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2011-02-17 04:01:32   •   ID: 1014

Geometric Engravings on the cortex of flint (Willendorf Kostenki)

Figure 1
Figure 2
This is an enigmantic Criss cross Pattern on a burinated blade, engraved on the cortex of flint, found at Moravany Banka and belonging to the Willendorf-Kostenki technocomplex (Displayed with different tresholds; Please click to enlarge!). Of course such incision may indicate some symbolic message. Please also read 1032 .

Africa and the Levant: During the evolution of such schematic patterns first appear in the MSA layers of Blombos cave dated to 100-75 years ago on ochre slabs The earliest examples of engravings on the cortex of flint before the upper Paleolithic are an engraving with a set of concentric lines found at the Quneitra site, in a Mousterian level dated to ca 60 k.a BP and from Qafzeh (ca 90 k.a BP) with a set of parallel incisions found in the same Levallois-Mousterian levels as the Homo sapiens burials.

Recently non utilitarian engravings were reported from the mid to end Levallois Mousterian layers at Manot cave (Marder et al. 2018)

In Europe and the Caucasus another 23 engraving on stones are known from the Lower Paleolithic (e.g Bilzingsleben, Terra Amata) and Middle Paleolithic (e.g. Baume Bonne, Fumane cave). The most recent (2018) state-of-the-art publication, with an extended review of other cases, deals with an engraved flint flake from the Kiik- Koba (Eastern Micoquian) type site, dated to between c.35 and 37 cal k.a. BP. Most of the previous publications deal with the enervating issue of "Neanderthal Symbolism"- maybe this helps to sink the "Modern Human Revolution" paradigm...

Engraved stones with schematic decorations occur throughout the Upper Paleolithic of Europe, but items of such decorations on the cortex of flint artifacts are rare. The best known example is a burin of the late Magdalenian at Princevent. Implements with an engraved cortex from the Roc-aux-Sorciers site are dated to a Late Magdalenian with tanged and shouldered points.

Similar items are known from several late “Federmesser” ("Tjongerian") sites in Belgium and the Netherlands, from the late Paleolithic at Hengistbury Head and at the Bromme-type site.

To my knowledge, the example displayed here is the first published from a Gravettian context.