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VENUS of Hohle Fels

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

ca. 35,000 B.C,E Germany/ Schwäbische Alb

Venus of Hohle Fels

  • the oldest Venus figurine in Europe and is also one of the world's oldest representations of the human body

  • seize: 6 cm

  • carved from mammoth ivory

  • instead of the head, the statuette has an eyelet. It was probably once worn as a pendant with a leather strap or plant fibres

  • discovered in September 2008 during excavations in the Hohle Fels karst cave at the southern foot of the Swabian Alb.

  • Hohle Fels has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017 due to the findings

The first modern humans reached the European continent 43,000 to 45,000 years ago. The newcomers also came to the Swabian Alb, settled in caves there - and launched the world's first artists' forge.

This Venus comes from the Aurignacian culture, the oldest archaeological culture of the European Upper Palaeolithic. The Aurignacian culture is associated with anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens, also Cro-Magnon man).

Whatever the precise meaning or interpretation of the Schelklingen Venus, the immensely time-consuming work done only with primitive tools suggests that this piece of primitive art had a particularly high value in the eyes of the sculptors.

All palaeoanthropologists and archaeologists agree that the carving of a human figure - indeed any pictorial representation (engraving, painting or otherwise) of the human form - represents an important advance in the cultural development of humankind.


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