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2013-08-18 13:14:40   •   ID: 1100

Needles from La Madeleine

Figure 1
Some small bone tools from the La Madeleine (most probably fragments of needles). The exploitation of animal bones, antlers and ivory as raw materials for the production of utilitarian tools as well as for ritual and art objects became common only during the Upper Paleolithic, although these raw materials were available to Middle Paleolithic / Middle Stone Age humans.

The exceptions from this rule are the rich assemblages of the Howiesons Poort entity in South Africa, generally dated to 80–60 k.a. BP, the exceptional MSA Katanda bone harpoons at 80-90 k.a. PB and the ivory and bone artifacts of the Salzgitter-site at ca 50k.a.BP.

One may hypothesize that the makers of these innovative artifacts did not survive to a later age or that these innovations were lost subsequently. It seems possible that the appearance of similar bone and antler tools, beads and pendants in Eurasia during the very early Upper Paleolithic were independent events.

The Magdalenian is extraordinary rich in bone, ivory and antler work, among which the harpoon types are most famous. Notably at the type site such items were found in large quantities and subsequently dispersed over more than 50 institutions and numerous private collections.

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