PALEOLITHIC ART MAGAZINE
May 9, 2001:The Museum of the Origins of Man online celebrates its one year anniversary
The idea of networking the Museum of the Origins of Man was born in December 1999, after the inauguration of the room dedicated to Jacques Boucher de Perthes, which was on December 4, 1999.
The organization for the inauguration of the hall had begun many months in advance, and with invitations to interested people living in various countries around the world.
Also the press has given its contribution; and there was a good participation of public .
From more places of the world there was demanded via email for informations about the sculpture of the lower and middle Paleolithic and about the origin of art in general, as these people could not come to visit the Museum.
Given the vastness of typology of the sculpture, which covers a period of time of more than a million years, and given that the sculpture should be seen at least in photographs, we thought of an online site of the Museum, as a point of reference for these requests.
At the same time, the idea of making a didactic site was developed, with a clear exposition of all the components of art, from cultural context, to technology of manufacture, to styles, to anthropological aspects, etc.
The site was set up in only four months, utilizing photographic material from the Museum Archives, and went online on May 9, 2000.
By the end of this year, the site will be expanded with new acquisitions from the Museum.
The cultural evaluation of one year has been positive, and higher than expected, considering that the subject matter is not yet in school teaching.
The reasons for this success are several:
1) The name Museum of the Origins of Man is already one of these.
Generally the museums, the congresses, the books with the denomination "origins of man" deal with skeletons and/or lithic tools, and concern the "material" aspects, but they have their own scientific tradition, for which many visitors of the site, perhaps most of them, come from this area of interests.
2) Not having used the name Museum of the Art of the lower and middle Paleolithic, perhaps more appropriate , has been useful, in how much the art, even if the appearances indicate the contrary, has not still entered in the scientific interests. This can be easily verified taking at random any book of "introduction to the Paleolithic ", where, on 300 pages, nearly all concern skeletal findings and lithic tools, and to the art are dedicated 5 pages of paintings of the upper Paleolithic, and half page for the small feminine sculptures, that are described without some insertion in a cultural tradition.
3) Important has been the cultural orientation, that is the exposure of the material inserted in lines of evolution (hypothetical), on chronological base, of the same types of sculptures, from the Pebble Culture to the Acheulean, to the Musterian, to the Chalcolithic, from the archaic Greece to the Ethnography and to our times.
Therefore, besides the material in the Museum of the Origins of Man, it has been made use of material from other museums, to do a global approach.
Objective of the site is not promotional, to publicize the finds of the Museum, but is to promote in the scientific world an interest in the research of art of the Lower and Middle Paleolithic, that is an interest in the spiritual world of our ancestors.
The true search on the art of the lower and middle Paleolithic will begin when a research on wide scale from the palethnologists will be, as it happens today for that one on the human skeletons and the lithic tools.
This is our desire.
The signals we have with the success of the Museum of the Origins of Man site are hopeful.
Licia Filingeri (Editor)
Genova, may 2001
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