PLACE OF FINDING
I have found this lithic sculpture at Maribo in Denmark, in secondary bed: not a "true" paleolithic layer, in how much I have not found lithic tools in associazione.
The findings of paleolithic lithic sculptures found in secondary bed are many. As an example, the Venus of Savignano (Italy) found in 1924, was in an alluvial zone (I made there research in 60's, and there was no trace of lithic tools), and has been attributed from the scholars of paleolithic art to the Aurignacian, for affinity with other small paleolithic feminine figurines with same typology.
This anthropomorphic sculpture of Maribo, that I have found in 1977, has been never published, in how much I attributed it to the evolued Acheulean , that is to the final phase of the Lower Paleolithic, and then,it was said that in Denmark the Lower Paleolihic did not exist, in how much the earth was covered from the ice, and therefore, for me it was an insoluble problem. Recently in Denmark the Paleolithic has been dated at 100,000 years, that is at the final phase of the Lower Paleolithic, and therefore I decided to publish it .
Always I am convinced that e convinced that this sculpture is databile to the evolued Acheulean.
As the chronology is based on the cultural phases, and these have the name of the typology of tools.
In Italy the evolued Acheulean, or final, has been developed during the Riss ice age and before 350,000 years ago, but the medium date in use in Italy is 200.000 years. Always in Italy, the successive cultural phase is the Mousterian, dated from 60,000 to 40,000 years ago. However, I am convinced that the man has lived in Denmark, like in Italy. For Denmark the very colds periods can be excluded ; but if the proofs are not found, that is if they are not found tools of the Lower Paleolithic produced previously in the warm period, probably that have had a destruction for produced alluvial tumbling from the marine waves and the mooving glaciers
If it is true that the evolued Acheulean or final is dated before 350,000 years until to 60,000 years ago, its duration has been of approximately 300,000 years, and in this longest period they have not been found skeletons which indicates to us who was the man or the men of the evolued Acheulean.
The men attributed to this phase from the anthropologists are all hypothetical ; that is, in this phase a process of evolution from the findings of Homo erectus is assumed , dated before 450,000 years ago, through hypothetical types presapiens and preneanderthalian, in order to reach the findings of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens sapiens with datings of 40,000-30,000 years. However, it is diffuse opinion of many anthropologists (but it is always a hypothesis) that the man of the evolued Acheulean is Homo erectus.
It is augurable that the anthropology makes reference, in this phase of absence of skeletal findings, also to the representative characteration of human heads of the sculptures of the evolued Acheulean.
The represented human types in these sculptures, on average, always have some features of the head that remember and distinguish Homo erectus, from the Presapiens and the Preneanderthalians, and can cooperate with the hypothetical lines of the evolution that have been made. Moreover, in the case of the two-faced anthropomorphic sculptures, like this of Maribo, the represented human types indicate the contemporaneity of subjects presapiens and preneanderthalians; therefore, in lack of skeletal findings, tens of sculptures can constitute a valid medium of research, much more than, not being be found skeletons until today, difficultly we will find in short time.
The description of the human types of the sculpture of Maribo is in the cues of the photographs.
TYPOLOGY OF THE TECHNOLOGY
The sculpture of Maribo is completely worked from every part, that is there are no parts of the stone with previous shapes that have been employed.
The technique of detach of the flakes in order to made the represented shape have been made with a tender percussor (wood or bone), but I could not to establish if this technique is of acheulean or clactonian tradition, but, however, the two cultural traditions are often found associated in the paleolithic italian layers .
I publish this sculpture of Denmark in association with a biface tool on pebble of the evolued Acheulean evoluto found in Italy, for showing the working affinity about the removal of the flakes.
The Italian tool (Fig.7) is gained from a pebble, and the technique of removal of the flakes is the much simplest, in how much it is only aimed to make pointed the pebble, and to made it cutting.
The not flaked part of the tool is not the original rind of the pebble of silex; instead the dots that are looked at on the sculpture of Maribo, also this in silex, are the blows from alluvial tumbling on the parts chipped of the same sculpture .
The technique of removal of the flakes in the sculpture and the tool is of the same type and level of qualities, that it corresponds to the same cultural phase.
Also two different, but contemporary, cultural phases, can have the same level of technologic quality.
At the end of the Lower Paleolithic, in several parts of Italy,we find the Acheulean often associated to the Clactonian. These two cultural phases that have been studied only through the tools, are found separated or bound together, and that is: Acheulean, Clactonian or Acheulean-Clactonian. The cultural differences between these types of tools often are conditioned by the existing lithic material in the zone, that is by the size of pebbles of silex or from cliff fragments, with absence or sparsity of pebbles; however, draft of small differences, than made complicated the interpretation.
The quality of the technique of working in the sculpture of Maribo consists in a scale of removals of flakes, that comprises the outline, the shaping and the final touch, that is large, middle and small flakes removed.
The technology for the fabrication of the paleolithic lithic sculptures in kind, and of this of Maribo in particular, is more advanced than the technology for the fabrication of tools. In fact, a great difference exists, is in the working technique, is in the final result.
The removals of material in the pebble or in the cliff fragment in order to manufacture tools, provoke the reduction of the external surface in order to obtain pointed, cutting or scraping tools .
The removals of material in the pebble or the cliff fragment in order to manufacture sculptures, provoke the reduction of both the external and the internal surface.
TYPOLOGY OF THE STYLE
The two heads of the sculpture of Maribo have two various styles, that correspond evidently to two various traditions. One is more realistic (Fig.4 side A) with beard and nose, the other is more idealized (Fig.5 side B). I think that the greater part of the readers will find difficulty to perceive these differences, but is necessary to enter into an engagement, in how much in these searches therefore the elements to analyze are so little, than all must be held in consideration. However, every member of the art of our days, but that it is not superfluous decoration, has its roots in the Lower Paleolithic, therefore if one component lacks, it can be sure found, even if apparently she seems not to exist.
In the interpretation of the paleolithic art it is necessary to hold account of the style, as it happens for the art of every time, without discriminations.
As an example, the painting of the Upper Paleolithic in Europe, Africa and Australia has in common the composition and the shape (even if there are diversity), while the style is completely different from continent to continent. And in Europe, whose art I know well, the style is different from zone to zone, and is differnt in the time also in same zone.
The style is the language of the art, in how much is the way to make art of the time. This is verifiable: between the prehistory, the protohistory, the historical ages and the ethnography there are hundreds of human heads (carved or painted) produced from hundred of different populations, in which the style is always different: much realistic, deformed for lengthening, with abolition or particular attenuation of the face, etc.
For artistic style of a people always we understand the dominant style, as near of a dominant style can survive in traditional shape and minority other styles, destined to estinguish himselfs, or to integrate to the dominant style bringing trasformations.
In the style of the art there is not " quality ", and cannot no more be made comparisons between one and an other civilization . To the observer of today an ancient style can appeals to or it do not appeal to, but it would not have to put in argument the quality of the style. Since the style is the language of the art, it would be like putting in argument the spoken language, that is supporting that the English language is better than that German, or that Japanese is better than that French.
It is necessary to meditate on the two styles of the sculpture of Maribo.
The sculpture of the evolued Acheulean follows a tradition that derives from the previous phases and continues in the successive phases, and can be said the same thing also for the tools; but they are two human activities that have two different traditions at the same time.
The production of lithic tools always has been much copious, in how much, given the usury, the consumption was high, and this is testified from the enormous amount of findings of tools, regarding the found paleolithic sculptures .
It is much probable that the man that manufactured tools, in the within of the same clan, produced at the occurrence also sculptures, and this, is not in contrast with the consideration of two different activities, in how much, these activities will totally develop in two different activities, in post-paleolitic ages .
The working of the stone in order to make tools was a specialization, and in which the most adapted go huntinged, others slaughtered, there was who probably made the tools and the sculptures, etc.
The figure of the artist is important; therefore I want to imagine that when the artist produced a sculpture he was held in high consideration, at least for what the sculpture represented in spiritual field .
In the anthropomorphic lithic sculpture of the Paleolithic the dressis a lot reduct.
In the single sculptures of heads are found various types of hairdos , between which a type, enough frequent, of pointed heads, that can be interpreted like a pointed hood or a hairdo of hairs as cone, which moreover is still present in the African ethnography , and in the artistic representations (sculpture, ceramics, painting) in the historical times, in all the continents, except the Australia.
In the paleolithic sculpture men with beard and men without beard are represented, and it is not credible that those without beard, that are in greater number, were all women or young men without beard. Who had a degree of so high civilization to produce sculptures and tools of quality, was sure able to cut the beard.
Also these little elements of the dress must be held in consideration for the study of the physical anthropology and of the culturale anthropology .
The two-faced anthropomorphic sculpture of Maribo represents a head of bearded man, that seems to me a type presapiens, and he is a male (Fig.4 side A), while the other not bearded head, could be a woman, but it is not sure, and to me it seems a preneanderthalian type (Fig.5 side B).
I have always thought that all the paleolithic art was connected to the religion, in way a lot generalized, and without look at possible interpretations, in how much I considered connected to the religion also the cult of died persons.
In archaic Greece the cult of the died person was detached from the religion; and this could be verified also in some period of the Paleolithic, or perhaps in all the Paleolithic.
However the sculpture of Maribo,both more or less connected to the cult of the died person, just like in the case of the ancient Acheuleans, that conserved the skull of the defunct relative, it was or was not a cult connected to the religion, demonstrates that, in both the cases, always existed spiritual rituals, and of group.
In my opinion the two-faced anthropomorphic sculptures of the Paleolithic can be bind to the religion, in how much in the historical periods and in the ethnography the two-faced anthropomorphic representative characterizations always represent divinities.
The bifrontism is one of the more developed topics in the study of the ancient historical religions. However, in the arc of hundred of thousand of years, like in the evolued Acheulean, it is possible that the two-faced anthropomorphic sculptures were detached from the religion in some periods, and connected to other cults, like that one of the died person , or to the celebration of a wedding, or something other.
In the Lower Paleolithic, whose duration is of several million years, have not been found burials of the entire corpse, but only of the skulls; except during evolued Acheulean, in which they have not been found no more skulls.
Many scholars have connected these skulls to the cult of the died person, and I share this opinion: even if it has been a lack of findings of 300.000 years in the evolued Acheulean, this cult is continued in the Middle Paleolithic near some neanderthalian people, because other neanderthalians, in various zones, buried the died persons in sleeping position,
The use of conservation of the skull of the defunct relative is continued in the ethnography of Homo sapiens sapiens. In the Lower and middle Paleolithic, a relation between the cult of the skulls and the anthropomorphic sculpture og the only head exists, that indicates that the dimension of every spiritual interest of the man was connected to the only head.
The rituals in the Lower Paleolithic were sure of several types in the course of the year. About the rituals that regard the production of anthropomorphic lithic sculptures we do know nothing, but we have some evidences. the anthropomorphic lithic sculptures of the Lower Paleolithic never have been found in the room places, and not even in the places with high concentration of lithic tools, that generally were near the room places, as it happened in the middle and Upper Paleolithic .
The anthropomorphic lithic sculptures have been found in isolated places, that it is presumed were cult places.
Therefore, presupposing that the finding places were cult places, it follows that in those places they were some rituals with the sculpture.
However, the places of cult (or presumed such)in the Lower Paleolithic are much rare, like the room places, as, generally, the sculptures are found in alluvial layers, transported in confusion by the waters united to tools and detritus of every type.
MAGIC OF FECUNDITY
It is a recurrent topic in the interpretation of the paleolithic art, but is not applicable to the two-faced anthropomorphic sculpture. Generally, the magic of fecundity magic has been applied to the zoomorphic paintings and the feminine figurines (Venus) of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic.
In the primitive religions the symbolism is identified with the practice of the magic, has realistic value and is identified practically with the thing that it wants to mean: the totemic rituals, the magical dances, the mimic expressions, the animal disguises are all hidden manifestations and magical that want exactly to mean identification between that is wanted to be represented and the rappresentation itself.
We can assume that the two-faced anthropomorphic sculpture of Maribo (like other sculptures of the evolued Acheulean) has had symbolic use in the rituals.
But the use is not a component of the paleolithic sculpture.
In the sculpture the main components are the sculpted human heads, that can represent men of various types, and this is looked at. That that does not look at, but that we can assume on the base of historical and ethnographic parallelisms, is if this head represents a divinity, or the died person, or something other. But we do known nothing about the use that the man made of these sculptures.
We know instead that the man manufactured some types of lithic tools, employed in order to quarterthe killed animals, to scraper the skins and to cut them, etc.
About the tools, therefore, we know the use, while about the sculptures we do not know
In consideration that, any thing the man produces, must have a use, does not assume a symbolic use in the rituals.
Assuming the symbolic use in the rituals, does not resolve the problem, much more than, not knowing what these sculptures represents , it cannot even be imagined which type of ritual could be. However, the hypothesis of the symbolic ritual excludes the hypothesis of the art for the art.
In the ethnography the schaman has the functions of a our priest, but in some cases, for other respects, it has more also, in how much there are schamans that are also doctors, interprets of dreams, who converse with the forces of the nature, etc.
In the evolued Acheulean, given to the high degree of quality in the production of sculptures and tools, and in which a subdivision of the job in the group is sure, is hypothetical the presence of the paleolithic schaman.
Who manufactured lithic tools, manufactured also the sculptures? It is much probable that he was a same persona.
Near the primitive populations the schaman has a student to which he teaches all his knowledge.
In the sculpture as in the lithic tools we see, from the first phases of the Lower Paleolithic to the end of the Upper Paleolithic, to a continuous evolution towards the improvement, even if often in a same zone they are found some lacks or some jolts of quality, which had to migrations or to invasions.
This uninterrupted continuity towards the improvement of the artefacts came handed on from responsible persons that probably were schamans.
It is not therefore to exclude, in numerically small communities, than who produced tools and sculptures, were just the schaman.