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2022-03-20 17:10:13   •   ID: 2314

Reality of Fake: Late Magdalenian Engraving from Laugerie Haute ?

Figure 1
Figure 1: This broken long bone (5,5x2,4x2 cm) is said to come from the late Magdalenian at Laugerie Haute at Les Eyzies / Dordogne and was probably found in the early twentieth century by a laborer who worked for various scientists and Antiquarians, among them Peyrony, Amy and of course O. Hauser. It then remained in family possession for decades and later entered into my personal collection.

If authentic, this small work of "art "was created at least 30 k.a. after the oldest figurative images discovered only recently in Indonesia- see here:Indonesia , where scientists will certainly find further very early art in the Future.

For me it remains difficult to determine what kind of creature was captured in this small bone fragment.

Is it a wolf? Is it a fragment, showing two animals, one of which with antlers? Is it one of those fantastic gost-like creatures, that played an important role in Franco-Cantabrian Paleolithic art?. As times went passing by I now suggest that It may be a fake, because the engraving is rather rude, compared to other engravings from the Magdalenian at Laugerie.

Especially in the early days of prehistoric science, there have been many forgeries. Famous examples come from the Kesslerloch-See: 1721 (Merk 1876) and from Doni Vestonice (Svoboda 2020.

In any case, this small artwork is displaying a common motif during the Magdalenian. A very similar motiv was engraved from the roughly contemporaneous piece of Mas-d'Azil.

Such Palaeolithic „doublettes“ of figurative art were not rare and occurred since the European Aurignacian (the vulva like signs on stone blocks in the vicinity of the Vezere Valley, the two „Lion Men“ from the Swabian Jura….) and persisted until the Magdalenian (for example the headlines women from Lalinde in the Perigord, or at Gönnersdorf (Femmes sans tête according to Gerhard Bosinski).

The close links between artistic motives from the Perigord and remote European regions elsewhere - a fact that has been already described since Breuil's times, points to a common fundus of ideologies and believes over long distances.

Suggested Reading:

Carole Fritz (Ed): L Art de la préhistoire, 2017: Highly recommended because it breaks with the Eurocentric point of view.

G. Bosinski: Femmes sans tête. Une icône culturelle dans l'Europe de la fin de l'époque glaciaire; 2011