Unformatted text preview: Lecture 17:
Paleolithic Art and Sculpture ANP 264 Great Discoveries in Archaeology
Dr. John Norder What is rock art?
What is rock art? Four parts to the question:
What forms does it take? How old is it? Who made it? What does it mean? Forms
Forms Always placed on stone (ROCK art). Portable/mobiliary – images on stones that can be carried by hand Parietal – images placed on the side or surface of some difficult to move or immovable stone outcropping (boulders, cliffs, etc) Petroforms/Geoglyphs – use or exposure of soils and/or stone to produce images. Portable forms:
The Case of Upper Paleolithic Venus Figurines Some Examples
Some Examples Venus of Willendorf Found in Austria 2530 KYA (thousand years ago) Venus of Dolni Vestonice
2836 KYA Czechoslavakia Venus of Gagarino
Date unknown Ukraine Who made them?
Who made them? Made by a variety of cultures during the Upper Paleolithic time period in Europe and northern Africa. Ca. 25 to 35 KYA. What do they mean?
What do they mean? Research suggests that the enhanced female figure is associated with ideas of fertility. Fertility = Venus (Roman goddess of love) Could it be something else?
Could it be something else? McCoid and McDermott observed: Figures are clearly distorted views of female form. They asked: where did this view come from? From men? From men? Typical view is that these items were produced by men for fertility rituals for either success in obtaining food or the production of offspring. Enhancement of those things associated with fertility (breasts, buttocks) only natural for men. From women? From women? Women, what does your body look like when you look at yourself? Alternative Hypothesis
Alternative Hypothesis Figurines were tools and aids made by women for female pregnancy. Women could gage a healthy pregnancy by selfcomparison with figurines.
Explains the distorted form Parietal Rock Art:
Parietal Rock Art: There are two major forms:
Petroglyphs Pictographs The earliest art?
The earliest art? Upper Paleolithic (UP) art of France and Spain at 35+KYA is considered one of the oldest. Australia also has some of the oldest, and may be older than 50 KYA. The Upper Paleolithic (UP) World
The Upper Paleolithic (UP) World UP dates to ca. 40 to 10 kya
Defined mainly by the presence of anatomically modern humans in Europe.
CroMagnon Man is the earliest More robust and bigger with slightly larger skull capacities than today’s humans . Neanderthals also still present at the time until 30 kya. Form?
Form? Pictographs and petroglyphs from cave sites in France are the most well known. Also petroglyphs on open air boulders and cliffs, but these are only a recent discovery. History of Lascaux Cave
History of Lascaux Cave Cave discovered in 1940 when a treefall opened up a hole in the ground. 4 local teens hunting in the area lost their dog in the hole. They expanded the hole, rescued the dog, and discovered the paintings. Other Paleolithic Art: Other Paleolithic Art: Chauvet, France 10 to 32 kya (dates are disputed) Alta Mira, Spain Oldest known site 25 to 32 kya Cosquer, France 19 to 27 kya How do we know how old it is?
How do we know how old it is? Difficult to date rock art.
Used charcoal to draw in UP art, and could use various forms of radiocarbon dating.
C14 Dating (Lascaux, Chauvet, Cosquer) UraniumThorium Dating (Alta Mira) Most world rock has not been dated. Why?
Why? How do you date a petroglyph?
How do you date nonorganic pigments (used in the majority of world rock art)? Dating Methods
Dating Methods Rock varnish: A patina of mineral and organic ‘stuff’ that accumulates on the surface of a petroglyph. Organic stuff is radiocarbon dated Provides ‘older than’ dates. Mineral Drips
Mineral Drips Same method and issues as rock varnish. Uraniumthorium and C14 dating both usable What does it mean?
What does it mean? How would you interpret a site with lots of animal pictures that was drawn by a society of huntergatherers? Theories for UP art
Theories for UP art Art for art’s sake.
Language (like hieroglyphs)
Male/female initiation sites
Shamanistic vision sites. Sites used for rituals of increase. Marked gathering locations. ...
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- Spring '11
- rock art