelvis of a herbivore, on loan from Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, musée national de Préhistoire. It has been decorated with a carving of what could be a reindeer or horse.

Middle Magdalenian, la Madeleine

Label: Os coxal gravé, Fouilles Capitan et Peyrony
Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, musée national de Préhistoire, MNP 1928-7-21

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux




propulseur
Épois - Magdalénien moyen

Point from the end of a deer's antlers, decorated with what may be the head of a horse - Middle Magdalenian



Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac





carved  bone


A decorated long bone or Diaphysis - Middle Magdalenian

The diaphysis is the main or midsection (shaft) of a long bone. It is made up of cortical bone and usually contains bone marrow and fat.

This is a curious creature. It bears some resemblance to an otter. Only one rear limb is shown on the engraving.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




carved  bone


This image of two creatures is remarkably similar to the otter-like one above, but importantly, it is shown wearing neckbands, bracelets and anklets. These creatures may be human, or figures from mythology, or even two images of an animal god of some kind. They may also represent a shaman dressed in shape-shifting clothes and mask.

The creatures are marked with barbs and other symbols, but it is not certain what they represent.

Source: "Exploring the Ice Age" by Margaret Cooper, copyright 2001, isbn 0-689-82556-0

The book says that it comes from a French Pyrenees rock shelter, but no other information is given. It comes from Isturitz, and is of Magdalenian age.

My thanks to Marion for bringing this excellent book to my attention.

carved  bone


Another photo of the object above, apparently of the original.

Source: http://prehistoart.canalblog.com/

The web page says it comes from Isturitz, it is ten centimetres long, and that on the other side is the image of a bison and the rump of another. The barbed signs are apparently not uncommon in the art of Isturitz, and it assumes that the two figures are of women.




carved  bone

Photo: http://polephylogenie.free.fr/GrotteIsturitz.htm

This is a drawing of the two sides of the bone. It shows clearly the barbs on both sets of images.

According to this site, JA Mauduit describes the object in 40 000 ans d'Art Moderne:
"A man lying naked, adorned with bracelets, reaches for a woman lying before him. The woman is strong and hairy, and on her thigh, an arrow with a triple row of barbs, the symbol of his conquest. The engraving on the other side is not unrelated to the previous one: it is a bison male ready to mate with a female of which there are the hindquarters and tail erect, the male also has on the shoulder of barbed arrows.

Source: Figure taken from the book of Heuvelmans et Porchnev, p. 430.




carved  bone



And yet another image, this one showing the reverse side, with the two bison. Note that the breast of the woman in front is lying flat on her chest, as though she is standing up.

Photo: "Journey through the ice age" by Paul G. Bahn, Jean Vertut




carved  bone
Ronde-Bosse de patte de cheval- Magdalénien moyen

Carving of a horse - Middle Magdalenian

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




carved  bone
Ronde-Bosse de bison- Magdalénien moyen

Carving of a bison - Middle Magdalenian

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




horse

Horse engraved on a stone block, Magdalenian.



Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




carved  bone

Broken bone rod from La Madeleine engraved with the head of a bear facing a complex phallic form. Upper Magdalenian.

Photo and text: Marshack (1972)



carved  bone

Baguette demi-ronde- Magdalénien supérieur

This baguette demi-ronde is possibly one half of a projectile point that together with another similar one would form a specific point - a baguette demi-ronde. - Middle Magdalenian.

( The carvings on this piece are surreal - what looks like a bear's head and a double phallus - Don )

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008, Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




( As far as I can make out, baguette demi-rondes were fixed to a shaft, (somehow!) and the reason for the half round shape, i.e. round on one side, flat on the other, is that they were tied together around a flint (or bone or ivory I suppose) projectile point, with the flat sides against the point and each other, the round shape towards the outside.

Thus the two round sides made a roughly cylindrical shape, which could then be, say, inserted in a socket in the spear shaft and secured in some way. The end of the spear shaft could also have been whittled down to a tongue shape, flat on both sides, around which the two baguette demi-rondes were placed and secured with cord. If I was doing it, that's what I would try first. The darts weren't really of a large enough diameter to be able to carve a hole to accept the baguette demi-ronde. Harpoon shafts, however, were used more as thrusting spears as far as I can work out, so they could be of a much larger diameter, into which you could carve a socket.

Birch bark glue may have been used, and the glue would also have been used to strengthen the cords holding the two halves together. Birch bark glue is a very difficult glue to make, but the technique was well understood at that time.

The advantage is that if the flint is broken by impact with the ground or a bone, you can simply insert another flint head, attach it with cord or a leather thong, and you are ready to hunt again. You then only have to carry a few spear shafts and many light and easily packed flints when you go on a hunt, apart from the other things you need.

The spears used are more properly referred to as darts, they were not the strong thrusting spear as used by, say, the Romans, but a long, thin, whippy piece of wood. The ability to bend is an integral part of why they are able to be thrown such long distances. The bend stores up energy which is released in the form of extra speed as it leaves the spear thrower, and the spear straightens.

I emphasise that this is all conjecture on my part, I have been unable to get anything more than very unsatisfactory allusions to the technique.

However the idea of a fore-shaft is one that was used in a number of cases, and especially for harpoon heads. Methods were needed to attach bone or ivory harpoon heads to the shaft of the harpoon, and I've heard of sockets being used in that instance.

In the abstract of Pearson (1999) you will find this, in reference to north american hunting methods:

Based on the compiled information, a new hafting method for Clovis points is put forth that links the attributes of bi-beveled rods to a specific role within this system. This new hypothesis suggests that bi-beveled rods were tied facing each other around a Clovis point and a main shaft as part of composite clothes pin-like foreshafts.

 - Don )

baguettes

7, 8, 9 - Baguettes demi-ronde, with another small carved baguette below them.

10, 11 - Bâton percés.

From La Madeleine. Note that the Bâton percé at number 10 is a small, delicate example, as though it was made to straighten lighter, thinner diameter darts.

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




carved  bone
Base de perche débitée- Magdalénien supérieur

Carved bone - Upper Magdalenian

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Magdalenian tools
Magdalenian two sided harpoon with five barbs, from l'abri de La Madeleine, in reindeer antler.

Dimensions: 147 mm long, 28 mm wide, 12 mm thick.

( This is possibly the most (justifiably) well known harpoon in the lexicon. It is not only useful, it is beautifully made, and a work of art. It was fashioned by an artisan at the peak of their abilities. Note in particular the 'knobs' on either side of the lower part of the spear head allowing the harpoon to be easily and firmly attached to a spear shaft using sinew and birch bark glue - Don )

Catalog: MAN20062

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian artefacts from other sites besides la Madeleine



Magdalenian tools
Magdalenian pierced baton from Laugerie Basse, in reindeer antler.

Catalog: MAN54052

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools
(left): Magdalenian reindeer antler from Laugerie Bassewith the beginnings of a perforation to make it into a bâton percé.

Dimensions: length 132 mm, width 58 mm, thickness 11 mm.

Catalog: MAN53919


(right): Magdalenian bâton percé of reindeer antler from Laugerie Basse.

Dimensions: length 89 mm, width 32 mm, thickness 14 mm.

Catalog: MAN54054A

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools
Magdalenian bone eyed needles from la grotte de la Vache.

(left): Dimensions: length 55 mm, width 3 mm, thickness 2 mm.
Catalog: MAN83640R71

(centre): Dimensions: length 46 mm, width 3 mm, thickness 2 mm.
Catalog: MAN83062.3

(right): Dimensions: length 31 mm, width 3 mm, thickness 2 mm.
Catalog: MAN83643CLXXR3

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools


Making a needle

First, two long grooves were made in a suitable long bone using a burin, with two short grooves at either end, completing a long thin rectangle.

This was then split using a wedge or ciseau, to break open the grooves made in the hollow bone, and the rectangle was carefully levered out. This is why reindeer antler was rarely used for this purpose, since it was easier to make it from bone, which is hollow, and takes a very sharp point.

The eye was then put into the rectangular piece of bone at this point, while there was still plenty of 'meat' around the hole being made, and the needle was then carefully sanded and polished into shape.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: poster, artist unknown, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: Don Hitchcock



Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools
(left): Magdalenian bone lissoir, used for leather processing, from l'abri de Laugerie-Basse.

Dimensions: length 120 mm, width 21 mm, thickness 5 mm.
Catalog: MAN54215


(right): Magdalenian reindeer antler lissoir, used for leather processing, from l'abri de Laugerie-Basse.

Dimensions: length 80 mm, width 27 mm, thickness 13 mm.
Catalog: MAN54247E

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools
(left): Magdalenian harpoon with one barb, from la grotte de La Vache, in reindeer antler.

Dimensions: 89 mm long, 8 mm wide, 6 mm thick.

Catalog: MAN83643


(centre): Magdalenian harpoon with two barbs on one side, from la grotte de La Vache, in reindeer antler.

Dimensions: 86 mm long, 10 mm wide, 6 mm thick.

Catalog: MAN83062.46


(right): Magdalenian harpoon with three barbs on one side, from la grotte de La Vache, in reindeer antler.

Dimensions: 110 mm long, 12 mm wide, 7 mm thick.

Catalog: MAN83641.VIC54

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools
(left): Magdalenian one sided harpoon originally with four barbs, of which three remain, from la grotte de La Vache, in reindeer antler.

Dimensions according to the catalog: 139 mm long, 140 mm wide, 70 mm thick.

( Likely actual dimensions: 139 mm long, 14 mm wide, 7 mm thick - Don )

Catalog: MAN83642CXLIII C 62

(right): Magdalenian one sided harpoon with six barbs, though there may originally have been more, from la grotte d'Isturitz, in reindeer antler.

Dimensions: 173 mm long, 13 mm wide, 8 mm thick.

( Of particular interest in this piece is that the barbs are not exaggeratedly wide like most such harpoons. This would have allowed much less force to have been used to get good penetration of the prey, although it would have been less secure - Don )

Catalog: MAN75295.I

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015, 2018
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools
Magdalenian two sided harpoon with ten barbs, from la grotte de La Vache.

Dimensions: length 105 mm, width 14 mm, thickness 9 mm.

Catalog: MAN83640.C.40

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Hunting scene
A winter hunting scene in Magdalenian times. Note that spears with harpoon heads are shown, but no spear throwers form part of the kit in this recreation by the talented artist Zdeněk Burian, 1905 - 1981.

Painting: Zdeněk Burian
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source and text: Anthropos Pavilion/Moravian Museum, Brno, Czech Republic
Additional text: Don Hitchcock




Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools
(left): Magdalenian foëne or fish spear from la grotte de La Vache.

Dimensions: length 61 mm, width 19 mm, thickness 5 mm.

Catalog: MAN83641CLXC61

(right): Magdalenian foëne or fish spear from la grotte de La Vache.

Dimensions: length 71 mm, width 21 mm, thickness 8 mm.

Catalog: MAN83640.CXLIIIC43

These are points of reindeer antler which were attached to a long shaft, used for catching flatfish, particularly while wading in shallow waters. Its handle could be equipped with a cord, enabling the spear to be retrieved when thrown at a fish. In particular, foëne were often used for eel fishing, the extra points making it possible to catch these fish, which are slippery and difficult to catch otherwise.

It is speculated that they may have been used to take down birds as well.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr
Additional text: Wikipedia



Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools
(left): Magdalenian spear point with a simple pointed base, from la grotte du Placard.

Dimensions: length 118 mm, width 13 mm, thickness 8 mm.

Catalog: MAN55021


(right): Magdalenian spear point with a simple pointed base, from la grotte d'Isturitz.

Dimensions: length 71 mm, width 7 mm, thickness 5 mm.

Catalog: MAN83886

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015, 2018
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools
(left): Magdalenian spear point with a trimmed base, from la grotte du Placard .

Dimensions: length 60 mm, width 11 mm, thickness 7 mm.

Catalog: MAN55072g


(right): Magdalenian spear point with a trimmed base, from la grotte de La Vache.

Dimensions: length 96 mm, width 8 mm, thickness 7 mm.

Catalog: MAN83642

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015, 2018
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools
(left): Magdalenian spear point in reindeer antler, of the Lussac-Angles type, from la grotte d'Isturitz.

Dimensions: length 62 mm, width 11 mm, thickness 8 mm.

Catalog: MAN83886

(centre): Magdalenian spear point in reindeer antler, of the Lussac-Angles type, from la grotte d'Isturitz.

( note the single bevel on this point, scored with crosshatching to give purchase for the birchbark glue used to attach the spear point to the shaft of the spear - Don )

Dimensions: length ? mm, width 9 mm, thickness 8 mm.

Catalog: MAN83886

(right): Magdalenian spear point with a single bevel in reindeer antler from la grotte d'Isturitz.

Dimensions: length 114 mm, width 12 mm, thickness 11 mm.

Catalog: MAN83886


( note that the catalog numbers are all the same for these items - Don )

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools
Magdalenian spear point with a single bevel in reindeer antler from l'abri de Laugerie-Basse.

Dimensions: length 94 mm, width 9 mm, thickness 8 mm.

Catalog: MAN54226K

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools
Magdalenian spear point with a single bevel in reindeer antler from la grotte du Placard.

Dimensions: length 129 mm, width 13 mm, thickness 7 mm.

Catalog: MAN55020a

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools
(left) Magdalenian spear point with a double bevel in reindeer antler from la grotte de La Vache.

Dimensions: length ? mm, width 9 mm, thickness 7 mm.

Catalog: MAN83642.XLID114

(right) Magdalenian spear point with a double bevel in reindeer antler from la grotte de La Vache.

Dimensions: length 76 mm, width 8 mm, thickness 6 mm.

Catalog: MAN83643.XXXVID124

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools
(left) Magdalenian spear point with a forked base in reindeer antler from la grotte d'Isturitz.

Dimensions: length 108 mm, width 8 mm, thickness 7 mm.

Catalog: MAN86495

(right) Magdalenian spear point with a forked base in reindeer antler from la grotte d'Isturitz.

Dimensions: length 87 mm, width 8 mm, thickness 6 mm.

Catalog: MAN77163G(?)45

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools
Magdalenian baguette demi-ronde in reindeer antler from la grotte d'Isturitz.

Dimensions: length 147 mm, width 13 mm, thickness 6 mm.

Catalog: MAN77159B6

( Baguettes demi-ronde were used in pairs as part of a spear point, with a flint point clamped at the ends between the two half round pieces of reindeer antler, secured with sinew and black birch bark glue. They were often highly decorated - Don )

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools
(left): Magdalenian baguette demi-ronde in reindeer antler from la grotte d'Isturitz.

No dimensions given in the catalog.

Catalog: MAN77185D26 ( note that the catalog number written on the item is 77158D26 - Don )

(right): Magdalenian baguette demi-ronde in reindeer antler from la grotte d'Isturitz.

Dimensions: length 95 mm, width 11 mm, thickness 5 mm.

Catalog: MAN83885

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools
Magdalenian needle polisher from la grotte d'Isturitz.

Dimensions: length 97 mm, width 59 mm, thickness 42 mm.

Catalog: MAN77155E1


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools
Magdalenian grooved reindeer antler from la grotte d'Isturitz.

Dimensions: length 161 mm, width 39 mm

Catalog: MAN83886 (sic)


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools
Magdalenian spear point with a single bevel from la grotte d'Isturitz.

Dimensions: length 109 mm, width 9 mm thickness 9 mm.

Catalog: MAN83886 (sic)


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools
Tanged Magdalenian Teyjat points.

( named after the flint tools found at the Grotte de la Mairie à Teyjat in the north of the Dordogne, notable for its beautiful engravings of Aurochs - Don )

(left): Magdalenian point in flint from la grotte de la Mairie.

Dimensions: 54 mm long, 16 mm wide, 5 mm thick. Catalog MAN52475

(right): Magdalenian point in flint from lla grotte de la Mairie.

Dimensions: 52 mm long, 25 mm wide, 5 mm thick. Catalog MAN52475

( note that these two items have the same catalog number - Don )


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr



Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools
Magdalenian shouldered points, pointes à cran.

(left): Pointe à cran from the grotte de Noailles

Dimensions: length 42 mm, width 11 mm, thickness 2 mm.

Catalog MAN50721

(right): Pointe à cran from the abri de La Garenne.

Dimensions: length 42 mm, width 11 mm, thickness 3 mm.

Catalog MAN46690

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018, 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye



Magdalenian tools

Magdalenian points of the 'Laugerie Basse' type.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2018
Source: Unknown provenance, original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye



Magdalenian tools Magdalenian tools

Magdalenian backed blades.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Unknown provenance, original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye



Magdalenian tools

Magdalenian denticulate blades.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Unknown provenance, original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye



celliertoolsmadeleinesm
Parrot Beak Burins (bec de perroquet) from La Madeleine.

Photo and text: Collie (1928)



reliquiaeaquitan00lartuoft_raw_0696bones1sm


Skulls and Bones

C. PLATE IX & X.
(Double.)

[All the figures, drawn on the stone from the originals, are reversed in the plate. They were sketched in geometric projection by aid of Gavard's diagraph, and reduced to half-size by Sauvage's pantograph.]

_________

Fig. 1a. La Madelaine.

Frontal, front view.

1 b. Internal cast of the same.

_________

Fig. 2. Cro Magnon.

Half of the Upper Jaw of "No. 4" from Cro-Magnon, with the second premolar and the first two molars still in place and much worn.

_________

Fig. 3. La Madelaine.

Portion of the lower jaw of the Man of La Madelaine.

_________

Fig. 4. Cro Magnon.

Fragment of the Lower Jaw of "No. 4" from Cro-Magnon, bearing two molars much worn.

_________

Fig. 5. Cro Magnon.

First lumbar Vertebra of the "Old Man" of Cro Magnon, showing the separation of the diapophysis into a metapophysis and parapophysis.

_________

Fig. 6a. Cro Magnon.

The Pelvis of "No. 1" from Cro Magnon, reconstructed by M. Hamy : represented as seen from above, and so that the plane of the upper narrowing is horizontal.

6b. The same, seen from behind, for the particular study of the sacrum.

_________

Fig. 7. Cro Magnon.

Shaft and upper extremity of a left radius from Cro Magnon, view of the anterior surface.

_________

Fig. 8. Cro Magnon.

Shaft and lower extremity of another radius from the same place, view of the posterior surface, to show the depth of the grooves.

_________

Fig. 9. Cro Magnon.

Left ulna of one of the subjects from Cro Magnon, profile, to exhibit the incurvation of the upper extremity.

_________

Fig. 10a. La Madelaine.

Right Femur of the Man of La Madelaine, anterior surface.

10b. Profile of the same, to show its antero-posterior curve and the flattening of the upper fourth of its outer edge.

10c. Section of this Femur at its narrowest point, showing the projection of the linea aspera in the form of a small column.

_________

Fig. 11 a. La Madelaine.

Right tibia of the same subject, represented in profile, to give an idea of the amount of its transverse flattening.

11 b. Section of the same bone at the level of the foramen nutritium, showing the lozenge-shape resulting from platycnemism.

_________

Fig. 12. Laugerie Basse

Right fibula of the Man of Laugerie Basse "No. 4" with the deep groove in its outer surface.

_________

Fig. 13a, 13b, 13c. Laugerie Basse

The left first Metatarsal of the same, views of the dorsal and plantar surfaces and profile, to show the extent of its metatarso-phalangial surface of articulation.

_________

Fig. 14. Cro Magnon

Astragalus of the "Old Man" of Cro-Magnon, seen from above.

_________

Fig. 15. Cro Magnon

Cuboid from the same subject, in the same position.

Source and text: Lartet and Christy (1875)
Proximal source: archive.org



La Madelaine

La Madeleine Medieval rock shelter panorama

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008


La Madelaine

Panoramic view of part of the inside of the Medieval La Madeleine rock shelter

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008






La Madeleine gisement


Cover of the 1928 monograph by Capitan and Peyrony.

Here may be found a pdf of the original monograph by Capitan and Peyrony

Below are many figures and text from this important work.

Translation: Don Hitchcock

Photo: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)



La Madeleine gisement


In 1913, the distance from the cliff to the edge of the Vézère was about thirty metres, and the hills were bare. Now the river is just 2.5 metres from the cliff, and trees have reclaimed the land.

( It may be that goats which kept the vegetation in check were removed from the area - Don )

The text that accompanies the photo in Capitan et Peyrony (1928) reads:

General view of the rocks of La Madeleine with the ruins of the old castle. On the left, behind the trees, the famous shelter before the excavations.

Photo: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)
Additional text: sign at La Ferme Paysanne




La Madeleine gisement
Front view of the La Madeleine shelter. In the foreground, the Vézère. The excavated material forms a white band at the foot of the cliff.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




La Madeleine gisement
View of l'abri de la Madeleine during the course of the excavations.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




La Madeleine gisement
Peyrony or Capitan (in the background) and workers during the excavation of La Madeleine in 1926.

Photo: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




La Madeleine gisement


Plan of the gisement of la Madeleine.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




La Madeleine gisement
Coupes 1 and 6 of the gisement of la Madeleine.

(Brecn = Brèche, breach or hole.)

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




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Solutrean objects, or those with characteristic Solutrean features.

At the base of the layer, on the surface of the shelter floor, we collected a fragment of a laurel leaf (no. 1) and half of a scraper (no. 2) that had been slightly polished*. These pieces, located outside the human deposit, do not seem to have been carried there by Magdalenians, but rather abandoned by Solutreans, who, during a hunting expedition, must have rested there. The burin (no. 3) found in the middle of the layer is apparently of Solutrian design; however, the patina of the flint indicates that it cannot be classified with the preceding objects; despite its size, it appears to be early Magdalenian.

( The polish* or glazing referred to here is a common post-depositional alteration of the surface of a flint artefact. When present, the entire surface is usually uniformly affected. Almost all flint artefacts which have been exposed to ground water for extended periods of time exhibit some amount of glazing. This may be caused by adsorption of dissolved silica from soil solutions bathing the artefact in situ, or the dissolution and reprecipitation of siliceous constituents of the artefact's surfaces. Artefacts with advanced glazing (or gloss patina) have a true glossy lustre and feel pleasantly smooth to the touch.
See Howard (2002) for further explication of glazing - Don 
)

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)



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Burins comprised half of the stone tools found. We have shown several times that they are above all bone, antler and ivory carving tools. They were born with this industry and multiplied as the use of these materials became more widespread. They certainly served also to execute sculptures and engravings on stone, but the finest drawings on bone were made with more delicate points, and burins of the parrot beak type.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)



Peyrony_Madeleine19bsm


Scrapers represent about one fifth of the lithic tools. They are, after burins, the most numerous artefacts.

They are usually simple and on the end of a blade. There are some very large ones (Fig. 7, no. 1), while others are very small (Fig. 7, no. 4). Some are retouched all around as in the Aurignacian and Solutrean periods (fig. 7, no. 2). Others, rarer, have abrupt retouching (Fig. 7, no. 3). Double scrapers (Fig. 7, no. 6), are few and there are also only a few of the thick ones, reminiscent of the Aurignacian carinated scrapers, and used for the same purpose (Fig. 7, no. 5).

The uses of the scrapers appear to be multiple, but poorly defined. There is one, however, that seems certain, the idea of which was suggested to us by the barely sketched hole of a command stick. The first part of this perforation forms a large, regular and shallow cupule which could only be obtained with the convex and rounded part of a scraper on the end of a blade used as a gouge auger. Until now it was assumed that these holes were made with a made with a strong pointed tool, a drill.

Scraper-burin - some pieces have two ends, a scraper at one end and a burin at the other (fig. 7, no. 8).

Pieces with abrupt retouches - at the base of the layer we have collected pieces with abrupt retouches (fig. 7, no 7, 9, 10, 11 and 12) similar to those which we reported at the base of the Laugerie Haute deposit.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)



Peyrony_Madeleine21


Awls and blades

Awls - These tools usually have a point made conical by use (Fig. 8). (Fig. 8, no. 6 1, 1-a, 3, 3-a, 4, 4-a); some are very large (fig. 8, nos. 1, 1-a); others, medium in size (fig. 8, no. 5);, but most of them are small and delicate (fig. 8, nos. 2, 3, 3-a, 4, 4-a).

Blades. - The Magdalenian knapped flint into blades of all sizes with extraordinary skill; they are always long, thin and rather narrow; many are rough (fig. 8, no. 6); some rather large, straight or curved, have been backed (fig. 8, nos. 7 and 8). Sometimes they have been truncated at one end (fig. 8, no. 9); other smaller ones, such as no. 10, Fig. 8, are simply obliquely truncated at one end (fig. 8, nos. 11 and 12) and seem to have been prepared to obtain burins, like no. 13, fig. 8, by giving the right-hand corner a sharp blow with the striker.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)



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Pointed blades. - Some small blades are pointed by unilateral or bilateral unopposed retouching (no. 1), or bilaterally symmetrical (fig. 9, no. 2, 3 and 4). They must have been used as points on spears.

Backed flakes. - Thin, narrow, backed blades, (nos. 8 and 9), a kind of small pocket knife, are quite frequent.

Backed points. - These are numerous and of all types. They vary in size from two to ten centimetres in length. Some, like no. 10, must have been as long as the large La Gravette points; many are medium in size (nos. 5, 6, 7, 11), but most are small and delicate (no. 12); we have found one curved example (no. 5) but this form is very rare in this layer.

Tanged points - The above pieces are not the only ones reminiscent of the Upper Aurignacian; there are also some rare tanged points, pointes à soie, (no 13).

Miscellaneous flakes and points - there is a variety of small blades with thin peduncles, thick rough backs, straight cutting edges (nos. 15 and 16) or arcuate in shape (no. 14); some with solutrean-type ends (nos. 17 and 18). Nos. 14, 15, and 16 were used for drilling, engraving, etc, or for arming spears.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)



Peyrony_Madeleine23fig10sm


Engraving tools - for fine engravings on bone and stone, instruments with a delicate point were needed. These were either straight points obtained by two-sided and symmetrical retouching (no. 1) or were quite small, straight (no. 2) or angled ( no. 3), and sometimes both types combined (no. 4), or small curved points forming a parrot's beak (nos. 5 and 6).

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)



Peyrony_Madeleine23fig11sm


Figure 11

Choked (strangled) blade, and a toothed blade

Blades with a small notch on each side of the butt (lames à étranglement basilaire):

Number 1 is a thin blade, shaped like a small cleaver , broad but with a narrow base, without marginal retouching, and has a constriction at the base produced by two symmetrical notches, allowing it to be firmly attached to a cord or strip of leather, and to be worn suspended, perhaps at the belt.

We have noticed the same feature on a parrot beak from the upper layer and on a burin from the cave of Les Eyzies.

Serrated blades

Some blades are toothed all around (no. 2), or only on one side, the teeth being formed by notches arranged more or less regularly. It is very likely that these were small saws.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)



Peyrony_Madeleine25sm


Mousterian objects. - Two small triangular points, identical to those of the Upper Mousterian were found in this level together with a scraper (Fig. 12, no. 5) and two small discs (Fig. 12, no. 4).

We also collected two handaxes, one of which was quite regular (Fig. 12, no. 3). Is it purely a matter of chance that it was given this shape, or is it intentional?

By careful examination we saw that the retouching has been done to regularise the edges and give the shape of a heart. We were not very surprised to find this object there. Already, a few years ago, we had discovered one in the cave of Eyzies; it is currently in the collection of one of us (Capitan).

We will see later that the upper layer provided two of them. These pieces, mixed with other similar ones from the Lower Palaeolithic cannot be distinguished from them. It may be objected that they were only there accidentally, brought by the Magdalenians who, in their excursions to the neighbouring plateaux, had picked them up on the surface.

The objection would be correct if their patina were different from that of the other pieces in the layer, but it is identical: these handaxes probably did not have the same destiny as those of the ancient Palaeolithic; they must have served as chisels or gouges to the prehistoric artist to model the sculptures made by the picks (fig. 12, nos. 1 and 2).

Picks. - Picks or pics are a large tool used to dig holes or cupules in wood or stone. They usually have a strong heel which is generally continued by a point in the shape of a triangular pyramid (fig. 12, nos. 1 and 2); they have some resemblance with the primitive Chelléen ( now referred to as Acheulean - Don ) handaxes.

Until now, many excavators have overlooked them, taking them for debitage, the scraps of manufacture; we have always collected them with care; we thought they were large tarauds ( large awls or pointed digging tools, often used for wood, and often of rough workmanship - Don ). However, the polished edges of the point told us that they must have been used to work something other than bone.

But what were they? The discovery of the rock sculptures of Cap Blanc made us aware of their main use. After having traced his sketch on the stone with a burin, the prehistoric artist used a pick to remove the parts of the rock that would give relief to the drawing; with gouges and grattoirs (scrapers) at the end of a blade, he accentuated the hollows and modelled the projections; he cleaned up the angles with a burin.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)



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Molette or pestle. - A hard calcareous stone with a rounded shape with two adjacent worn faces. It is a small hand grinder.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)



Peyrony_Madeleine27lampsm
Lamps - Several pieces of limestone with regularised contours bear a cupule, sometimes natural, sometimes enlarged, or completely artificial.

They all show traces of fire on their surface. (fig. 14., n°1). They have long been mistaken for paint pots; but not the slightest particle of the colouring matter so apparent and so well preserved on grinders and on hollow utensils from other deposits can be seen.

The cup face has been subjected to the prolonged action of fire, of which the cup seems to have been the centre. We are therefore led to admit that these objects are the first lamps, fuelled by the fat and tallow of animals, with a bundle of moss as a wick, as used among the Inuit.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)



Peyrony_Madeleine29compresseurssm
Retouchers or compressors. - Some small oblong or flat pebbles (fig. 15, nos. 2 and 4) have usage zones near the ends, similar to those found on some bone fragments (Fig. 15, no. 1) and also found in the Aurignacian and Solutrean.

These differ from the typical Mousterian in that on them, the usage zones are similar to those found on the Mousterian (fig. 15, no. 1) and which are also found in the Aurignacian and Solutrean; the latter differ from the typical Mousterian in that, on these, the cuts are transverse and there is no depression, whereas on the others, the usage was lengthwise and the tool was used for a longer time; however, a horse phalanx (Fig. 15, no. 3) has traces identical to those found by Dr Henri Martin at La Quina.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)



Peyrony_Madeleine31harpoonsm

Bone, ivory, and reindeer antler industry

In some places, reindeer antlers were piled up in all directions and formed a large deposit; but they were in such a poor state of preservation that it was usually only possible to collect the bases and the ends of the andouillers ( small horns on the antler - Don ), which were less friable. Almost all of them had undergone the beginnings of flaking.

The bone objects included:

Harpoons - There are only four whole ones (fig. 16, nos. 1, 2, 3 and 9), all the others are fragmented. They are all made of reindeer antler except no. 9 which is made of ivory and nos. 4 and 8 of bone. No. 7, fig. 16, appears to be more of a shaft with a notch to secure several movable barbs with the help of ties than a real harpoon.

There is a harpoon from the Solomon Islands in the Eyzies Museum, of a type which is still used by the natives. It consists of a reed shaft at the end of which porcupine spines are staggered and solidly attached with the help of sinew, so as to form recurring barbs like those on a prehistoric harpoon.

The piece we are interested in may have been armed identically with bone, wooden or perhaps even flint points. Some types have only faint lateral notches (Fig. 16, nos. 4 and 11); others have barbs barely indicated by a small bulge (Fig. 16, nos. 8 1, 2, 6, 8, 10); finally, some have small points (Fig. 16, nos. 8 3 and 9). One has a basilar bulge that facilitated its insertion (fig. 16, no. 3). Its head is flattened in bevel with lateral projections and a triangle in bas-relief on both sides at the end. Eight oblique and almost parallel grooves occupy the upper two thirds of the piece, while eight others, arranged in a more disordered manner, fill the other third. The left side (fig. 16, no. 3-a) is decorated with a grid formed by two series of ten oblique lines, some on the right, others on the left, intersecting. The same feature affects the portion of the right side between the barbs and the upper bulge (fig. 16, no. 3-b).


Two others have their base bifurcated like the forked base of an spear point (fig. 16, nos. 1 and 2). One of the latter type exists in the Piette collection, coming from the lower level of Gourdan, a level corresponding to the lower one of la Madeleine.

Trident - A bone piece (Fig. 16, no. 5), terminated at one end by two small, very short points, bears, at one centimetre from the end, two symmetrical bilateral barbs, barely indicated, like those of primitive harpoons. The other end, broken off, is thinned out and would have formed the shank of this tool. With forward points, it is comparable to the trident used by fishermen to catch large fish.

( These fish spears are common in the Magdalenian, and are often given the name foëne. See the entry below on fish spears from la grotte de la Vache - Don )

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




Magdelanian tools Magdelanian tools
(left): Magdalenian foënes or fish spears from la grotte de La Vache, more complete specimens than the bone piece (Fig. 16, no. 5) from la Madeleine, above.

Dimensions: length 61 mm, width 19 mm, thickness 5 mm.

Catalog: MAN83641CLXC61

(right): Magdalenian foëne or fish spear from la grotte de La Vache.

Dimensions: length 71 mm, width 21 mm, thickness 8 mm.

Catalog: MAN83640.CXLIIIC43

These are points of reindeer antler which were attached to a long shaft, used for catching flatfish, particularly while wading in shallow waters. Its handle could be equipped with a cord, enabling the spear to be retrieved when thrown at a fish. In particular, foëne were often used for eel fishing, the extra points making it possible to catch these fish, which are slippery and difficult to catch otherwise.

It is speculated that they may have been used to take down birds as well.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée d'Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye
Text: https://www.photo.rmn.fr
Additional text: Wikipedia



Peyrony_Madeleine32ivory_and_bonesm


Figure 17.

Spear points. - Some from the bottom of the deposit are almost lozenge-shaped, with a short base, and decorated with two rows of oblique strokes, starting from the edges and heading towards a median groove (Fig. 17, no. 4); there are six in each series. Others are cylindrical-conical, with a pointed base, decorated longitudinally with a series of oblique lines and parallel lines arranged symmetrically, two by two, on each side of the piece (Fig. 17, no. 3).

In the other parts of the layer, we found several with a quadrangular pyramidal base (fig. 17, no. 8 1, 2, 5, 16); no. 2 presents, laterally, a row of oblique gouge strokes parallel to each other; a cylindro-conical ( cylindrical with one end tapering to a point - Don ) point, whose oval-sectioned base (fig. 17, no. 15) bears oblique lines to facilitate fitting; it is the same as some of those found in the Upper Solutrean, but it is those with a single-bevelled base that are the most numerous (fig. 17, nos. 13, 17, 18); as for those with a double-bevel, they are still small in size, barely the size of a large needle (fig. 17, nos. 9 and 10)

A few rare ones have a sort of peduncle with two symmetrical notches (fig. 17, no. 12). We found two bone blades with a very flattened oval cross-section and sharp edges, pointed at one end, the other rough (Fig. 17, no. 19). Are these still spear points or are they small dagger blades?

Points with a forked base. - There are only two pieces of this type (Fig. 17, nos. 11, 20); they are identical to two others found at Laugerie Basse by M. Maury, in the primitive harpoon level that corresponds to that of La Madeleine.

Another similar one was collected by the same person in the corresponding level of the Marseilles excavation, located about a hundred metres upstream from the previous one. In Périgord, these pieces have so far only been found with the primitive harpoons, some of which also have a forked base (fig. 16, nos. 1 and 2). We said that Piette had discovered a harpoon with rudimentary barbs and a bifid ( divided by a deep cleft or notch into two parts - Don ) base at Gourdan, in the base level corresponding to the lower one at La Madeleine. But contrary to what happens in the Dordogne, the forked points similar to ours, which are very numerous in the Pyrenean region, belong, according to Piette and Abbé Breuil, to the harpoon base with unilateral barbs.

According to the excavations carried out in 1913 in the Isturitz cave (2) by Passemard, these objects seem to have appeared even later in the western Pyrenees. He collected them in a level containing both harpoons with one and two rows of barbs, corresponding consequently to the upper layer of the Marseilles, where these two types of harpoons are also found together. The primitive harpoon with a forked base, which is quite rare, appeared almost at the same time on the banks of the Vézère and in the Pyrenees.

But the use of points with the same base seems to have originated in the Perigordian caves; it was then transmitted to the populations of the central Pyrenees, to end up in the western region of the chain and reappear in Périgord in the form of a small arrowhead at the end of the Magdalenian period.

Ciseaux or chisels - They are usually made of large reindeer antler shafts with one end rounded and hammered, the other bevelled (Fig. 17, no. 21); some are ornamented. They may have been used for splitting antler or bone or small pieces of wood.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




Peyrony_Madeleine35sm
Ornamental objects. - We collected several red and black samples probably used for body grooming (painting or tattooing), various kinds of pierced teeth (Fig. 18, nos. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10), pierced marine shells (Fig. 18, no. 4), a charred ivory bead (Fig. 18, no. 5), small limestone pebbles (Fig. 18, nos. 3, 13 and 14), a pierced schist baton (Fig. 18, no. 11), a perforated bone (Fig. 18, no. 15), and a reindeer antler amulet (Fig. 27).

Many of these pieces were simply the various elements of necklaces, hairnets or bracelets; others, such as the stones and large bones, seem to have had another purpose. Were they amulets? An almost complete disc (Fig. 18, no. 1) with four round holes and several radiating lines and a fragment of a second one with a central hole (Fig. 18, no. 2) were found at the base of the deposit.



Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




Peyrony_Madeleine35sm


The Magdalenians, like our contemporary artists, studied their subject in nature. A bone, a fragment of reindeer antler, an animal rib, a shale, a soft sandstone, a limestone, etc, as a slate, and a chisel in their hand, they travelled through the landscape and sketched the animals in various attitudes.

First the head, which best expressed the feeling, was the object of all their care. Then came the hindquarters. Sketches of whole animals are rarer. They thus composed a series of detailed studies, a sort of album from which they drew abundantly to execute the beautiful works of art on bone or rock.

We have grouped these various sketches into three plates which we present before the real works of art. In figure 19 are grouped all the equidae heads collected. No. 1, on flat spongy bone, refers to a bearded horse sketched in a few strokes of the burin. The ear erect, the mane raised, the triangular eye, it seems to scan the horizon.

The head no. 2 stretched forward, the ear brought back, is that of an animal at full gallop. It appears to be out of breath, as evidenced by the bundles of lines coming out of its mouth and nostrils, probably representing its bile. Its hairy face indicates an older animal.

Images nos. 5, 6 and 9, of different subjects, present the same attitude as the previous one. No. 4, on red sandstone, is in the position of observation; muzzle raised, ears erect slightly forward, bright eye.

Nos. 3 and 7 refer to young subjects at rest and Nos. 10 and 11 to older individuals. Nos. 8 and 12 are shallow studies.

No. 9 shows an eye and ear study at the top, and to the left of the muzzle, which can be put in the normal position by turning the piece over from top to bottom.

Finally, No. 13 shows almost the entire body of a horse at full gallop; the head is very neat. It has three acute angles on the flank with very long sides which seem to simulate the points of lines wounding the animal.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




bone horse head engraving


Engraving of a horse head on a diaphysis, the middle of a long bone, Middle Magdalenian, as drawn at number 5, above.

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


bone engraving


Engraved horse head on a diaphyse, the middle of a long bone, Middle Magdalenian, as drawn at number 6, above.

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


Peyrony_Madeleine40sm


It is worth noting the suppleness of the features and the expression of these various figures. Perhaps zoologists will find matter for discerning several variations within species in such well rendered studies.

A fragmented reindeer antler (Fig. 20, no. 1) bears a well-groomed reindeer hindquarters and an inverted horse hindquarters. There is deformation due to the winding of the design on the cylindrical antler. Three sharp double-line angles appear to represent line points in the same way as those found in fig. 19, no. 13.

No. 2, fig. 20, is the profile of a bovid on reindeer antlers with a few lines behind indicating a sort of mane.

No. 3, Fig. 20, is a doe's head, ear erect in a scrutinising position.

No. 4, Fig. 20, on a pebble, is the forequarters of a chamois (izard) with its small unfinished right horn.

No. 5, Fig. 20, on limestone, is a poorly executed canid.

No. 6, fig. 20, is the hindquarters of a mammoth, very recognisable by its small tail, the shape of its back and the long hair that covers it entirely. It is drawn on a fragment of a bone dagger blade. The two crosses placed at the back are special signs of the author to indicate his work; it is, if one can express it this way, his signature, as Piette said.

No. 7, Fig. 20, on a rib, represents two ibex heads, one male with a short, thick muzzle, the other female, thinner and more elongated, of good execution.

No. 8, fig. 20, is a reindeer antler on which a lynx head has been strongly incised, easily recognisable by its very pointed ears. In front of this drawing, two acute angles with converging bases appear to represent the front ears of the same animal.

No. 9, fig. 20, is a reindeer antler on which a few deep incisions placed in the right place produce the profile of a beautiful antelope head.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)




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Fig. 21 shows a series of sketches of varying degrees of sophistication, but which nonetheless shed light on the way in which these skilful artists proceeded.

No. 1, very schematic, on a limestone pebble, appears to be a running boar. Nos. 2 and 3 are studies of animal bodies. No. 4, very crude, is the hindquarters of a deer, while Nos. 5 and 7 are sketches of equine hindquarters and No. 6 is a quick and sloppy sketch of a similar animal. The other drawings are studies of the details.

No. 8 consists of a series of almost parallel lines simulating hair or mane. No. 9 is a representation of the horns of a bovid with the frontal tuft, and No. 10 that of a bison forequarters reduced to its most characteristic parts: angular muzzle, dewlap with long hair, shorter belly hair.

Nos. 11, 12 and 14 are different studies of eyes, while No. 13 appears to be a series of more or less detailed ears.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


Peyrony_Madeleine42fig22sm
Sculpture. - During this phase, sculpture developed and reached its peak. It was collected at all the heights of this level; however, the following ones come from the base:

Left, Fig. 22, the limestone hindquarters of an animal in the round. The two legs still joined are unfinished, the two thighs are indicated by a groove that separates them; one can clearly see the the start of the belly. The whole is well modelled. It is regrettable that this statuette is not complete.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


Peyrony_Madeleine43basreliefsm
Fig. 23: A limestone slab with a galloping deer, without a head, strongly in relief. The hind leg, with the hock stretched out, is well sculpted; a series of pick strokes bring out the belly and the genitals. The artist has given his work modelling and movement.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


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Above:

A fragment of a reindeer antler spear thrower (fig. 24, no. 1) with animal heads barely indicated by small reliefs and drawings composed of almost parallel sinuous lines and dotted lines.

An identical propulseur, one with a clear eye, the beginning of ears and the snout indicated by several lines is shown at fig. 24, no. 3.

A phallus made of reindeer antler, the drawing of which dispenses with any description (Fig. 24, no. 8).

A small unfinished sculpture (fig. 24, no. 7), a sketch of a quadruped in the round.

No. 10, fig. 24, is a fragment of a hooked spear thrower carved in the shape of a horse's head; the two ears are very clear and the muzzle is pointed.

No. 9, fig. 24, is a propulseur identical to no. 10, with a broken top.

Another propulseur fragment shows, symmetrically and in relief on both sides, an ear and a buffalo horn (Fig. 24, nos. 4a and 4b) and in addition, on one of them, a deeply incised buffalo hind leg (Fig. 24, no. 4a).

A command staff (baton percé) from the middle of the layer is decorated on one side with a beautiful reindeer head in relief (Fig. 24, no. 2a) and oblique lines and on the other with a barbed arrow (Fig. 24, no. 2b). A piece of a second (Fig. 24, no. 6) bears two horns in relief, symmetrically placed on one side each; the part that follows simulates a kind of crest with deep gouge marks; it could also indicate a strong mane. An almost identical piece has been found in the corresponding level of Laugerie-Basse.

Fig. 24, nos. 5a and 5b is a very flattened equine leg. It was first drawn on an animal rib, then cut out and the corners rounded. On each side, tufts of hair and some signs are engraved.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


IMG_0763batonpercesm
A photograph of Fig. 24, no. 6 above, part of a beautifully made bâton percé.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac


Penis


Phallus carved from reindeer antler - Upper Magdalenian, from la Madeleine, as drawn at Fig. 24, no. 8 above.

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



Peyrony_Madeleine45bisonsm
Figure 25

Finally, a superb reindeer antler statuette, representing a bison, head turned over, licking its flank (fig. 25, left). The artist made a real tour de force to execute it. He first carved, the body of the animal, except for the head; then, as he lacked the material to make the latter, he has ingeniously turned the difficulty the difficulty by representing it in a retrospective position, and admirably engraved it, slightly in relief, on the withers.


The way in which this head is treated astonishes us; everything is there: the forehead trimmed with horsehair, the arched nose covered with hair, a horn in horn in relief, the other in hollow, the small ear, the large and well studied eye the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth separated from the skin by a dotted line, the dewlap and mane represented by long striations, the tongue protruding from the mouth, recessed on the back, the hairy parts well marked, the whole modelled in a surprising way.

Together with the Lourdes horse and the statuette (Fig. 26-a Fig. 26, - Ivory statuette (thruster) representing a feline or hyaena ~ and 26-b) also from La Madeleine, this is the most beautiful work of prehistoric art known. As for the others, found in this level, it was not always easy to assign them a precise place because of the irregularity of the layer and the natural ground.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


Bison
Bison licking its shoulder, from La Madeleine

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Peyrony_Madeleine46hyenasm
Figure 26

Under the shelter, near the base of the wall, we discovered a statuette in the round, made of ivory, in very poor condition. The material had become flaky and cracked, and we were only able to collect the numerous fragments by taking a thousand precautions and washing away all the dirt. We sent it in this state to the skilful assembler of the Musée de Saint-Germain, Mr Champion, who, by dint of patience and skill, managed to reconstitute this masterpiece. This piece is a hook for a spear thrower.


No. 1. represents one of the faces; the short and thick muzzle, the small nostril, the rounded forehead, the almost round eye, the ear and the lower jaw denote a feline or hyena head. The other parts of the body except the legs are very well studied and rendered. The animal, slightly slumped on its legs, is in the attitude of a lookout, ready to pounce on a prey.

No. 2 is the other side, less well treated.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


propulseur
The artist has included the ground surface on which the hyena is sneaking up on its prey. This is like a scene in nature, a superb piece of work.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




propulseur
This is the rarely photographed back of the hyena propulseur, showing clearly the many pieces that the propulseur was found in, as well as a good view of the hook used to propel the dart.

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




Peyrony_Madeleine47sm


Fig. 27 - Bison sculpté en bois de renne.

At some distance from the latter, still near the rock, we found another in reindeer antler representing a bison without horns (fig. 27); the rump and the hump with its mane are indeed the characteristic parts of the body of this animal, the head is disproportionate.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


propulseur


propulseur


Bison.

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


Turning the figure over from top to bottom, one notices a beautiful deer drawing on the thigh, whose head was on the broken leg of the bison.

( We can see what may be the back and antlers of a deer - Don )

This piece had a hanging hole placed under the neck of the animal. It was an amulet, a lucky charm. Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


Other less important pieces include:

Peyrony_Madeleine49sm


No. 2, Fig. 28, is a fish with an oval body and long tail, deeply incised. It could be related to the bream which still populates our rivers; no fins are visible, but all around there is a series of oblique lines and on the body small transverse lines indicating the scales. Behind the tail there is a series of parallel lines across it.

A bone fish has an indication of fins and scales (fig. 28, nos. 3a and 3b).

A fragment of a reindeer antler shows the remains of deep engravings: firstly, part of an equine head: ear, forehead, neck. In front and above, when the figure is turned upside down, the leg and belly line of another animal can be seen (fig. 28, no. 4).

No. 1a, fig. 28, is a cylindrical piece of reindeer antler around which a series of drawings (no. 1, fig. 28) are arranged in relief; they all touch at their upper ends and thus form a continuous line; they appear to represent highly stylised heads of bovids similar to those in fig. 40, no. 9, unless they are fish tails. Cut-out outlines.

Cut-out outlines:

Engravings. - We shall add to this list two engravings of fish; one on bone (fig. 28, no. 5), rather schematic, appearing to refer, with its pointed snout, to a pike; the other, on limestone (fig. 28, no. 6), represents two carps, one of which bears a broad band terminated by a series of parallel lines.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


IMG_5021fishno20sm


This is a photograph of one of the pieces shown above, No. 2, Fig. 28, a fish with an oval body and long tail, deeply incised.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Peyrony_Madeleine50page54sm
Then two others on stone: The first is a drawing of a headless bovid or deer (Fig. 29, no. 1). The lines are sharp and deep and the proportions well observed.

Rotating the figure by 90° anticlockwise, one can see the hind leg, the thigh and a bit of the belly line of another animal.

A fragmented lithographic stone was used to lightly engrave a reindeer (no. 2, Fig. 29).

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


Peyrony_Madeleine52sm


Anthropomorphic figures.

On a fragment of bone, a bizarre head with two irregular eyes is seen, continued by a constriction representing the neck and an enlargement, the shoulders and the trunk (fig. 30, no. 1a).

The 'pear-shaped' part on the left would seem to be a hanging breast. This engraving is placed on the coin next to that of the hindquarters of a quadruped (Fig. 30, no. 1-b).

At the extreme base of the layer we encountered a small triangular pyramid-shaped pebble with very soft ends and edges, one side of which served as a retoucher (Fig. 30, no. 2).

On the same side, but at the opposite end, we see the profile of the trunk and head of a woman; the latter is covered by a mask. The breast is very prominent below the arm bent forward; the body is furrowed with oblique and parallel striations representing perhaps the hair of a pelt with which she was covered.

The short, strong head with its snout projected forward has a bestial character that we cannot attribute to any animal species known at the time. On the other side there is a full human profile (Fig. 30, no. 3) representing a man also wearing a mask.

Here, no more than in the previous image, the head cannot be related to any animal existing at that time. So one is naturally inclined to suppose that the troglodytes not only used the remains of whole beasts to disguise themselves as we have noticed on the 'diablotins' ( little devils - Don ) of the command staff of the Mège shelter at Teyjat, but that they also had to make masks according to their imagination as the American First Nations still do. Some other less good drawings can be placed in this category.

Fig. 30, no. 5, is also a very disproportionate human profile, remarkable above all for the slenderness of the body. It contrasts with no. 6, Fig. 30, with its large, shapeless head, large belly, strong thigh and small stature.

Finally, no. 4, fig. 30, is a smoothing tool, one end of which is cut out in the profile of a human head; the neck constriction was intended to suspend the tool. If the figure is turned over from left to right, so that the object is placed horizontally, a thin antelope head can be seen with its horns spread over the human profile.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


Peyrony_Madeleine53p57sm


Figure 30 bis

Ithyphallic mask (fig. 30 bis), whose photograph dispenses with any description. Its mask, like that of nos. 2 and 3, fig. 30, does not recall any known animal head. These strange figures have their counterpart in the caves of the Périgord and Pyrenean regions. At Combarelles, several of them are clearly visible among the numerous cave decorations), and the same is true at Altamira (Spain) and in many other places.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


carved  bone


Diaphyse - Magdalénien moyen

Decorated long bone - Middle Magdalenian

This is a curious creature. It bears some resemblance to an otter. Only one rear limb is shown on the engraving.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Peyrony_Madeleine54fig31sm


Fig. 31

Various decorations of objects in bone, ivory, and reindeer antler.

Some semicylindrical rods show a longitudinal series of quadrilaterals in relief alternating with straight grooves (Fig. 31, nos. 3, 4 and 5); others a longitudinal median rib (Fig. 32, nos. 7, 8 and 9), or several straight, curved, sometimes oblique longitudinal grooves (Fig. 31, no. 17 and Fig. 32, no. 3).

A reindeer antler has a sinuous rib on one side, terminated at one end by two barbs facing away from each other, (Fig. 31, no. 8a), and on the convex side (Fig. 31, no. 8b), two other ribs with barbs, each represented by two parallel lines, and another barbed arrow consisting of a line simulating the shaft and oblique lines, the points (3).

The drawing in no. 7, fig. 31, is of the same type. A fragment of bone (Fig. 31, no. 12) is decorated with almost parallel longitudinal lines with slightly oblique transverse lines, forming a comb with one of them. This decoration appears to derive from that of no. 8b, fig. 31, as well as that of no. 11, fig. 31.

The series of acute angles in no. 6, fig. 31, is in the same style as No. 7, fig. 31. It is a barbed arrow without a shaft or a series of line points.

No. 9, Fig. 31, closely related to the preceding one, departs more and more from the original type; series of oblique grooves arranged laterally on objects No. 8 14 and 18a, Fig. 31, would, by extending them to their meeting point, give an identical image, but an even more marked stylisation leads to the decoration of Nos. 8 13 and 18b, Fig. 31, and finally to that of No. 19, Fig. 31. The dagger blade (Fig. 31, no. 1a) was decorated with deep oblique grooves, symmetrical in pairs, starting from the edge and converging towards the middle without meeting.

It seems that the designer was always inspired by the line point. The handle has a longitudinal groove and three deeply incised arcs (fig. 31, no. 16), probably to prevent slipping in the hand.

No. 2, Fig. 31, is a fragment of pointed reindeer antler with deep flutes converging towards the tip. It was probably the blade of a dagger of a different type from the previous one. The deep incisions on both were probably intended to help the blood flow from wounded animals. Many insignificant objects bear series of transverse lines (Fig. 31, no. 15), the significance of which is not clear. The same is true of the oblique lines in no. 1, Fig. 32. The others are decorated Bâtons percés(Fig. 32, no. 6).

Those of no. 10, Fig. 32, on schist, form between them line points that can be compared to those of no. 6, Fig. 31. Finally, various ticked bones such as no. 16, Fig. 31, were only hunting marks.

Alphabetiform signs. - An ivory blade (Fig. 33, no. 1) from the base of the layer bears a series of four signs identical to our capital E and to others found by Piette on coloured pebbles from Mas d'Azil. A series of five other drawings, three on one side of a rib (Fig. 33, no. 4), two on the opposite side, seemed to us to be placed next to the previous ones; we found this sign on a chisel (Fig. 33, no. 5) from the same level; it is also reproduced next to a superb reindeer head (Fig. 55, no. 1) from the upper layer; it is also on a bone from the Piette collection (Layer 5, display case of works of art, Musée de Saint-Germain). The two marks (Fig. 33, no. 3) placed behind the mammoth may fit into this group.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


venus figure madeleine
Labelled by Peyrony as a dagger blade (Fig. 31, no. 1a and 1b), this is obviously a venus figure, and is now recognised as such in the literature.

Label:
Bois de renne sculpté
La Madeleine
Fouilles Capitan et Peyrony
Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, musée national de Préhistoire
MNP 1928-7-16

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux




Peyrony_Madeleine55fig32sm


Fig. 32

The significance of the oblique lines in no. 1, Fig. 32 is not clear. The others are decorated Bâtons percés (Fig. 32, no. 6).

The gouge strokes of dagger no. 2, Fig. 32, were probably intended to facilitate gripping.

A serpentine line can be seen on the field of a fragment of a reindeer antler assegai point (Fig. 32, no. 4). Those of no. 10, Fig. 32, on schist, form between them line points that can be compared to those of no. 6, Fig. 31.

Nos. 5a and 5b, fig. 32, are the two flattened sides of the same object which is still an outline cut out. It is the fragment of an instrument whose preserved end forms a trident.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


Peyrony_Madeleine57fig33sm


Fig. 33

Various objects made of bone, ivory and reindeer antlers with alphabetiform signs.

The two marks (Fig. 33, no. 3) placed behind the mammoth may fit into this group.

During their excavations at La Madeleine, Lartet and Christy collected a fragment of reindeer antler bearing a series of alphabetical signs (fig. 33, no. 2), the whole of which seems to form a word or a sentence, but which is an enigma for us (1). At the 'Crozo de Gentillo' or cave of 'Combe-Cullier', M. Viré found a stick having on one side a series of signs which may be similar to the above (2).

What are these drawings? Separated, as on the chisel (Fig. 33, no. 5), the engravings (Fig. 33 no. 3) and fig. 55 (no. 1), they could well be, as Piette suggested, the author's mark, his signature, if you like; in this case, they would be comparable to certain potter's marks, which are incomprehensible to us.

But when these characters are on insignificant objects and they are repeated (fig. 33, nos. 1 and 4) or combined (no. 33, no. 2), we can neither admit that they had an ornamental purpose, nor that they are pure marks of authorship; rather, it seems to us that they are signs with a meaning for those who used them, known to all the people of a tribe and probably even to many tribes, since they are found in all the Magdalenian deposits of south-western France; this was probably the first writing.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


Most of these characters were found by Piette painted on the pebbles of the Azilian or Tourassian layer of the Mas d'Azil; some of them are found much more frequently in the Eteocretan alphabet.

Fauna

All the fauna was collected. The mammals were carefully determined by Mr. E. Harlé and the birds by Mr. E. F. Newton, whose notes we reproduce and to whom we express our sincere thanks.

Mammals

Base of the layer. - A large number of bones which are, unfortunately, very fragmented.

In the layer:

Bear: the size of the present one: one lower end of a humerus (maximum width about 96 mm.).

Wolf: of ordinary size and very large size: a few remains of ordinary fox.

Horses: of ordinary size and large size: numerous bones, some of which are adult and others young.

Large bovid: very few bones.

Reindeer: abundant remains of various sizes, some very large.

Chamois: one mandible.

Saiga (?): portion of an upper jaw with the first two back molars.

Birds: Lagopus muta ( Montin, 1776 ): - Rock ptarmigan. Aquila chrysaëtus. (Linn) - Tawny eagle.

In summary, the base of this layer was characterised by a few abruptly retouched flints (Fig. 7, nos. 7, 9, 10, 11, 12), carvings in the round and bas-reliefs on stone; the rest of the level, by carvings, bas-reliefs, cut-out outlines, engravings, primitive harpoons, forked spear points; the whole, by numerous single-bevelled spear points, discs, large rods decorated with quadrilaterals in relief and by the abundance of horse and reindeer bones.

The lower part of this level is contemporary with the lower part of the Laugerie-Basse and Marseilles deposits, which have yielded sculptures which have produced sculptures and bas-reliefs in limestone, the lower part of Lorthet and part of the mural sculpture shelter of Cap-Blanc. It seems to be placed directly above the upper layer of the Champs-Blancs, the deposit of the Reverdy shelter at Sergeac, the lower Magdalenian horizon of the Placard cave. The whole layer corresponds to the "Piette equidian"; it is synchronous with the lower level of Gourdan, Arudy, Mas d'Azil, and the two lower levels of Laugerie-Basse and Marseilles.

Middle Layer

The base was of a sandy nature, almost identical to the lower one. Under the shelter, the upper part was mainly composed of small calcareous elements mixed with brick-red silt, a little clayey. We noted the presence of several hearths, but all at the top; they were formed by a paving of rolled Vézère pebbles, on which the ashes and carbonised material lay (one of them was 5.5 metres long and 1 metre wide); there were no traces of washing away by flood waters.

The floods of the Vézère were less severe than previously, since they no longer carried away the ashes and coals, and deposited no sand, but simply a little clayey silt. It is around the hearths, under the shelter, that we found the most beautiful pieces.



Peyrony_Madeleine60fig34sm


Fig. 34

Lithic Industry

It was less abundant than in the previous layer, but the large and small cores were more numerous. The whole of the tooling is more or less the same; we will therefore only speak of the forms that we did not encounter in the lower level. On the whole, the blades are larger (Fig. 34, no. 15). We collected a superb Mousterian facies scraper (Fig. 34, no. 1), a few small notched or toothed blades (Fig. 34, nos. 6, 7, 8, 14), a small, very fine set of tools: backed blades (Fig. 34, no. 13), drills (Fig. 34, no. 12), etc. The parrot beaks ( burins ) are not yet very numerous (14), nor well characterised (Fig. 34, nos. 2, 3, 4, 5), but they are sharper and less massive than in the previous level.

There are no pedunculate (tanged) spear heads (pointes à soie), but there are several atypical notched points (Fig. 34, nos. 9, 10 and 11).

Three triangular prismatic pieces have a roughly flat face, the other two are faceted; sometimes one end is rounded as in a thick scraper (Fig. 34, no. 16). These pieces are identical to those collected by us in the Michelet deposit at Limeuil, to two others found by M. Maury in the prehistoric deposit of Marseilles, one of which is 35 cm. long and is admirably cut. Another as large was discovered, a few years ago, by M. Dublange, a pharmacist at Fleix.

What are these objects? choppers? large knives? scrapers? perhaps! They could have been used as planes or, resting on the flat face, as anvils for retouching pieces.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


The bone, ivory, and reindeer antler industry

Peyrony_Madeleine62fig35sm


Fig. 35

Reindeer antlers with the beginnings of a cut.

The reindeer antlers were well preserved, and we collected some fairly large ones, one of which was in perfect condition (Fig. 35); almost all of them had undergone some sort of cutting.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


Peyrony_Madeleine63fig36sm


Fig. 36

The industry consists of:

Harpoons - They almost always have a single row of very long barbs projecting from the shaft. Some are large (fig. 36, nos. 1, 2, 8, 22), others medium (fig. 36, nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 20, 21), some very small (fig. 36, nos. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18). Those at the bottom of the layer have angular barbs and their outer edge forms a line parallel to the shaft (fig. 36, nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8); those at the top have the points further away from the shaft and are regularly convex (fig. 36, nos. 19, 20, 21, 22); two or three have the base bevelled (fig. 36, nos. 1, 8), while others have a small basilar bulge (fig. 36, nos. 2, 5, 6, 7, 13, 20, 22); no. 5, fig. 36, is of surprising regularity; the small one (no. 17, fig. 36), with a double row of barbs, comes from the middle of the layer.

Tridents. - In the upper part of the level, we discovered three pieces that do not resemble each other absolutely, but which seem to be of the same family. No. 11, fig. 36, is a sort of bone fork with flattened handles, furrowed with oblique lines, to better allow it to be inserted; the other end is finished with two bifid branches, one of which is a little broken. This instrument is comparable to the trident used by fishermen to catch certain fish. It has not been possible to find a similar one at the Mège shelter, which gave an industry similar to that of this layer, and one by M. Maury at Marseilles, in the same level.

Nos. 8 9, 10, fig. 36, hold the middle between the harpoon and the trident; the two flattened ends are prepared in such a way that they can be used alternatively.

It is not possible to find a similar one at the Mège shelter, which gave an industry similar to that of this layer, and one by M. Maury at Marseilles, in the same level. The two flattened ends are prepared in such a way that they can be used alternately as points or barbs and that, depending on the case, one can have either a harpoon or a trident.

Spear points. - Most of them have a double-bevelled base (fig. 37, no. 8, 5, 6, 7, 8), some have a cylindrical-conical base (fig. 37, no. 3) or a quadrangular pyramidal base (fig. 37, no. 4) or a short rounded base (fig. 37, no. 8, 14, 15 and 16); there are some with a single bevelled base, but they are rare.

Bâtons percés - These are usually small. Nos. 1 and 2, fig. 38, are two sides of the same one, made from a fragment of reindeer antler and decorated with horses' heads. Nos. 3, 4, 5, fig. 38, represent another seen on three sides; one end is a

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


Nos. 3, 4, 5, fig. 38, represent another bâton percé seen on three sides; one end is carved as a mammoth foot, while the other is terminated by two points forming a U-shape. The two small branches of another (Fig. 38, nos. 9 and 11) are shaped like the last, but with shorter points. A reindeer horn with a circular constriction almost at its base and a large hole nearby is sparingly decorated (Fig. 39, no. 1). One fragment (Fig. 39, no. 7) has two holes, one round and one oval; it is broken in the middle of the latter. The command stick from the Mège shelter, at Teyjat, is identically perforated. Finally, one was abandoned during the execution. On both sides, one can see two cupules opposite each other at the base, which could only have been made with the help of a scraper on the end of a blade used as an auger (fig. 39, no. 6).

Hooked spear throwers - a very beautiful one (fig. 38, nos. 7 and 8) has been collected in pieces and admirably reconstructed by M. Champion. It is decorated with two reindeer heads in relief and barbed arrows.

No. 14, fig. 38, is a fragment of the shaft of another with the beginning of ornamentation.

Baguettes demi-ronde - Fig. 40 represents the major part of the fragments of engraved rods from this layer. It should be noted that these pieces are rarely whole.

Only one small, undecorated baguette demi-ronde was found (fig. 37, no. 9), with a thinned base and an opposite end cut into a flute beak. As a whole, they are thinner and narrower than those of the previous horizon.

Miscellaneous objects - The tools are completed by scissors (fig. 37, nos. 1 and 2), punches (fig. 37, no. 18), hooks (fig. 37, no. 13), needles of all sizes (fig. 37, nos. 10, 11 and 12), bones and soft stones ticked (fig. 39, no. 4), etc.

Jewellery. The ornaments consist of pierced stones, teeth and shells, colouring materials and an oblong amulet (Fig. 42, No. 1) made of bone. One end is broken off, the other has a hole for hanging. It is decorated on one side with a long median groove.

Peyrony_Madeleine65fig37sm


Fig. 37

Miscellaneous objects - The tools are completed by scissors (fig. 37, nos. 1 and 2), punches (fig. 37, no. 18), hooks (fig. 37, no. 13), needles of all sizes (fig. 37, nos. 10, 11 and 12), bones and soft stones ticked (fig. 39, no. 4), etc.

Only one small, undecorated baguette demi-ronde was found (fig. 37, no. 9), with a thinned base and an opposite end cut into a flute beak. As a whole, they are thinner and narrower than those of the previous horizon.

Spear points. - Most of them have a double-bevelled base (fig. 37, no. 8, 5, 6, 7, 8), some have a cylindrical-conical base (fig. 37, no. 3) or a quadrangular pyramidal base (fig. 37, no. 4) or a short rounded base (fig. 37, no. 8, 14, 15 and 16); there are some with a single bevelled base, but they are rare.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


Peyrony_Madeleine66fig38sm


Fig. 38

Hooked spear throwers - a very beautiful one (fig. 38, nos. 7 and 8) has been collected in pieces and admirably reconstructed by M. Champion. It is decorated with two reindeer heads in relief and barbed arrows.

No. 14, fig. 38, is a fragment of the shaft of another with the beginning of ornamentation.

Nos. 3, 4, 5, fig. 38, represent another seen on three sides; one end is carved as a mammoth foot, while the other is terminated by two points forming a U-shape. The two small branches of another (Fig. 38, nos. 9 and 11) are shaped like the last, but with shorter points. A reindeer antler with a circular constriction almost at its base and a large hole nearby is sparingly decorated (Fig. 39, no. 1).

It is decorated on one side with a median longitudinal groove flanked by two series of double arcs, which will be discussed later.

Art Objects

This layer has not given us any sculptures in the round; we have only collected bas-reliefs and engravings.

Bas-reliefs

Nos. 7 and 8, fig. 38, are the profile and face of a spear thrower/propulseur 275 mm long, whose hook is broken; it is decorated with two heads in relief placed one in front of the other, which can only be related to reindeer. The taller one is very elongated, without antlers, as there is not enough room for their development; the ear is well made, the eye in relief, the muzzle well executed.

The second is treated in the same way; the spread antlers are wrapped around the bed, the small ear is very clear, the series of dots running from the forehead to the muzzle indicates the hair system; the same is true of the parallel striations covering the upper lip and surrounding the nostril. The base of the object shows two very clear barbed arrow patterns, reminiscent of those previously described in the lower layer.

The bâton percé (Fig. 38, no. 9) bears, in relief, a feline head or skull, very recognisable by its round eyes and short snout. Nos. 11 and 12, Fig. 38, are the other sides of the coin.

In addition to this image, there is a whole series of more or less enigmatic images engraved on various points of the surface. On the right-hand side of face no. 9, there is an engraving, developed in fig. 10, which seems to refer to a fish; there are three dots arranged in a triangle on the caudal region and four in a quadrilateral on the body; a line extends the snout.

The face of no. 11 shows on the right of the hole a canid head (wolf or fox): short ears and small eyes; lower down, a female sexual organ: pubis, with hairy system and vulva indicated, which can be clearly seen on figure 12. We also notice on this one two ears limiting a tuft of hair (toupet or forelock) which make us think of an equid and a drawing almost identical to no. 10, probably that of another fish.

No. 14, Fig. 38, is a broken thruster in progress with an unfinished carved head. We found only one of these bone sketches, so numerous in the previous level, in this level.

A bone chip (Fig. 38, no. 13) shows a series of seven parallel striations and, next to it, a roughly treated equine head: the forehead, the muzzle and the eye. Another drawing of the same animal can be seen on the chisel (Fig. 37, no. 2), which is reproduced in a larger size in Fig. 38, no. 6. On one side of the bâton percé no. 1, fig. 38, two slightly raised horse heads can be seen and a third one of the same style on the other side (fig. 38, no. 2).

One side of the small bâton percé (Fig. 38, no. 3) is decorated with two superb bovid heads of perfect realism, but with parallel broken or wavy lines in the jaws. On the left between the hole and the U, there are four transverse, parallel lines, while the other end, finished in the shape of a mammoth foot, has three similar lines, the last one on the right forming a triangle with two other oblique lines. The other side (fig. 38, no. 4) shows another bovid head, less beautiful than the previous ones, with grooves arranged in a different way. The two fields of the object show a kind of grid pattern (Fig. 38, no. 5).

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


Batons percé


Pierced baton - Middle Magdalenian

This is a photograph of 3, 4, 5, fig. 38, above.

Note that the baton has been carved with the artistically stylised likenesses of two aurochs or bison, or one of each - but they have the characteristic 'beard' of a bison.

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


horses IMG_5499propulseur2gsm IMG_5499propulseur2gsm


Two horses carved on a propulseur or spear thrower, from La Madeleine.

This is the other side of the propulseur shown at fig. 38, nos. 7 and 8 above.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008, 2014
Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




IMG_0773baton12baguette13sm IMG_4932nos12to15lamadeleinesm


Pierced bâton and sculpture of a fish - Middle Magdalenian

These photos are of:

(a) the pierced bâton from Fig. 38, nos. 9 and 11 above. It is fortuitous that the bâton had been rotated in the period between the two photos, in order to see the two faces.

(b) A bone fish with an indication of fins and scales (fig. 28, nos. 3a and 3b).

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014, 2018
Source: Original, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac


IMG_0773baton_vulva
Note that the bâton percé above has a vulva of the type typical of the Magdalenian period carved upon it.

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


IMG_4919carvedbatonperceno4lamadeleinesm


This bâton percé, shown as no. 1 and no. 2 in fig. 38 above, has two slightly raised horse heads carved into the baton, facing to the left. The jaw is accentuated on the leftmost, larger of the two, and the mouth, nostril, eye, ear, and mane are indicated.

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


IMG_4956nos40to45lamadeleinebsm


This is the other face of the broken propulseur shown as no. 14, Fig. 38.

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


Peyrony_Madeleine69fig39sm


Fig. 39

The bâton percé (fig. 39, no. 1) is decorated on this side with a line point, five oblique gouge strokes follow one of the branches and are continued by a sinuous longitudinal groove. The other side shows a faint antelope head (Fig. 39, no. 2) with a well marked horn and ear and, below, a line point with one sided barbs (Fig. 39, no. 3). No. 8, Fig. 39, could be a phallus, unless it was a kind of wineskin stopper, the strangulation serving to bind the skin tightly to the object for a hermetic closure.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


Penis
No. 8, Fig. 39, as above, is a phallus carved from reindeer antler - Upper Magdalenian, from la Madeleine.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac



phallus  madeleine


Phallus, as above, fortuitously showing the other side.

Carved in the round of reindeer antler, on loan from Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, musée national de Préhistoire, and shown above as no. 8, Fig. 39.

Label:
Bois de renne sculpté en ronde bosse, La Madeleine, Fouilles Capitan et Peyrony
Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, musée national de Préhistoire, MNP 1928-7-15

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux




IMG_4931no10sm
This is the bâton percé shown on fig. 39, labelled no. 1.

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



Peyrony_Madeleine71fig40sm


Fig. 40

A series of semicylindrical rod fragments are decorated with more or less realistic drawings. On the narrowed and thinned base of no. 1, fig. 40, we see several oblique chisel strokes and, at the other end, a strange head: the perfectly rendered eye, the pointed snout and the upper jaw armed with sharp teeth make us think of a pike or a shark; the back of the head is a bit fanciful; however, the drawing is very neat.

No. 2, fig. 40, is a real puzzle: on the right, a beautiful brown bear head, licking the glans of a phallus that appears to be erect, flanked by two testicles, followed by a female pelvis: belly and vulva half open and very detailed; the dots and fine striations probably represent the hair system.

On no. 3, fig. 40, an antelope's head occupies the right extremity; the two horns are derived from each side of the stick behind the ear, which is very well rendered; the ornamentation is continued by two parallel series of small transverse gouge strokes. No. 4, fig. 40, is an enlargement of the head.

The decoration of no. 5, fig. 40, proceeds from the previous one; the two deep curved and parallel grooves simulate another antelope head, and the sinuous lines which continue them, the two horns treated and arranged like those we have just described. A double row of chisel strokes curved in the same direction extends to the broken end.

No. 6 is the right-hand side of No. 5 enlarged. A series of eyes surmounted by arcs in the style of antelope horns, six punctuation marks and two parallel rows of chisel strokes on the right-hand end make up the whole of no. 7, fig. 40.

No. 8, fig. 40, is reminiscent of the left-hand drawing in no. 2, fig. 40. A series of three stylised bovid heads with the indicated hair system, or perhaps fish tails with scales, decorate the lower part of no. 9, fig. 40; while on the other, a series of very simplified and very small transverse engravings appear to be horse heads. This is best seen by turning the figure upside down; a long longitudinal groove and transverse striations complete the decoration.

No. 10, fig. 40, is rather enigmatic, falling within the framework of the previous ones, but could also represent a fish. Finally, eyes and horns symmetrically arranged in pairs on stick no. 11, fig. 40, are bovid heads reduced to their essential parts. The representation of antelope horns (Fig. 40, nos. 3, 4, 5, 6) suggested the decoration of harpoon no. 3, Fig. 41, completed by transverse strokes in front of the arcs of the circle and on the base of the object, and oblique strokes between the basilar bulge and the lowest horn. Placing the two wavy lines and the strong oblique lines at the base of each of them side by side produces a drawing identical to nos. 5 and 6, Fig. 40. In other words, each corrugation and the base groove form half of a highly stylised antelope head.



Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)


IMG_0770batonbsm


The photograph above of the drawing No. 2, fig. 40 above, shows, on the right, a beautiful brown bear head, licking the glans of a phallus that appears to be erect, flanked by two testicles, followed by a female pelvis: belly and vulva half open and very detailed; the dots and fine striations probably represent the hair system.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac



Are the pectiform signs seen on no. 4, fig. 41, not derivatives of the line point, no. 3, fig. 39, of the command staff no. 1 or of the engravings of nos. 10 and 12, fig. 31? Or should they be compared to the alphabetiform signs of no. 1, fig. 33? Oblique lines are arranged on various points all around this piece.

Harpoon no. 1, fig. 41, is decorated with curved and oblique lines placed in different ways. At the top, they appear to represent the body of a mammal, with the line of the back and the two ears and two horns erected in an avactus.

A piece of the same kind, no. 6, fig. 41, has long, deep, straight and curved incisions all around it, and some transverse lines. A fragment of a reindeer antler smoother (no. 12, fig. 41) has a design composed of diverging oblique stripes that may represent line points. Finally, the decoration of the three pieces (Fig. 41, nos. 5, 10 and 11) seems to derive from a snake figure.

On harpoon fragment no. 5, two parallel wavy lines ending on one side in a sort of open-mouthed head can only be attributed to an ophidian. The base shows part of an identical design. On the fragment of assegai no. 10, a snake is clearly visible, with a sinuous body and a large head, while another, no. 11, bears a sinuous line that appears to be a stylisation of the previous engraving.

A piece of reindeer antler forming part of a larger tool or weapon bears two symmetrically opposed rows of small reliefs (Fig. 41, nos. 8 and 9). The stick fragment No. 7, Fig. 41, has two broad longitudinal flutes and transverse gouge marks; it fits into the frame of No. 2, Fig. 42.

The various engravings in no. 3, fig. 42, together give an animal head: the two longitudinal curved lines at the bottom, the snout; higher up, the transverse lines arranged in pairs on each side of the object, the eyes; finally, the two longitudinal series of dots, the horns. No. 4, Fig. 42, placed next to it, is a figure of the same kind, but even more stylised, with a series of burin strokes variously placed on the upper part.

No. 8, Fig. 42, is the field of a piece of an assegai. On the right we see the eye, forehead and two horns of a caprid and on the left the remains of a similar engraving. The decoration of amulet no. 1,

Peyrony_Madeleine73fig41sm


Fig. 41

On no. 2, fig. 41, the arcs of the circle have the same meaning as that of ....... with each corrugation and the base groove form half of a highly stylised antelope head, but here, there is no detail left that could make us suspect their origin, if we did not have before us the progressive simplification of the primitive motif; two series of transverse strokes as on the previous harpoon, rows of striations and scalariform signs, one of which is very clear, still adorn this object.

Photo and text: Capitan et Peyrony (1928)



References

  1. Crémades M., 1994: Oeuvres d'art mobilier inédites de la Madeleine (Tursac-Dordogne), (Fouilles J.M. Bouvier). In: Paléo, N. 6,1994. pp. 233-246.
  2. Bordes F., Deffarges, R., de Sonneville-Bordes D., 1973: Les pointes de Laugerie-Basse dans le gisement du Morin. Essai de définition.Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, Comptes rendus des séances mensuelles. 1973, tome 70, N. 5. pp. 145-151.
  3. Capitan L., Peyrony D., 1928: La Madeleine : son gisement, son industrie, ses oeuvres d’art. Paris, Librairie Emile Nourry, 1928.
  4. Collie, G., 1928: The Aurignacians and their culture, Issued January 1928 as Beloit College Bulletin, Vol. XXVI. No 2, printed by the Daily News Publishing Company
  5. Duhard J., 2009-2010: Une nouvelle représentation feminine à la Madeleine (Tursac, Dordogne) Paleo, No. 21 – 2009-2010 – Pages 127 à 134
  6. Lartet, E., Christy H.,1875: Reliquiae aquitanicae : being contributions to the archaeology and palaeontology of Pèrigord and the adjoining provinces of Southern France, London: Williams, 1875
  7. Leroi-Gourhan A., 1973: Prähistorische Kunst: d. Ursprünge d. Kunst in Europa, Herder, 1973 - 601 pages
  8. Lorblanchet M., 1995: Les grottes ornees de la prehistoire: Nouveaux regards, Editions Errance (1995)
  9. Marshack, A., 1972: The Roots of Civilization: the Cognitive Beginning of Man’s First Art, Symbol and Notation New York, McGraw-Hill
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  11. Pearson, G., 1999: North American Paleoindian Bi-Beveled Bone and Ivory Rods: A New Interpretation, North American Archaeologist, Volume 20, Number 2 / 1999 pp 81 - 103
  12. Peyrony, D., 1926 - Fouille de La Madeleine, Carnet de fouilles D. Peyrony, Archives du Musée national de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, p. 110-112.
  13. Peyrony, D., 1927 - Découverte d’un squelette humain à La Madeleine, Institut International d’Anthropologie, Amsterdam, 1927, 3, p. 318-320.
  14. Sieveking, A., 1979: The Cave Artists, Thames and Hudson
  15. Taborin, Y., 1993: La parure en coquillage au Paléolithique XXIXe supplément à "Gallia Préhistoire" Paris : CNRS, 1993
  16. Vanhaeren, M. et d’Errico, F., 2001: La parure de l’enfant de la Madeleine (fouilles Peyrony). Un nouveau regard sur l’enfance au Paléolithique supérieur, Paléo [En ligne], 13 | 2001, mis en ligne le 26 mai 2010, Consulté le 04 octobre 2010. URL : paleo.revues.org/index1058.html
  17. Vanhaeren, M. et d’Errico, F., Billy, I., Grousset F., 2004: Tracing the source of Upper Palaeolithic shell beads by strontium isotope dating, Journal of Archaeological ScienceVolume 31, Issue 10, October 2004, pp. 1481–1488
  18. Vialou D., 1991: La prehistoire (L'univers des formes), Gallimard (1991).
  19. Wisniewski T., Mroczek P., Rodzik J., Zagorski P., Wilczynski J., Nyvltova Fisakova M., 2012: On the periphery of the Magdalenian World: An open-air site in Klementowice, Quaternary International 272-273 (2012) 308 - 321


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