PALEOLITHIC ART MAGAZINE
A TWO-FACED LITHIC ZOOANTHROPOMORPHIC SCULPTURE OF THE EVOLUED ACHEULEAN OF ROME - TORRE IN PIETRA INTERPRETED THROUGH THE TYPOLOGY OF THE SCULPTURES
The acheulean sculpture of Torre in Pietra, that I introduce, is of extraordinary importance, in how much is the first found in this part of the Lazio. (Searches P. Gaietto, summer 2001).
FIG. 1 TWO-FACED ZOOANTHROPOMORPHIC SCULPTURE OF TORRE IN PIETRA
Represents a human head (left) joined for the nape to a head of mammal (right). ( see drawing Fig. 2 for a better interpretation).
Size: lenght cm. 12.1; height cm. 6.2; lenght cm. 4.8. Weight kg. 0.460
Attribution for typology: acheulean evolued .
Age: 300.000 years approximately .
Hard steine light damaged from alluvial tumbling.
THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONTEXT OF TORRE IN PIETRA
The layer of Torre in Pietra is well analyzed jointly to the acheulean layers of Castel di Guido and Malagrotta. These layers have the name of the country in which they are, that are three small countries near eachother in the interior land of Fregene, very frequented beach to North of Rome. In this zone, relatively small, it has been found the ancient acheulean, the middle acheulean, and the final or evolued acheulean.
Torre in Pietra (Diggings A.C. Blanc, L.Cardini, 1955, 1957, 1958). The level IVth is composed from sands and fluvial gravels with many volcanic elements and salty molluscs rearranged. At the base, bi-faced and fauna to Elephas, Rhinoceros Merckii, etc, thickness mt. 0.35. Lower levels (Ith, IInd and IIIth) measure mt. 30.40 altogether.
The fauna corresponds to cold climatic phases.
For how much it seems a paradox, in this level of only cm. 35 there are bi-faced in secondary lie of the ancient acheulean (dated between 700,000 and 430,000 years) and, over to these, bi-faced and artifacts of the middle acheulean (dated around to 430,000 years from today). ( see: " Guida alla preistoria italiana", edited by A.M. Radmilli; Sansoni Publisher, 1975) .
Other Torre in Pietra diggings have been made in the 1978 (Piperno and Biddittu).
A cast of the digging of Torre in Pietra with bi-faced, tusks of elephant, etc is exposed to the public in the Museum Luigi Pigorini of Rome.
Castel di Guido and Malagrotta (Diggings Radmilli and Boschian, 1996). In these two sites, and the site of Torre in Pietra with the diggings of 1978, the Acheulean has been uncovered evolued, that it is dated to 300,000 years.
The lithic industry of Castel di Guido is associated to an industry on bone: they are tools made from the diaphisis of long boneses of pachyderms; between these bi-faces amigdaloids.
In the site are present also rests of elephant, horse, urus, megacerus, bear and red deer. ( see: " Introduzione al Paleolitico" A.Broglio, Laterza, Bari, 1998).
The zooanthropomorphic sculpture of Torre in Pietra has been found in a cultivated field and is attributed to the evolued Acheulean for typology. The surface search, in this zone, is particularly difficult, in how much is extremely rare the hard stone.
The territory is constituted from low hills, where even in the small streams it is difficult to find stones, and consequently the paleolithic artifacts.
The acheulean layer of Torre in Pietra, dug by A.C.Blanc and L.Cardini, is under very 30.40 meters of earth, and this indicates that all the acheulean paleosoil of the zait has been covered from great earth amounts. However, acheulean outcrops of artifacts , even if much rare, are present also in surface, in the fields, but it cannot be said that these are paleolithic layers.
FIG. 2 TWO-FACED ZOOANTHROPOMORPHIC SCULPTURE OF TORRE IN PIETRA
(drawing in order to better interpret the photographies of the sculpture. The floral symbols indicate the eye, that it must be imagined, in how much in the sculpture exist only a generic orbital zone, more obvious in the mammal).
The head (side A) is of a man of the evolued Acheulean, and is in lengthened style horizontal. ( see Fig.1).
The head (side B) is of a mammal of large size. (see Fig.1)
The sculpture on the back does not have characterization of the orbital zone, in how much is mostly flat. ( see Fig. 3)
The human head (forehead side A) is semifrontal ( see Fig. 4)
Also the head of the mammal (forehead side B) is semifrontal (see Fig. 5)
DESCRIPTION OF THE SCULPTURE
The sculpture represents a human head joined by the nape to a mammal head.
The sculpture is in hard stone, and is light damaged from alluvial tumbling, for which a part of the working, that is the signs of removal of the material, have been cancelled. The signs of the working that are remained, are visible under the jaw and at two sides of the jaw of the man; other signs are on the back of the snout of the mammal, while on the back the zone of the mouth is evidenced.
This sculpture is attributed to the evolued Acheulean for its shape, through the typology of the sculptures. Age 300.000 years approximately. Size: lenght cm. 12,1, height cm. 6.2, widht cm. 4.8. Weight kg. 0.460.
The human head has the same height of the head of the mammal, and this re-enters in the artistic invention, in how much the head of the mammal, presumibly a rhinoceros, or a great ruminant, is very graeter in the reality of the human head.
It is necessary to keep in mind that in the small zoomorphic lithic sculpture of the Acheulean, the Mousterian, the Aurignacian and the Gravettian, horns and tusks did not were represented, in how much was impossible made it with the working techniques which the man had.
In the Gravettian of Dolni Vestonice (approximately 26,000 BC), the small heads of rhinoceros in terracotta, instead, have represented the horn, in how much, this new technic of working allowed the realization of it.
The two heads are semifrontal, that is have represented every head laterally, while the frontal representation is little wider of the half; therefore the orbital zone is only one. The human head has evidenced in the opposite part a section of the jaw, while the head of the animal has evidenced a section of the mouth. In the sculpture (Fig. 1), the two heads united for the nape has look in opposite direction, but they are little oriented towards the observer of the photography. Greater evidence of this formulation, is had in the photo seen from the high (Fig. 6), where is looked at a squarring that it gives a curve. Moreover, this sculpture is not all round, but it has the two heads semifrontal, in how much on the back is mostly flat.
The statement of the human head has the solemnity of the re-shaped skulls of Gerico, in how much the head or the skull, without the neck, has a little inclination with look turned towards the sky.
The man of the evolued Acheulean (Homo erectus or archaic Homo sapiens) did not have the chin and had the escaping forehead; and the human type of this sculpture has these characteristics.
This human head has a stylistic deformation, defined "horizontal lengthened ", that is to the opposite of the style "vertical lengthened " present in the sculptures of successive civilizations, between which the heads of the cicladic idols that have also the abolition of the eyes and the mouth.
The sculpture, in kind, has an only style in the two-faced anthropomorphic representations, that is they join two human heads, but this of Torre in Pietra has TWO STYLES,one for the human head, and one for the head of the mammal.
The style of the human head is constituted from a greater lengthening and the abolition of the orbital zone, that is from a emphasized idealization of the shape of the head.
The style of the head of the mammal is constituted from a strong realism, in how much it is represented the orbital zone and the large lips, or, if it wants, the zone of the mouth. Obviously, we must have in mind, in this analysis, the limits that existed in the technique of working, that is of the possibility to evidence the particular, and also of the cultural conquests in the composition of the same work. The analysis, therefore, is turned to what the man has made, and to what could make.
Two different styles involve two different traditions.
In the evolued Acheulean has origin the embellishment of tools like the bi-faced, involving the processing of a shape, that re-enters in the style.
The human head, in this case, has a harmonious processing of type horizontal lengthened with abolition of the orbital zone, that evidently follows a beauty ideal.
However, the origin of the representation of the human head goes back to the Pebble Culture, and has, therefore, a tradition much most ancient of the representations of the heads of animals, and this can involve a greater idealization, nearly like the simbolization of the images.
The union of two different styles in the art applied to the ceramics, is normal in the historical timrs, where to the style of the shape of the ceramics is applied, for the decoration, a geometric style or a figurative style, and however the styles can at the same time be also three and four, in how much are cultural accumulations of different traditions.
In the representative art, like in this sculpture of Torre in Pietra, the union of two styles can be consequence of the religion, on which two hypotheses can be made:
- Considering that the bifrontism in art is consequence of the religion of people, it can be assumed that two people, with anthropomorphic sculpture, and with zoomorphic sculpture, and different styles, have come to contact, and have joined their divinities in the style that they practiced;
- Considering that in the Acheulean the human sculptures of heads have been found in greater number, and with top quality in relation of the sculptures of heads of animals, it can be assumed that the cult main, and more ancient, is connected to the human head, that was realized with a consolidated stylistic language, while the representations of heads of animals have a realistic style, a little rough, and without embellishments, in how much, making it very rarely, were not right in the making.
An analogous fact, in inverse sense, has subsequently happened near the Magdalenians in France and Spain with their religion connected with the animals. The Magdalenians had been most right painters, and painted only animals; the rarest representations of human beings are of most insufficient quality, in how much making it never, they did not possess the ability for the realisation. However, also the insufficient quality of a new iconography must be attributed to a different style, for how much the quality is not a characteristic of the style, that is the language of the art.
FIG. 3 TWO-FACED ZOOANTHROPOMORPHIC SCULPTURE OF TORRE IN PIETRA
Back of the lateral view Fig. 1
This part is mostly flat, and it does not have indications of the orbital zone (see drawing Fig. 2).
Only intentional working, to the aims of the representation, is a removal that makes thin the jaw of the man (side A), and a removal as semicircle in the zone of the mouth of the mammal. (Removals that are indicated in the drawing Fig. 2).
FIG. 4 TWO-FACED ZOOANTHROPOMORPHIC SCULPTURE OF TORRE IN PIETRA
Frontal view of the head of the man (side A).
The formulation of the representation is semifrontal.
In the drawing(Fig. 2) the floral symbol is inserted, that indicates the zone of the eye.
The sections drawn as dots, to the margins of the drawing, indicate the posterior part of the human head, corresponding to the head of the mammal.
FIG. 5 TWO-FACED ZOOANTHROPOMORPHIC SCULPTURE OF TORRE IN PIETRA
Frontal view of the head of the mammal (side B).
The formulation of the representation is semifrontal.
In the drawing (Fig. 2) the floral symbol is inserted, that indicates the zone of the eye, obtained in the high part on the back of the snout.
The zone of the eye is looked at well also in the photography Fig. 6, right side.
FIG. 6 TWO-FACED ZOOANTHROPOMORPHIC SCULPTURE OF TORRE IN PIETRA
View from the high of the sculpture (Fig. 1).
On the left it is the head of the man, on the right the head of the mammal.
In this photography the curved part is looked at up, where there is not representation of the orbital zone, that is the back.
FIG. 7 TWO-FACED ZOOANTHROPOMORPHIC SCULPTURE OF TORRE IN PIETRA
View from the bottom of the sculpture (See fig. 1).
On the left it is the head of the mammal, at right the head of the man.
In this photography the curved part is looked at up, like in Fig. 6.
In the part at right the signs of the removals under and between the jaw of the head of the man are visible.
The typology of the lithic sculpture of the Paleolithic is not consolidated like the typology of the industries, which has been work of a great number of palethnologists, but is enough indicative like base for the search.
Some types of lithic sculptures are present from the beginning (Pebble Culture) to the end of the Paleolithic, others are extinguished during the Paleolithic, others continue beyond the Paleolithic.
Some types of sculptures are present at the same time in an only civilization.
Every type of sculpture has different style in the time and the space.
From the more ancient phases to most recent, there is an increase of quality consequently to the improvement of the working techniques.
In the anthropomorphic sculpture are represented the several human types succeeded in the Paleolithic, and also these can be inserted in the typology.
In the Pebble Culture are known only semifrontal sculptures of human heads .
From the Abbevillian begin sculptures of heads of mammals, and the sculptures of two-faced heads.
From the ancient and middle Acheulean the two-faced human heads has several shapes, between which the union of the jaws re-entering towards the high, and the sculptures seem as " V " turned upside down.
From the evolued Acheulean carved divisions appear, similar to recordings, in order to distinguish two heads joined by the nape; and the frontal representation of the face appears also.
In the evolued Acheulean they exist heads human, with mouth opened wide, that are expressions of movement, in how much interpreted like representation of the shouting man.
From the middle Paleolithic the human sculptures of heads were represented also with hats and hairdos.
From the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, through hats and hairdos it is possible to distinguish the man from the woman.
The types of sculptures that I have classified are the following:
- human head without neck,
- head of animal without neck,
- two human heads joined by the nape,
- human head and head of animal joined by the nape,
- human head with the neck,
- head of animal with horizontal body without limbs,
- human head with vertical body without limbs,
- head of animal with human vertical body without limbs,
- mixed head of man and animal
This typology refers to the lower and middle Paleolithic.
From the middle Paleolithic appear also sculptures with three and four human heads.
Always from the middle Paleolithic, in the two-faced anthropomorphic sculptures, a head can be larger of the other, and with guideline in several directions.
In the middle Paleolithic appear, also, greater differences (for two different uses) between the sculptures that can be in vertical position, and those behind flat, that must be in horizontal position (I say this, because in photography cannot appreciate the difference).
From the middle Paleolithic increases the dimension of the sculptures, some human heads are larger of the natural, and have also the representation of the eyes and the mouth.
From the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic appears the small two-faced anthropomorphic sculpture with human vertical body .
From the Upper Paleolithic begin, in parallel, also the productions of the smallest lithic sculptures.
In the evolued Acheulean the anthropomorphic and zooantropomorphic lithic sculptures are of two types:
- two human heads joined by the nape,
- human head and joined by the nape head of animal .
The more frequent type is the sculpture of two human heads joined by the nape.
Next I will show with drawings and photographies the typologic affinities of these two-faced types, with particular reference to the sculpture of Torre in Pietra.
The other types of lithic sculptures of the evolued Acheulean are the following:
- human head without neck,
- head of animal without neck,
- head of animal with horizontal body without limbs,
- head of animal with vertical body without limbs,
- mixed head man and animal.
The types that I have classified of the evolued Acheulean are 7.
The typology of a paleolithic sculpture is consequence of a function, than can be considered of surely religious type in the two-faced sculptures, while the increase of the represented parts of the body cannot be considered of surely religious type, that is the passage from the single human head, to the human head with neck, and to the human head with vertical human body without limbs.
The typology that I have indicated is useful as guideline in order to establish the great differences that exist between a type and an other, but this does not mean that the sculptures of a same type are all equal, even if produced in a same period.
In order to analyze the many aspects of the typology, I have put in relation the sculpture of Rome - Torre in Pietra with the sculpture of Maribo and the sculpture of Rodi Garganico (see on this magazine: " A two-faced anthropomorphic lithic sculpture of Lower Paleolithic of Denmark ", and " A two-faced lithic zooanthropomorphic sculpture of the evolued Acheulean from Southern Italy "). They are three sculptures of the evolued Acheulean that are put in comparison in order to evidence the affinities and the differences.
FIG. 8 TWO-FACED ZOOANTHROPOMORPHIC SCULPTURE OF TORRE IN PIETRA
Affinities and typologic differences more obvious :
In the three sculptures the forehead of the man is escaping (1).
The human heads of Maribo and Torre in Pietra are semifrontal (2), one on the left. and the other on the right.
The human heads of Maribo and Rodi Garganico (3) have the same shape of the jaw, or perhaps of the beard.
The heads of mammal of Torre in Pietra and Rodi Garganico (4) are equal.
The three sculptures on the back do not have representation of the orbital zone.
The sculpture of Maribo is proportioned to the real, in vertical sense; while the others two are of lengthened horizontal type.
The human head (forehead side A) of Maribo is of frontal conception.
The human head of Rodi Garganico is semifrontal, but with jaw of frontal conception.
The sculpture of Rodi Garganico has an eye in common to the head of the man and the head of the mammal.
The sculpture of Maribo has a recording (carved) that divides the two human heads.
The styles are three for the four human heads, and one style for the two heads of mammal.
The more obvious affinities and differences in the typology of the three sculptures of Torre in Pietra, Maribo and Rodi Garganico (Fig. 8) numerically are 17, but wanting to make an analysis more deepened, (that is not object of this written), this number would come more than doubled.
In the typology no one observation does not have to be discarded, to which we succeed in giving meaning, also minimal, in how much it can serve in order to interpret ulteriorly new and old findings.
In the human sculptures of heads, the nose is made in tens of ways; other heads has the check-bones made in tens of ways, etc. There are human sculptures of heads that do not have neither nose, neither check-bones, for stylistic deformation in reductive sense.
Some of these typologic surveys are useful for the search of the physical aspect of the man, in order to overwhelm, at least as indication, the periods in which have not been found skeletons, but also for the cultural attribution of the same sculptures. Other typologic surveys are useful for chronological surveying through the styles.
Also the technique of working of the sculpture re-enters in the typology.
Every sculpture has an elevated number of typologic data to put to comparison with other sculptures, where they can be more the differences that the affinities; but the affinities are the track to follow in surveying.
When I have found the sculpture of Torre in Pietra, I have attributed it immediately to the evolued Acheulean for experience; now, as I must give an explanation to the reader (that I hope becomes a future investigator), I try to reconstruct what I have thought in a moment, and I hope to forget nothing:
1) I have other sculptures of the evolued Acheulean of horizontal lengthened type (two-faced), and some are also longer and thinner. (Origin Southern Europe)
2) The lengthened horizontal type is not found, neither before, neither after the evolued Acheulean.
3) The style of the human head, without representation of the particular of the face, is a varying of the lengthened type horizontal of the evolued Acheulean. (N.B. The two sculptures of Maribo and Rodi Garganico, I have put them in relation with the sculpture of Torre in Pietra, in how much on this magazine are published two my relations).
4) The bifrontism does not count in this attribution, in how much it was present before and after the evolued Acheulean .(The cultural evolution continues).
5) The semifrontal formulation of the head does not count in this attribution, in how much it was present before and after the evolued Acheulean.(The cultural evolution continues).
6) The back without representation does not count in this attribution, in how much it was present before and after the evolued Acheulean.(The cultural evolution continues).
7) The head of the mammal is equal to that of Rodi Garganico of the evolued Acheulean.
8) These heads of mammal are not present in sculpture, neither before neither after the evolued Acheulean.
9) These heads of mammal have the same style.
10) The escaping forehead of the human head is similar to that of the sculptures of Maribo and Rodi Garganico, and others.
11) The shape of the human head, in spite of the stylistic deformation and the abolition of the sections of the face, maintains the lateral profile of the head, from the zone of the nose to the jaw, that is reconductable to the man of the Acheulean, and that I have found also in other sculptures.
12) In this sculpture the two heads (human and animal) are lightly oriented towards the observer, like in the sculpture of Rodi Garganico, and in others.
13) the sculpture of Torre in Pietra has little traces of the original working, in how much has been cancelled nearly totally from the alluvial tumbling, however, of what it remains of carved, united to the shape, all he is reconductable to the evolued Acheulean. For shape I mean the sum of the main aspects of the typology of a period .
To the current state of our acquaintances, through the typology of the paleolithic sculpture, I think justified the attribution of the sculpture of Torre in Pietra to the evolued Acheulean .
The evolued Acheulean, in the zone of Torre in Pietra, is dated to 300,000 years.
Assuming that the evolued Acheulean in Italy has from 350,000 to 200,000 years, that is a duration of 150,000 years, this must make us to meditate on two opposite considerations; one deranging, that regards the slowness of the cultural progress, and an other garantist, supporting the strong consolidation in the man of the activity of representation through the sculpture.
Copyrightę2000-2002 by Paleolithic Art Magazine, all rights reserved.