PALEOLITHIC ART MAGAZINE
SHORT HISTORY OF THE DISCOVERIES OF THE ART OF THE LOWER PALEOLITHIC, AND HYPOTHESIS ON THE FUTURE OF THE SEARCH
The first phase of the searches (1800 - 1860) Heroic Period
The second phase of the searches (1861 - 1913) Classic Period
The third phase of the searches (1914 - 1945) Middle Ages
The fourth phase of the searches (1946 - 2002) Renaissance
The fourth phase of the searches. Typology and chronology
The fourth phase of the searches. The absolute datings
Photographies and drawings of sculptures discovered in 150 years
Conclusion and hypothesis on the future of the search
" In the theatre of the lower Paleolithic the main actors are three: the industries, that is the ensemble of the types of tools for material uses; the art, that is the ensemble of types of sculptures for spiritual uses, and the fossil rests of hominids, that is the rests of our ancestors. The actors, that always recite in the best theatres of science, are the fossil rests of hominids and industries; who instead never does succeed to recite, or recites only little roles in peripheric theatres is the art, with its mysterious spiritual contents.
In these baroque theatres the skeletons dance making to feel the continuous tinkling of their boneses, blinking between their hands stone tools, in order to exalt the force of the material culture; while the art, outside from the theatre, listens to these terrifying noises; she is sad, she cries, and hopes in the adoption of teatral programs more interesting to which participating.
The art perfectly knows not to enjoy protections from the high, but also knows of being able to recite new and more interesting roles of the others two illustrious actors ".
In the sciences the errors are corrected when they are discovered, in how much are opinions, which come replaced from other opinions.
The lacked income the art of the lower and middle Paleolithic in official science, goes back ago to 150 years, and has not been a simple error, but a most serious scientific damage, that I will often return to analyze.
The difficulties, that the discoveries of the art of the lower Paleolithic have met and continue to meet in the scientific world, give beyond 150 years, are integrating part of the history of the same discoveries.
The researchers of art of the lower Paleolithic have worked well, and have worked a lot, but they have not been taken in considerations by their colleagues collectors of fossils and industries.
The art of the lower Paleolithic is constituted from anthropomorphic and zoomorphic lithic sculpture, and the findings of beyond 170 years of searches have a similar typology in every researcher, but what is changed in the time, are the cultural attributions and the interpretations, that is the use of the sculptures by the men which have produced them.
In the first half of 19th century Boucher de Perthes attributed this art to the antediluvian man, and today we know that, instead, at least the better part must be attributed to the lower Paleolithic.
In the first half of the 20th century , these lithic sculptures, that were said also " pierres-figures ", were attributed to the middle Paleolithic, and today we know that in great part they are to attribute to the lower Paleolithic.
In the second half of the 20th century begin the attributions to the lower Paleolithic (W.Matthes), which however are generic attributions, in how much the lower Paleolithic is immense.
A subdivision in cultural phases of the lower Paleolithic (Abbevillian, Clactonian, Acheulean, etc.) was subsequently applied to the sculptures (P. Gaietto, 1974) on the base of findings of the main layers of the South Europe.
Stated that in the Abbevillian (today ancient Acheulean) the art is introduced already very formed, are made searches in the layers of Pebble Cultures (Olduvian) of the South Italy, in order to search the origin of the abbevillian art, and also here were found sculptures (P.Gaietto, 1982).
In the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century , the art researchers, finding the sculpture of the Pebble Cultures, would sure have discarded it, in how much, for them, it would not have been meaningful, as too much simple, and, however, in their zones of search (Center-North western Europe) the Pebble Cultures is absent .
A typology of the sculptures of the lower Paleolithic exists, with the evolution of the several types from the Pebble Cultures to the Acheulean evolued (Gaietto, 1982), that allows the student of giving a cultural attribution to a found outside sculpture .
The sculpture of the Pebble Cultures introduces also itself already mature, at least for the eye of the researcher, which does have to neglect nothing, and it has been assumed (P.Gaietto, 1982) that there was a previous phase, that is the origin of the art, in the ready-made found, just like many researchers of tools have assumed that the hominid, before manufacturing tools, used stones found already cracked.
The "ready-made " can be meant like a shape of " pre-art ", and has been found at Makapansgat, in South Africa, in a site in cave with rests of australopithecus, that has allowed the absolute dating from 2,500,000 to 3,000,000 years (Fig.1).
A verification for the European sculpture of the Pebble Cultures comes from the Throat of Olduvay, in the austral Africa, from a site that has allowed the dating to 1,700,000 years. Of these two important Africans findings have taken care the paleoanthropologists Mary Leakey, Raymond Dart, K.P. Oakley, R.G. Bednarik, and it is necessary to specify that they are not researchers of art of the lower Paleolithic (Fig.2).
The art of the lower Paleolithic is the first shape of art known of all the Paleolithic, in how much, at the times of the first discoveries, the zoomorphic paintings in cave, art mobilier on bone and the feminine sculpturines (venus) of the upper Paleolithic still did not know. These discoveries go back to the first half of the 19th century by the brilliant researcher Jacques Boucher de Perthes (1788 - 1868).
It is sufficiently documented that the origin of the art coincides with the origin of the industries, and therefore, with the origin of the man.
The lower Paleolithic has a duration of 2,300,000 years (from 2,500,000 to 200,000 years), and its art constitutes the 92% of the time between the origins and our days.
The art of the lower Paleolithic is constituted from anthropomorphic and zoomorphic lithic sculptures realized with technique of working similar to that one of the production of lithic tools. Also the aspect of these sculptures, from the first moment, is similar to stones, as they are the lithic tools, and therefore the imaginary collective (that is persons who have had occasion to see these works), often find difficulty to interpret them, that is to see in it images carved, and however to consider them " art ".
Same difficulties the imaginary collective has also in the interpretation of the lithic tools, that is, if to a person who is not interested of prehistory we make to see a " scraping tool", he considers it a small stone, and he does know not even the function of a scraping tool. For this reason, we must interpret the mind of hominids which made lithic tools for their daily uses: they used them and obviously they knew discriminate them between other stones, as they were able to recognize the art, that is the lithic sculptures made for their rituals of cult.
Who, today, does not engage himself to interpret the art of the hominids for what it was, cannot no more to understand the carved images.
The sculpture of the hominids of the lower Paleolithic was a pure art, with one only style. It can be found the union of two styles in the two-faced anthropomorphic sculptures, and this perhaps following the union of two different cultural traditions, but however there is always an extreme simplicity, which however goes interpreted with attention.
Undoubtedly, it is not easy to concentrate in this, in how much we today live between tens of thousand of styles, with an exasperating mixture, that follows traditions of some millennia, and we come from all the world, and we find them in the cars, the pictures, the courtains, the blankets, the dishes, the carpets, and the thousand other objects that are around us.
THE FIRST PHASE OF THE SEARCHES (1800 - 1860)
In the first years of the 19th century , the general conviction was that no man had lived at the time of the great mammals, elephants, rhinos, reindeers, whose fossil rests went found again in Europe.
In that time, the first researchers had the creationist or evolutionist philosophy.
With the first discoveries of human fossils associated with fossils of extinguished animals, the creationists supported that the men, that had lived beside these animals, were not our ancestors, in how much the cataclysm of the universal Deluge separated them from us.
To the contrary, the evolutionists supported that the man of today was the direct descendant of the prehistoric man who lived during the Quaternarius, at the same time of the great fossil mammals.
The first researchers were naturalists amateurs. First findings happened nearly casually, because the same discoverers did not know what exactly they are looking for, and moreover still the real antiquity of the lithic industries was not known. They will not receive encouragement by the official science (that it was of creationist philosophy), which indeed was opposed to whichever progress, under the infuence of the Buckland in England, Cuvier and later of Elie de Beaumont in France.
Boucher de Perthes began his searches around 1830. He was of creationist doctrine, but also he did not receive encouragement by the official science, which also was of the same doctrine.
In the years around 1830, the scientific imagery of the evolutionists had "invented " graphically the image of the fossil man similar to the monkey, that is much hairy and horrible to see. This image will last beyond a century and half, in how much it will come transferred to the Man of Neanderthal, and after to the hominids of the lower Paleolithic.
Boucher de Perthes in his books, richest of drawings of tools and sculptures, not publishes drawings of how he imagined was the man, but he describes it as " a man with his weapons, his tools, his art, and his family, with his sons ", which can be interpreted like " a created " man similar to us.
If we analyze the scientific imaginery of the first half of the 800, in relationship to the discoveries that have been taken place in the 150 successive years, the " Victory " goes assigned to the creationist Boucher de Perthes, and not to the evolutionists (however, before dying, Boucher de Perthes has become evolutionist).
The evolutionists (around to 1830) had imagined a man-monkey, ugly, without art, and with insufficient intelligence. Boucher de Perthes had imagined a beautiful man, with his tools, his weapons, his art, and therefore with his spirituality.
Today we know that the fossil man was not a single, but many men. They were Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, with their art and their religions, tthat they were not at all men monkey, but they were similar to us, and that moreover the hominids that preceded them, had perfectly erected station, had industry and art, beginning from 2.500.000 years ago, and we have also testimonies of construction of huts in those remotest ages.
Boucher de Perthes " has gained " his scientific battle, when he was by now old, in how much he has been the first one to obtain from the official science the acknowledgment that the lithic industries, that he had found, were made by the fossil man; in fact, it was diffuse opinion that the lithic tools were not produced by the man, but, with the acknowledgment of the official science, an increment of the searches, and the birth of the prehistory, like true and own science, have begun.
Boucher de Perthes in his volumes had published many drawings of tools and sculptures (past-pierres-figures) (Fig.5 and Fig.6).
The commission of the most famous naturalists (J. Prestwich, H. Falconer, J. Evans, C. Lyell, etc.), that represented official science of the time, was pronounced positively about the industries, but not about the art, that is about all the anthropomorphic and zoomorphic sculptures that have been published.
The art of the antediluvian man has not convinced the commission of the naturalists (academics), in how much evidently they were convinced that these were simple stones, and probably were, not stones, but perhaps vaguely zoomorphic or anthropomorphic remainders of working, but in small measure, I think, because Boucher de Perthes describes the cuts of the silex very well.
Science of the time was no ready to understand the artefacts, but while for the tools the acceptance has been possible, even if long and laborious, in how much the tools were useful to the " survival " of the man, the acceptance of the art has been impossible, in how much the academics, certainly, will have thought that a monkey man " could not have art ", therefore a judgment given on a prejudgment.
I do not know if in the first half of the 19th century other researchers of art, beyond Boucher de Perthes, had existed, however the great scholar has found and studied, i.e. has made searches about the antediluvian man, that was not a search on the origin of the art of the successive times, like we today make, even if the art was the same one that we today study.
The art of the antediluvian man was purposed to itself, according to the Creationism of the scholar, in fact the universal Deluge would have destroyed all, comprised the Man, and how much has come after, would have been fruit of a new creation.
The greater part of the sculptures in silex, which Boucher de Perthes has collected, came from terraced alluviums of the valley of the Somme (France), and, from the typology of the sculptures published, it is possible to assert, for great part of these, their attribution to the lower Paleolithic. Unfortunately this material, that was placed in the Museum of Abbeville, has gone destroyed from the bombings of the Germans in May-june 1940.
On ending of the first half of the 19th century , the cultural context and the acquaintance was not sure favorable to the interpretation, and therefore to the scientific acquisition of the art of the antediluvian man, and this, sure, was worth also for the Academics, in how much all did not have the culture of Boucher de Perthes.
The situation was the following:
1) The real antiquity of the lithic artefacts was not known, and moreover there was who contested to the human manufacture of these (the Academics).
2) The art of the upper Paleolithic was still not known, i.e. the zoomorphic paintings of the caves, the zoomorphic recordings on bone, and no more the feminine statuines, said " Venus ".
3) The modern art, which has contributed to carry the imaginary collective to every shape of art, still did not exist.
4) The art of the primitives of Africa and the Oceania was still stranger to the European culture.
5) The fashionable art was the Neoclassic age, therefore the taste of the beautiful one, that is the art had to be beautiful, and, if it were not beautiful, it was not art.
Boucher de Perthes has been defined by the historians of the prehistory the " Father of the prehistory ", but at the same time they say about him that " he has made many errors ". Boucher de Perthes has made the same errors, that have made the other researchers of his time, and has not been able to correct them because by now too much old.
These " historians of the prehistory ", beyond laughing on his errors about the tools, laugh also on his studies on the art (stone-figures), accusing him of " fantasy too much fertile ", and therefore with constant and increable fury.
When the official science did not accept the art of Boucher de Perthes, committed an action of extreme superficiality, that has strongly disabled the searches on the art of the lower Paleolithic until our days.
Boucher de Perthes is the only one (that I know) that has drawn the sculptures in the 19th century , in how much with the beginning of the 20th century begins the photography. His drawings are useful still today. His sculptures come mainly from the zone of Abbeville, and, however, the localities of the finding are indicated.
The drawings are numerous, and have an accurate description, with the measures and the parts worked; many are the types, and many are the variations of the same type. Therefore, in these zones where the quarries have been exhausted, and the territory is covered from industries, and is found more nothing, it is possible to use these drawings for the study of the several cultural cycles of those zones.
Through the current typology of the art (P.Gaietto, 1982), and also the studies of other researchers of the 20th century of the Central-Northern Europe, the drawings of Boucher de Perthes can supply the typology of the art of every period and in chronological order. A long and laborious work, where sure there will be types to discard, but also types to perhaps recover.
THE SECOND PHASE Of THE SEARCHES (1861 - 1913)
Boucher de Perthes dies in 1868 at the age of 80 years. After the 1861, prehistory is organized quickly, determining with exactitude its methods, establishing classification criteria and constructing the general picture of the human evolution.
The study of the paleolithic artefacts is divided in two parts. The lithic tools are framed in the official science, while the lithic sculptures are studied outside of the official science. In the official science the studies of human fossils are framed also.
The students of the lithic sculptures (past stone-figures) become numerous, and the researchers cannot be more defined " amateurs ", therefore I adopt the term of " private researchers ".
On the other hand, in the others two disciplines (study of tools and study of human fossil), that are inserted in the official science, the researchers are not more amateurs, but they are replaced by " academic researchers ", or at least they begin to prevail.
The relationships between the " private researchers " of the art, and the " academic researchers " of the tools and human fossils, never have been good.
I have defined the second phase of the searches of art (1861 - 1913) the Classic Period, because in its final and evolued phase, at least in the last 20 years, the search of the art (past stone-figures) had become a true and just " scientific movement ", with a great vitality, like, as an example, in the modern art, has been in Italy the Futurist Movement.
The Classic Period is concluded in 1913, but to kill the scientific movement of the art of the lower and middle Paleolithic, has not been the First World war, but the indifference of the " academic researchers " towards these shapes of art. Indifference of the power crushes every initiative that is contrary to it.
The " academic researchers " find themselves bearings in several specializations and several periods: from the Age of the metals to the Neolithic, from the Mesolithic to the upper Paleolithic, from the middle Paleolithic to the lower Paleolithic; and their searches mostly regard the lithic tools, human and animals fossils, and nothing does come discarded, except the sculpture of the lower and middle Paleolithic (past stone-figures), in how much, evidently they do not know to understand it, or however, there is a prejudgment negative for studiyng it.
The research of the " stone-figures ", even if not documented from writings, has been present in the second half of the 19th century , in how much, beginning from 1895 and until 1913, there are many papers and conferences, that implicate a long research work.
The scholars know by me from their publications are: E. Harroy (1901, 1902, 1903), A. Thieullen (1904, 1906, 1907), W.M. Newton (1913), J. Dharwent (1913), but before analyzing some of their searches, it is important to estimate the scientific and cultural context of their time, that is the last decades of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th century .
The great events that have taken place between 1861 and 1913 have been the birth of the modern art, at first with the Impressionists, then from the beginning of the 20th century with the Futurists, the Cubists, the Abstractionists, etc; the use of the photography in the publications; the discoveries of art of the upper Paleolithic zoomorphic paintings in cave), and the new acquisitions of the ethnology. These events have influenced, in some way, the interpretation of the sculptures of the lower and middle Paleolithic. Newton in the drawings of his sculptures used cues of "futuristic artistic " inspiration.
Between the researchers of art of this second phase, E.Harroy has been sure the most engaged. He has collected and acquired more than 100,000 sculptures in silex, making a subdivision between the human heads and those of animals (red deer, bird, lion, bear, dog, etc.) and a subdivision of the two-faced sculptures, both of human heads, and of animals, with theirs several combinations of coupling, and a classification of the common types and the rare types (Fig.11).
Harroy has begun a classification of types, unfortunately not inserted in a complete order. His chronological attributions, like those of other researchers of his time, are the middle Paleolithic and the upper Paleolithic, but my interpretation for the greater part of the reliable sculptures, i.e.sure, and not accidental, is the attribution to the lower Paleolithic (Acheulean and Clactonian), and more very rarely to the middle Paleolithic and the upper Paleolithic. (Today we know that two-faced anthropomorphic and zoomorphic sculpture exists in parallel with the magdalenian civilization with zoomorphic paintings, which has been found at El Juyo, Spain, and Bédeilhac, France). Therefore some attributions to the upper Paleolithic of Harroy and others were right.
If they have not gone dispersed, it would be important to find the sculptures collected by Harroy, Thieullen, Newton and Dharwent, in how much the photographies published on their books are little regarding the collected material (Fig.3 and Fig.7).
These students, one hundred and more years ago, have had the possibility to collect very many sculptures, what today is not more possible, in how much, in their zones of search, have been a great amount of industrialization and urbanization works, also in agriculture, and lands covered from new roads and freeways, and therefore, it is by now difficult to find grounds in which making search.
A. Thieullen in 1900 reported of " stones figures " with intentional retouchings, and this is exact only in part (Fig.10).
In the lower Paleolithic the sculptures were obtained from pebbles or cliff fragments, and were worked on all the surface, even if not " all round ". The stones that had a natural shape, nearly anthropomorphic or zoomorphic, came perfected with little retouchings, but this generally is found in the zones where the nodules of silex prevail; and, however, fine crazy representations and purposed to itselves do not exist, in how much there are some typologies very defined and pretidy, therefore the shape of the nodule, is useful only to accelerate the execution of the work.
Both the sculptures, and the tools, are conditioned from the dimensions and the shape of the stones (pebbles, fragments of cliff, nodules of silex, hard or tender stones, etc.) that are found in the territory, but the typology, except small variations, does not change.
The interpretations of the artefacts are of many types.
The interpretation of the tools is mostly controlable with technical experiments, and therefore, it is simpler, while the interpretation of the sculptures is very more complex, because comprises also the spiritual aspects.
The " academic researchers ", in the second half of the 20th century , are numerous, they are scattered all over the world, and their organization is similar to a multinational company, and therefore they enjoy funds for the search from their Country, while instead the " private researchers " of the lower and middle Paleolithic art do not have funds.
The " academic researchers " of the lithic tools have realized important studies on the production of copies of paleolithic tools, determining the working techniques used by the hominids. Moreover, always through tests, and then with the use of the microscope, they had been able to establish the lithic tools used in order to cut or to scraper the skins, the wood, and for making holes in the ground in order to search vegetables, and it on tools found in austral Africa and dated between 2,000,000 and 1,500,000 years.
I do not know whether the " private researchers " have made copies of sculptures in order to determine the working techniques, however, the chipping techniques for the sculptures in silex are similar to those used in order to make tools, with the difference that do not produce cutting margins, but a shape is modeled, therefore with more laborious techniques.
The first interpretation of a sculpture of the lower Paleolithic consists in establishing if it is true or false, and here is necessary the acquaintance of the working techniques.
The second interpretation regards the subject represented, and, also in this case, it needs aknowledgement.
As an example, Boucher de Perthes before, and Dharwent after, have interpreted some sculptures as heads of monkey; and these are errors of interpretation to correct, in how much the sculptures are valid, and are of the lower Paleolithic.
However, the interpretation in sculpture of a representation of head of monkey, once can be reasonable, in how much in Europe were discovered fossil remains of mammal, that live still in Africa as the monkey.
In the interpretation of the representation of the head, there are made new acquisitions in the second half of the 20th century , not known in the 19th century , and are:
- in the paleolithic sculpture, protohistorical, historical and ethnographic, very many are the sculptures that are a mix of heads of man and of animal, and are of three types: 1) a head of animal joined at the nape to a human head, 2) a head with half human face and half face of animal, 3) a face or a head completely mixed man and animal. Of difficult interpretation, for who is not trained, the third type.
- the stylistic deformations that exist in the art of all the time and of all the world, and therefore also in the lower Paleolithic, where the head can be make in hundreds of manners (even if, in every cultural phase, always in the same way), until to become unrecognizable: some define it " symbolic ", but it is not right, because re-enters always in the style, that is in the language of the art .
- the representations of heads of hominids and of the ancient Neanderthalians, that is with forehead escaping and without chin, deceive if not known, so much more when the sculpture have a stylistic deformation.
- In the sculpture of the lower Paleolithic, the heads of mammal are represented without horns and without tusks (as the feminine statuines "venus"of the upper Paleolithic are lacking of feet), and in the interpretation is necessary take care of it. The representations of single heads are of three types: human, of animal, and mixed man animal. The human heads are the more easy to interpret.
- The third interpretation concerns the spiritual aspect of the art of the lower Paleolithic, that consists in trying of give a explanation about the reason in order which the hominids have manufactured the sculptures.
For the tools, the interpretation is more easy; as an example, we have soon understood that the blades of silex were made in order to cut the skin and the meat.
For a long time, the researchers of the " stone figure " not have faced the problem of the function of the art, and indeed, there has always been a great confusion, also connected to the artistic and cultural fashions of their time.
Boucher de Perthes has divided a part of his sculpture in " Egyptian, Assyrian type, druidic monuments, celtic monuments ... ", in how much, in that moment, this type of archaeology was fashionable.
Harroy, following the new acquisition of the ethnology, joins again to the " totemism ".
The guideline at the end of the century and until 1913 was mostly the art for the art, even if not specified, in how much in the publications the fine use of the art for religious aims is not assumed, and in photography they were published the sculptures with greater affinity to the subjects represented in the paintings and the impressioniste sculptures of the time.
Today we know that the art for the art is not absolutely proposable for the lower Paleolithic, and that therefore the figurative art (anthropomorphic and zoomorphic sculpture) was produced for cult rituals. In this meaning, the studies are oriented on some types of two-faced anthropomorphic and zoomorphic sculptures, that we find uninterruptedly in the lower, middle, upper Paleolithic, in the Mesolithic, in the Neolithic , in the historical periods, and in the ethnography of all the world, except Australia.
Perhaps to be able to define the rituals of cult of hominids of one or two the million years ago, will be easier, that to understand the reason for which the " academic researchers " always have lose interest in the art in the lower and middle Paleolithic (past stones figures).
THE THIRD PHASE OF THE SEARCHES (1914 - 1945)
In Europe, between 1914 and 1945, there are been two world wars, and an intermediate period of twenty years that has seen in some nations the advent of the Communism, the Fascism and the Nazism, with consequent tensions with the Democracies, which have damaged a lot the progress of the search of the art.
I do not know how much have made the " academic researchers " of tools, but the " private researchers " of art must have made very little, because I do not know a single publication. For 30 years, a dense veil has covered the science of the art of the lower and middle Paleolithic, as in the Middle Ages they were silent other sciences. However, this Middle Ages persists still today, in parallel to isolated and valid researchers and important and sporadic discoveries of art, also by " new academic researchers ", which however join to the " Renaissance " of the studies on the art of the lower Paleolithic of the second half of the 20th century .
Sure, in Europe it has not been stopped all, in how much the art scholars, who published until 1913, will have continued also after.
In 1947 an Austrian researcher appears in Paris, prince Antonin Juritzky, with an important exhibition of lithic sculptures of the lower and middle Paleolithic. These materials have been collected in France between the two world wars.
Juritzky, born in 1887, in 1913 had 26 years, therefore it is possible that he knew the publications of the great researchers of the Classic Period.
However, the absence of publications about the art makes not influential this period in Europe.
Old Europe, both for the wars, and for the conservative mentality, begins to lose the supremacy that it had in science. A gust of freshness, that for me is revolutionary, comes from Africa, where evidently has been formed a more modern class of scientific researchers.
The only news that I have about discoveries of art of the lower Paleolithic (pre-art) comes from the South Africa, and is extraordinarily interesting. A local teacher, W.I. Eitzman, has found in 1925 in a cave at Makapansgat a small anthropomorphic stone that has been transported by an australopithecus 3.000.000 years ago, making a distance of 4.8 kilometers.
This stone is considered accidental by who has studied it, and however, for me, represents, making a relationship with the lithic tools, the accidental tool found ready-made and used before happened the habitual fabrication , that is the pre-art art.
The stone represents a head of man (Fig. 1), and, turned, it represents a head of australopithecus (two different hominids), and therefore, as type of sculpture, is two-faced.
Recently has taken care of this the anthropologist Robert G. Bednarik , who made an attribution from 2.5 to 2.9 million years; previously were interested in it M.D. Leakey (1971), R.A. Dart (1974), K.P.Oakley (1981), who are between the more important anthropologists for their studies and diggings in East Africa and South Africa.
In a beautifulst relation on this shape of pre-art, R.A. Dart concludes saying that " in the phase of human development of australopithecines, already they had caught up a humanoid level of auto-realization and knowledge of himself ".
I have not seen the anthropomorphic stone of Makapansgat , and I know only the drawing that I introduce. If authoritative scholars as Mary Leakey and Raymond Dart support the natural making, that is without human retouchings, I believe it, however, in consideration that the stone is two-faced, that represents two different types of hominids, that the type of stone is not hard to the aims of the working, and that it is dated to 2,500,000, when already tools were manufactured, could have been (my hypothesis) a partial working, whose traces have gone destroyed.
From years '30, L.S.B. Leakey and his wife Mary have begun their searches in the Austral or East Africa, and after 25 years they have had the fortune to find fossil rests of hominids associated with lithic tools, that have revolutionized the studies on the origins of the man.
Equally important has been the discovery by Mary Leakey of a lithic anthropomorphic Olduvian sculpture dated 1,700,000 years, and published in 1961 - 1963.
THE FOURTH PHASE OF THE SEARCH (1946 - 2002)
The science of the art of the lower and middle Paleolithic, until 1913 was localized in center-northern France and the Southern England. Then it has been the middle ages phase between the two world wars on which the curtain has lowered.
After 1946, it has been a strong " Renaissance " of the search, with discoveries in other countries of Europe, Africa and Asia. The scholars who, with different engagement and cultural extraction, have been interested in the second half of the 20th century to the art of the lower Paleolithic, belong to the following countries: France, England, Italy, Greece, Denmark, Spain, Holland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Mexico, Argentine, Israel, Kenya, South Africa, U.S.A.
For the first time, after beyond 100 years, in the second half of the 20th century , also some " academic researchers " of remarkable value have been interested to the art of the lower Paleolithic. They are researchers of human fossils, tools and other rests of the material culture, therefore not scholars of art of the lower Paleolithic in traditional sense. These scholars have had the fortune to find, in datable sites, some sculptures of the lower Paleolithic, that are extremely interesting, (but that, like typology, were already known to the scholars of the art), and they have involved other " academic researchers ". About these scholars I will speak next on purpose of the findings of art with " absolute dating ", but before a look to the " European private researchers ", that re-enter in the tradition of the studies on the art of the lower Paleolithic.
The first researcher of sculptures of the lower Paleolithic of the fourth phase of the searches, of which I have news, has been prince Antonin Juritzky. born in Austria in 1887, he moved to Paris in 1938, where he died in 1961. He was archaeologist, historian of the art, collector, antiquarian, and with several other activities connected with the world of the art.
His activity of collection has been carried out in years '30 and '40 in rich stations of surface of silex, probably in the Center-North of the France.
His relationship with the official science certainly has not been good, i.e. he has not aroused interest in official science, like his predecessors, in how much the first presentations of his findings has happened in Paris in 1947, exposing in private galleries of art. In these exhibitions, he gaves to the sculptures the definition of " Art Brut ", that is the name of an artistic movement of vanguard of the time.
I know only a publication by him (A. Juritzky, 1953).
Juritzky, probably, did not have good knowledgment of the techniques of working of the silex, and attributed, as the maximum age, 40,000 years, which then was the middle Paleolithic (Fig.8).
From a examination of the photographies of his publication of 1953, it can be thought that the greater part of the anthropomorphic sculptures is to attribute to the lower Paleolithic (Acheulean and Clactonian), and a minimal part to the middle Paleolithic; while, about some zoomorphic sculptures, from the photographies, it is not possible to give a judgment, in how much it prevails the natural shape of the nodule of silex, and the human retouchings for perfect it are not looked at. Important are his two-faced anthropomorphic sculptures, completely worked from every side. It seems that his collection is in danger of dispersion.
The new " gatherer collectors " are worth mentioning : they are at the margins of the science, which are interested a little in prehistory, and in consideration that the greater part of the people does not know what the prehistory is.
Beginning from first years '60, in western Europe, it begins on great scale a search of lithic paleolithic artefacts, in layers of surface, by amateurs, of every age, which are not studious, but collectors.
The collectors of lithic tools, that I have known, were searching only those " beautiful ones ", and they did not collect sculptures, and they were and are in greater number.
The collectors of sculptures, instead, did not collect tools, evidently they have mentality different from the collectors of tools.
I have known about twenty of these collectors of sculptures between 1982 and 1985, and all of western Europe. (Now, I have known on the Web, that there are also American " gatherer collectors " of paleolithic sculptures, or presumed such ).
These collectors did not know more the techniques of working of the lithic tools, consequently in their collections I have found zoomorphic and anthropomorphic stones generally accidental, and rarely the sculptures of the lower Paleolithic. I have visited the house of one of these collectors, in the Surrey in England, and I have found much interesting material, that came from the surrounding zone of his country house. From an inspection made on the fields, the little lithic industries that I have found were all referable to the Clactonian, therefore the sculptures that he had (sensu lato), can be attributed to the Clactonian. The more important were two two-faced anthropomorphic sculptures in silex, i.e. representation of two human heads joined by the nape, typical, that I had already found in Southern Italy. The greater part of the material, however, were nodules of silex, vaguely zoomorphic, with natural breaches.
These collectors had contacted to me after my publication " Presculpture and prehistorical sculpture " of 1982, in how much they never had informations or skills by the " academic researchers " of their countries.
I dislike this type of Collectionism, in how much with the time, the sculptures or the tools, are dispersed in the wrong places, or destroyed, both because the collector become exhausted, or because he dies, and to the relatives the collection do not interest. However, before making searches in a zone, if there is occasion to know a collector of the zone, a visit of the collection can be very useful.
The " gatherer collectors " generally have two habitudes. There are collectors who hold little representative pieces, that constantly they watch them, and others that hold large amounts, until forget them.
The collector that I visited in the Surrey, had tens of trunks with sculptures or such presumed, stones and nodules anthropomorphic and zoomorphic, and also tools and remainders of working, all in silex. I spent nearly a week to control all, with remarkable hard work, and a sure enjoyment, in how much was always the hope to find something of important, like happened.
An amazing thing of these collectors, but that verificates also in the visitors in occasion of exhibitions of sculptures and tools of the lower and middle Paleolithic, is their total ignorance about the shape, the use, and the more elementary techniques in order to manufacture a tool; therefore, they have a great mental confusion, that carries them to see profiles of heads, or images of animals, even in small lithic tools, where the notchings, that give the false image, can have been caused from the usury or the breach in an alluvial tumbling.
After Juritzky, the " private researchers " who have produced important publications on the art of the lower Paleolithic, are O. Menghin (1961, 1963), A. Rust, G. Steffens (1962), W. Matthes (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966), P. Gaietto (1968, 1974, 1982, 1984, 2000, 2001, 2002), L.Filingeri ( 1984, 2002 ) (Fig.4).
There are other researchers, and in much greater number, that have made publications, that are not scientific, but are fantastic, even if between their findings can be some valid sculpture, and for this I do not cite neither the names, neither bibliography. The fantastic interpretations can be infinite, but I cite only one, as an example: to connect the myth of Atlantis with the sculptures of the lower and middle Paleolithic! These publications, beyond to being a loss of time to read them, confuse the ideas for who want to understand the " truth " on these ancient shapes of art, in which there is already difficulty, for many scholars, to distinguish the " true one from the false one ", right in the same sculpture.
The " private researchers " of the art of which, instead, I cite the publications, from Boucher de Perthes to Harroy and until today, have published their findings with scientific criteria, that can be synthetized in this manner:
- drawings and photographies of the sculptures, apt to being interpreted well,
- sizes of the sculptures,
- finding place,
- description of the subject represented in exhausting way,
- cultural attribution and relative chronology (sensu lato), according to the personal knowledgments of the moment, that are those established for the lithic industries by the " academic researchers ".
Personal opinions are necessary, and there are always, and it does not have importance that these are all acceptable, in how much, when the student adheres himself to the five previous descriptions, his opinions generally are in the norm.
In the years ' 60 appear in Germany the first publications with the highest number of photographies of sculptures of the lower and middle Paleolithic, that have been made from the first years of the century. These publications are by Walter Matthes, to which goes the merit to have made searches in the north of the Germany, and in south of Denmark, that is in a zone in which the great French and English researchers of the 19th century and first 20th century had never explored.
Walter Matthes was an academic, in how much he teached prehistory at the University of Hamburgh (Germany), but unfortunately I must put him between the " private researchers " and not between the " academic researchers ", in how much his searches never have been accepted by the official science.
Matthes, beyond the sculptures, collected also tools, and and he was able to draw them very well.
At Hamburg he had founded a museum, very beautiful and extremely important, with his sculptures of the lower and middle Paleolithic, that has had large success, and has been important point of interest for intellectual people of varied extraction, for famous scholars of art, between which Herbert Kunh.
Matthes has participated to international conferences of prehistory, and has been a point of reference of the collectors of the Northern Europe for beyond 20 years.
The museums of art of the lower and middle Paleolithic have short life.
Juritzky placed his sculptures in a museum in Holland; Matthes founded a museum in Germany (near the University); Gaietto founded a museum in Italy (near a Cultural Center); there was much prominence on the press, remarkable affluence of visitors, absence of representatives of official science.
Today, the three museums are closed, with the materials withdrawn from rooms, and the guilt is of an official science, that to define feracious it is little, in how much destroys, without not even analyzing the works, without not even to reveal itself.
The sculptures of the lower Paleolithic that can be found in a favorable territory, sometimes seem numerous, but are extremely rare, if it is considered that they have been made in an arc of 500,000 years. If then is made a relationship with the rock recordings of the places of cult of the age of the bronze ( exemple: Valley of the Wonders, France, 40.000 recordings in 6,000 years), then the rarity of the sculptures of the lower Paleolithic becomes still greater, in how much, it must are held account that the need of art for the cult rituals has always occupied the man in the same measure.
From the 1960, Gaietto begins the searches in the more important layers of surface of the lower Paleolithic in the South Europe (Italy, France, Spain, Greece); in 1974 he publishes a subdivision of the sculptures in cultural phases (Abbevillian , Acheulean, etc.); in 1982 he publishes a typology, that comprises also the evolution of the sculptures.
From 1975 Licia Filingeri begins the search on the art, both on the field, and in the psychological aspects connected to the cult rituals, i.e. to the use of the art.
THE FOURTH PHASE OF THE SEARCH
TYPOLOGY AND CHRONOLOGY
Typology and chronology are closely connected in the lithic artefacts of the lower Paleolithic.
Already Boucher de Perthes distinguished the lithic artefacts, found in " diluvial sands ", from those found in more recent layers. The human artefacts often were found " in situ ", at levels perfectly defined from the stratigraphic point of view. There has not been therefore difficulty to situate these artefacts in the time.
The studies on the art of the lower Paleolithic until 1980 have produced neither a typology, neither a chronology, but the generic attribution to the lower Paleolithic.
Harroy erroneously assigned his findings to the middle Paleolithic and to the upper Paleolithic, instead, I think that they are to attribute in part to the lower Paleolithic and in part to the middle Paleolithic, and his typology, much precise on the couplings in the anthropomorphic and zoomorphic two-faced sculptures, concerned the rare sculptures and those common ones, but has not been useful for a continuation of the search on typologic base.
Juritzky dated his sculptures at 40,000 years, that is to the middle Paleolithic, but erroneously, in how much they have to be assigned nearly totally to the lower Paleolithic.
Matthes has attributed his sculptures to the lower and middle Paleolithic, in correct way.
Neither Juritzky, nor Matthes have set up a typology, but they limited to introduce photographies, of a remarkable variety of types.
To these researchers goes the merit of having collected a remarkable amount of sculptures, than I hope do not will be dispersed.
These researchers, until Matthes comprised, in Europe have not collected sculptures of the Olduvian (Pebble Cultures), probably because they do not exist in the zone of their searches.
A typology and a chronology of the sculptures of the lower Paleolithic now exists (Gaietto, 1982), and has had remarkable improvements (Gaietto 2000, 2001, 2002).
This typology is based on a hundred of sculptures found in Europe, Africa and Asia; of which each one has a cultural attribution.The most ancient ones belong to the Olduvian, most recent ones to the Acheulean evolued, at the threshold of the middle Paleolithic.
These types of sculptures are placed in chronological order, following the chronology of the material culture, that, like it is known, is based on the industries, and that, at the moment, is the more reliable chronology.
The typology of the more ancient phases, is constituted from the representation in sculpture of the single head, then in every successive cultural phase is a progressive increase of types, that corresponds also to an increase of the composition of the same sculptures.
The cultural attribution of the sculptures of the lower Paleolithic happens following two main methods: the affinities between the technique of working of the sculptures and the technique of working of the lithic tools, of which they exist consolidated cultural attributions, and the affinities between sculptures and tools constituted from the distinctions based on the physical state (patina, tumbling, etc).
Typology, cultural attribution and consequent chronology, are closely connected, and are based also on other remarks: the human types represented in the anthropomorphic sculpture, i.e representations of heads of hominids (in all or in part the profile of the skull), where the species more ancient are found also in the types of sculptures more ancient, also for the chipping technique, following the same evolution with representations of heads of more recent hominids, and technique of working of the sculpture more evolued. Therefore, evolution that corresponds to chronology:
- increase of the composition in the representations: from the single head to the two-faced head, that is two heads joined by the nape; from the single head with the neck, to the human head with the vertical body; while for the heads of animals the increase of the composition is the horizontal body (mammalian) without limbs.
They have been classified also sculptures with animal head and vertical body of human type, and other combinations animal-man, that sure had religious character, and that are found also in the successive periods.
- also the style of the sculptures is a component of the archaeological research. The style has been theorized as the " language of the art " (Gaietto, 1982), in how much, in the representation (sculpture or painting) of a period of a people, there is always diversity regarding that one of an other people, or in the same people in an other period. As an example, the human head, near one hundred civilizations in the time and in the space, is represented in standardized way (the fashion of that people and that time) in one hundred different ways.
The representation of the head can be in style much realist, or with particular abolition of the face, or lengthened in vertical sense, or lengthened in horizontal sense, or as caricature, or geometric, etc, but is always a human head . All these variations are the " language of the art ", that is to represent the same head in different way.
The style does not have to be confused with the shape and the composition of the sculpture.
For how much it can appear strange, for who is approached to these searches, also in the lower Paleolithic, every sculpture, also those most ancient, have much different styles, that testify the belonging to different periods. The extremes of the style are like in the art of all the successive times, from the proportioned realism to extreme deformations of different type.
It is necessary to hold in consideration, in the analysis of a lithic sculpture, the technological stage, in how much a rough working, does not interfere at all in the style.
The analysis of the style is more laborious in the sculptures obtained from nodules of silex, that, however, are much rare.
The foundation of the typology of the sculptures of the lower Paleolithic can comprise also sculptures published with drawings and photographies many years ago, always if the descriptions and the measures are exact. The work of Boucher de Perthes in this direction is admirable, in how much in the first half of the 19th century he published the sculptures and the tools with drawings, and was extremely precise, in how much the cues contained the measures (height, width, thickness) of the sculptures. Today, the work of Boucher de Perthes can still be used for typologic aims, in order to establish the types of sculptures that were in the zones where he has made searches.
Beginning from the first years of the 20th century , all the sculptures are published in photography, and with a single photography, relative to the more important view, and the measures in centimeters are replaced from the dimensions: 1/4, natural largeness, etc.
In years '60 of the century now concluded, Matthes, for some sculptures, publishes also three photographies: lateral, posterior, semifrontal, and the measures with the dimensions: 5/9, natural largeness etc. The photographies are black and white.
From years '70 until today, Gaietto publishes for every sculpture of the lower and middle Paleolithic also seven photographies, that is from every side, over and under, and one semifrontal view, then adds one or more drawings of the contour of the sculpture, evidencing the zone of the eye, like centrality of the head, with some graphical symbols, for the right interpretation of the sculpture; while he indicates the dimensions in centimeters (height, width, thickness). The photographies before were black and white, now they are colored. From 1983 Gaietto uses also moovies, in how much they allow to show the sculpture in continuous way and without interruptions, like if the observer had it between the hands.
THE FOURTH PHASE OF THE SEARCH
THE ABSOLUTE DATINGS
The absolute datings of the lithic artefacts, with the new technologies, happen when the artefacts are found in datable sites.
In Europe the datable sites of the lower Paleolithic are very rare, while in Africa they are frequent.
These modern absolute datings do not replace the traditional methods of dating, but they integrate them; and they have carried some disorder between the datings of the European and Africans lithic artefacts, so that, personally, I have the doubt that these systems of dating are still to be perfect.
Before entering in the merit of the discoveries of sculptures of the lower Paleolithic with absolute dating, I think useful to make a panoramic about the conventions of official science on the absolute datings of fossils of hominids and the cultural cycles, that are constituted mostly from the lithic artefacts, that is from the tools and the sculptures.
The two-faced anthropomorphic sculptures of the lower Paleolithic, that is the human sculptures that join two heads by the nape with look in opposite direction, often represent two human types clearly different one from the other, that testify the cohabitation of species of different hominids .
The numerous fossil findings of hominids in Africa testify the cohabitation of hominids of different species, of which it has been possible to obtain the absolute datings, that are the following:
from 2,500,000 to 2,300,000 years Australopithecus africanus and Australopithecus boisei,
from 2,300,000 to 2,000,000 years Australopithecus africanus, A. boisei and Homo habilis,
from 2,000,000 to 1,800,000 years Australopithecus boisei , A. robustus and Homo habilis,
from 1,800,000 to 1,600,000 years Australopithecus boisei, A. robustus, Homo habilis and Homo erectus,
from 1,600,000 to 1,000,000 years Australopithecus boisei, A.robustus and Homo erectus,
from 1,000,000 to 700,000 years Australopithecus boisei and Homo erectus,
from 700,000 to 500,000 years Homo erectus (period with scarcity of fossils),
from 500,000 to 200,000 years Homo erectus and H. sapiens archaic
The industries and the art of the lower Paleolithic are of three types:
- Olduvian (Pebble Culture)
Artefacts on pebble (choppers) and flake
Artefacts on flake with two-faced (amigdale)
Artefacts on flake without two-faced
These artefacts have an initial phase with rough products, and a final phase with evolued products.
The datings more shared by the different authors are the followings:
- Olduvian (Pebble Culture) from 2,500,000 to 700,000 years
- Acheulean..........................from 1.500.000 to 200,000 years
- Clactonian..........................from 700,000 to 200,000 years
- Olduvian (Pebble Culture) from 1,000,000 to 700,000 years
- Acheulean......................... from 500,000 to 200,000 years
- Clactonian..........................from 700,000 to 200,000 years
(Note: the Pebble Culture term is not more in use in Africa, but it is still in Europe. The Clactonian term is not in use in Africa, but I adopt it in order to define the " industries without two-faced ". At Isernia, in Italy, the Clactonian has been dated to 736,000 years.)
The three cultural cycles of the lower Paleolithic in Africa last 2.300.000 years (from 2,500,000 to 200,000 years), while in Europe last 800.000 years (from 1,000,000 to 200,000 years), therefore in Africa it would are begun all before, that is 1.500.000 years, but, although it, the Africans artefacts and those Europeans are substantially equal from the beginning to the end of the lower Paleolithic.
In the chronology of the art of the lower Paleolithic, in the Europe-Africa relationship it is necessary to consider only the cultural phases, as if in Africa and Europe they had had the same duration. The datings of Asia are similar to those Europeans, and consequently (for the art) also to those Africans.
Personally, I have strong doubts on the emergency of the absolute datings, made with the current technologies, in how much, periods of some million years of human cultural progress, that comprise periods of 500,000 years without no cultural progress, seem to me absolutely against the logic of the evolution. However, I adopt these datings, even if I think it does not carry some benefit to the study of the art of the lower Paleolithic.
Admitted that the European Olduvian layers have been destroyed from climatic variations, the difference with Africa is also always of 1,500,000 years; the difference between the African Acheulean and that European one is of 1,000,000 of years; while the Clactonian begins 700.000 years ago at the same time in the two continents; moreover the Acheulean in Africa begins 800.000 years before the Clactonian, while the Acheulean in Europe begins 200.000 years after the Clactonian, and, finally, it must be considered that in Africa the Acheulean is more spread out of the Clactonian, and is introduced in Europe with 200,000 years of delay.
All these data are decidedly alarming, in how much the artefacts of the three cultural cycles are practically similar in Europe and Africa.
With the end of the lower Paleolithic (roughly 200,000 years ago) are found new civilizations that differentiate Europe from Africa, but there are also continuations, as an example: at Kalambo Falls, at the extremity south oriental of Lake Tanganica, Prof. Desmond Clark has found a final Acheulean much beautiful dated roughly 55,000 years B. C. It is therefore totally contemporary to the Mousterian of western Europe.
One of the more important sculptures of the lower Paleolithic with absolute dating has been found by Mary Leakey in the East Africa. This sculpture is obtained from a pebble, and is worked from every side. (Fig.2). It represents a head of hominid without the neck, with a stylistic deformation of lengthened and caricatural type. But it could also represent a head of humanized animal , that is an artistic hybrid man-animal. It comes from the Throat of Olduvai, in a site dated to 1,700,000 years.
The cultural attribution is the Olduvian (Pebble Culture). Measures: length cm. 7.5, height cm. 6, unknown thickness.
An other sculpture of the same type and cultural phase has been found in Italy in secondary lying (Gaietto, 1982).
Mary Leakey, with her husband Louis, has always operated in the search of fossil hominids and of their industries in East Africa, and she has never made search on the origins of the art, but this sculpture, found also for a fortunate case, is appeared to them so much obvious, than she has published a study (M. Leakey 1960, 1963).
Also Raymod Dart, famous for his discoveries in South Africa, has been taken care of the sculpture of Olduvai.
An other important sculpture of the lower Paleolithic with absolute dating has been found at Berekhat Ram of the northern Golan in 1980 by the Prof. Naama Goren Imbar of the Archaeological Institute of the Jewish University of Jerusalem (Fig.14).
It is a smallest sculpture that measures only 35 millimeters of height. It is carved in volcanic tufa, and has two datings from 233,000 to 800,000 years and from 330,000 to 800,000 years, however, I do not know in order which reason the " academic researchers " use always the lower datings.
The cultural attribution is the Acheulean or the Clactonian, like supports who has studied it.
It represents a head with body; the head has look turned up; the body seems to have breasts, and therefore the feminine attribution; it is lacking in upper limbs, and the lower limbs are represented until the height of the knees. The features of the face are not represented, neither would have been possible, according to the small dimensions of the head.
This type of sculpture is the smallest that is known, and is similar to other types inserted in the typology of the sculpture of the lower Paleolithic (Gaietto, 1982).
This discovery is due to the fortune, in how much Prof. Goren Imbar is not researcher of art of the lower Paleolithic, but to them goes also the merit to have involved in this study an important number of remarkable scholars .
The only three sculptures of the lower Paleolithic with absolute dating still are not been useful to start, in the background of the " academic researchers ", a search on the art of the hominids.
The " stone-figure " of Makapansgat seems have arouse a sure interest, in how much has demonstrated that the australopithecus that has collected it had nearly human faculties, therefore has been considered (erroneously) at the same level of a beautiful colorful shell.
The Olduvian sculpture found by Mary Leakey seems to me forgotten.
Today what counts are the new discoveries, and who supports to them, therefore a sculpture like that one of Mary Leakey, that has been discovered more than 40 years ago (erroneously) is forgotten.
The sculpture of Berekhat Ram, to the contrary, is event of the day, in how much are interested in it recently authoritative " academic researchers ", but at the moment the resonance, that it has had, regards only its antiquity, i.e. its " origin " in the lower Paleolithic.
The " academic researchers " do not know more, or they do not want to know, that consolidated studies on the art of the lower Paleolithic exist, therefore, since for them the most ancient sculpture is constituted from the "venus"of the upper Paleolithic, to find a sculpture in the lower Paleolithic is a great discovery, nearly a " miracle ".
Today, the concept of " origin ", meant as point of departure of the evolution (in our case of the art), seems not to interest the " researchers academic ", who instead are fascinated from the absolute datings, that exceed other datings. However, the sculpture of Berekhat Ram, if supported, that is if it does not enter in the oblivion, could start the searches of the art of the lower Paleolithic in the background of the " academic researchers ", as I will assume in the conclusions.
PHOTOGRAPHIES AND DRAWINGS OF SCULPTURES DISCOVERED IN 150 YEARS
FIG. 1 Drawing of an anthropomorphic pebble. On the back of the pebble there is a second image, that is similar to the face of a hominid. This pebble with two faces, by the scholars is thought accidental, but it has been used by a hominid, like if it were a sculpture, and therefore must be thought the first known shape of PRE-ART, that is the use of the ready-made, before the fabrication.
Found by W.I. EITZMAN in 1925.
Measures: I do not know to them, perhaps roughly 7 cm. of height
Origin: Makapansgat (Valley of the Northern Province, South Africa)
Absolute dating: 3.000.000 years (Dart) and 2.5 - 2.9 million years (Bednarik)
Finding studied by Raymond Dart, Mary Leakey, Robert G. Bednarik
(Drawing made from a drawing of Bednarik)
FIG. 2 Drawing of anthropomorphic lithic sculpture, found by MARY LEAKEY in 1960 or previously.
It represents a head of hominid, but perhaps it is an artistic hybrid of man and animal.
Style: the stylistic deformation, like artistic language, is already obvious.
Measures: they are on the drawing; the thickness, I do not know it.
Technique of working: it has been descibed by Mary Leakey.
Origin: Olduvai Gorge (East Africa)
Absolute dating: 1.700.000 years.
Cultural attribution: Olduvian (Pebble Culture)
Finding studied by Mary Leakey, Raymond Dart, K.P. Oakley
FIG. 3 Zooantropomorphic lithic sculpture found by ISAIE DHARVENT in 1902 or previously.
It is an old photography, in which cannot see the parts worked on the nodule of silex. Perhaps it is damaged from alluvial tumbling.
The representation, in the interpretation of Dharvent, was the head of a monkey; my interpretation is different: the profile of the head has jaw and human forehead, while the mouth is of animal, therefore is an artistic hybrid.
Measures: probably 6 cm. height.
Origin: probably Center - North of France.
Cultural attribution: probably middle Acheulean.
In this photography the working traces are not looked at, do not look at the back; moreover the mouth is atypical, perhaps influenced from the shape of the nodule of silex, therefore, it is not possible to establish with certainty the authenticity.
FIG. 4 Zooanthropomorphic lithic sculpture found by WALTER MATTHES before 1969.
It represents, according to Matthes, a " grotesque head ", while in the typology it is an artistic hybrid of man and feracious animal. The jaw is human; the proportion of the height of the head is human; the snout is of the animal; the mouth is opened wide.
Measures: height cm. 8; unknown thickness. Technique of working: it is chipped from every part, like is looked at the photography. The open mouth is obtained from a re-entering of original shape of the nodule of silex, and desunes from color more light in the mouth, that is the rind that wraps the nodules of silex, which inside are of dark color.
Origin: Wittenbergen ( Northern Germany). Cultural attribution: according to Matthes, lower Paleolithic; but according to the interpretation of the typology and technique of working, we can be preciser attributing it to the final Acheulean.
FIG. 5 Anthropomorphic lithic sculpture found by JACQUES BOUCHER DE PERTHES probably in the first half of the 19th century .
Boucher de Perthes defined it " human figure ". In the current typology, it is classified like human head without the neck, in frontal version with opened wide mouth. In the sculpture of the lower Paleolithic, the mouth, opened wide in enormous way, is interpreted like " shout ", and is understood like one of the first manifestations of " movement ".
(For French official science this sculpture is a false, that is a nature joke.)
Measures: probably it is high roughly 15 cm., and this desume from the worked parts.
Technique of working: it is obtained from a nodule of silex empty in the inside. The worked parts, looked at in photography, are the increase of the larger eye; the increase of the mouth, where the removals are much clear at the two sides and under, in correspondence of the zone of the chin.
Origin: probably Valley of the Somme.
Cultural attribution: Final Acheulean, even if not is certainty, in how much the parts carved are insufficient; that is this is an authentic work, but it is atypical for have been obtained from a nodule.
Current destination: probably the Musée des Antiquités Nationales de Saint - Germain en Laye (France).
FIG. 6 Drawings of lithic sculptures found by JACQUES BOUCHER DE PERTHES and published in " Antiquités Celtiques et Antédiluviennes, de l'industrie primitive ou des Arts à leur origine " (1847 - 1864).
There are representations of human heads joined by the nape, with look in opposite direction, that is two-faced anthropomorphic sculptures. They are all typical. The used material is the silex.
The stylistic deformation is of varied type, testifies that they belong to different periods of the lower Paleolithic.
The interpretations of Boucher de Perthes were several, and different from the current typology.
Measures: from 5 to 13 cm. of length.
Technique of working: it is not looked at, however, the sculptures n° 16 and 16 A seem have the margins not rounded off, while the others three sculptures seem have the margins a little rounded off from alluvial tumbling.
Origin: " alluvial sands " probably of the Valley of the Somme.
Cultural attribution: probably middle Acheulean.
All the sculptures collected by Boucher de Perthes are in great part authentic, and those not authentic, that is false, re-enter in the margins of error, made also by other researchers, with the lithic tools and the human fossil rests, in the first half of the 19th century .
Boucher de Perthes dies 80 years old in 1868. The ferocity of his enemies not stays; a year after his death, in 1869, in name of the official science, his publications were sent for pulping.
FIG. 7 Drawing of lithic sculpture published by W.M. NEWTON , 1913.
Measures: 13 cm. of length.
The technique of working in the drawing is not looked at, but probably it is a little rounded off from alluvial tumbling.
Origin: England of the south or France of the north.
Cultural attribution: probably middle Acheulean
Newton attributed this sculpture to an animal head. However, the single drawing is not sufficient for a judgment, in how much a sculpture must be inspected from every side; therefore, it could be interpreted on the left like head of mammal, and on the right like human head: this coupling is frequent.
FIG. 8 Drawing of lithic two-faced anthropomorphic sculpture found by ANTONIN JURITZKY.
(drawing drawn from a photography published by Juritzky in 1953)
The sculpture represents two human heads joined by the nape with look in opposite direction. It is obtained from a nodule of silex; the eye is constituted from a natural hole; all the parts mainly worked are in the zone that goes from the nose to the frontal part of the jaws, and to all the hollow that joins under the two jaws towards the high.
The human types are arcaic, that is hominids with absence of forehead and chin; however, from a drawing it is not possible to establish if can be see features with Homo erectus or with archaic Homo sapiens.
Juritzky thought that this sculpture represented two heads joined , but of feracious animals, and this can be explained with the fact than, half century ago, not were still all the knowledges of today about the skulls of the hominids found in Africa. In his typology of two-faced heads, with the socket for the conjunction of the jaws towards the high, he had made a distinction of geometric type, that was measured in degrees.
Measures: probably roughly 20 cm. of length.
Technique of working of the silex: great removals, and little final touchs.
Origin: probably Center-Northern France.
Cultural attribution: probably Acheulean or middle Clactonian.
FIG. 9 Two-faced anthropomorphic lithic sculpture found by LICIA FILINGERI in the 2002.
It represents two human heads joined by the nape with look in opposite direction. The head on the right has the eye gained from a natural hole in the silex, and is much realistic. It has escaping forehead; absence of chin; great nose pushed in ahead for a nearly caricatural stylistic deformation.
The head on the left is of geometric type, but also this has escaping forehead and absence of chin, that are two typical characteristics of the head of the hominids.
The two heads have two different artistic styles, sure reconductable to two different cultural origins coexisting, or perhaps for some other reason, that we still do not know.
The light sidet of the sculpture is the original rind of the slab of silex; while the dark part corresponds to the worked part, i.e. to the inner color of the silex, in origin covered from the rind, before the working.
Fig. 9 A Back of the sculpture. There is not the representation of the eye. In the head on the left, between the great nose and the beginning of the jaw, there is an great removal (which is looked at little in the photography Fig.9 ), seems to want to indicate the mouth.
Fig. 9 B View of the sculpture from the high. It is a technical photography in order to make to see the working of the stone, that is " cut " all around.
Fig. 9 C View of the sculpture under. It is a technical photography in order to make to see the working. The stone under is cut with such regularity, than, measured with a square, it has equal angles from the two sides.
Measures: Lenght cm. 16.5; height cm. 10.5; thickness max cm.5,2 and min. cm. 3.
Technique of working: the sculpture has been obtained from a flat stone of silex. It has a great work of removal of material that goes round all the sculpture, with settled and very accurates removals for obtaining the shape. The hole of the eye is of natural origin, but in consideration that also in other sculptures of the lower Paleolithic we can find eyes with natural holes, we can suppose that the hole " for " the eye, re-enters in the choice of the material, if not for inspiration, at least because it was found made, being difficult to make holes in the silex for percussion with the techniques in use.
Origin: Rodi Garganico (Foggia, Italy) Station of surface.
Cultural attribution: middle Acheulean, or perhaps ancient Acheulean, is still not known. Found little days ago; we are studying it. The sculpture is not disfigured by alluvial tumbling, but it shows only light signs of carriage, that will be useful for definitive cultural attribution.
FIG. 10 Zoomorphic lithic sculpture published by THIEULLEN in 1900.
It represents a mammal head, probably a fawn.
In this old photography, the working traces are not looked at on the stone, therefore it is not possible to establish if the sculpture has been obtained from an accidentally zoomorphic nodule, but retouched, or if it is a totally natural nodule.
This sculpture, therefore, could be FALSE, that is an error of interpretation, that have made all the first researchers, also with the tools.
Moreover, in the typology of the sculptures of heads of mammals of the lower Paleolithic, they do not are represented, neither the ears, neither the neck; however, if the man found them already made, it is possible that he used them, perfecting them with little retouchings.
Measures: probably roughly 5 cm. height.
Origin: Paris (in a sand quarry, 31 rue Miollis, at 7 meters of depth).
Cultural attribution: generically lower Paleolithic, in consideration that, in the successive periods, have not been used nodules of silex for making small sculptures.
FIG. 11 Two zoomorphic lithic sculptures published by E. HARROY in 1902.
They represent two heads of the steg family, which, very probably, are FALSE.
Harroy has been a great scolar, and has compared more than 100,000 " stone-figures ", that is an enormous work, that involves inevitable ERRORS.
This photography, old of 100 years, does not allow to understand the type of stone, neither to see the parts worked. Harroy attributes his findings to the middle Paleolithic and the upper Paleolithic, but I have see that a part is to attribute to the lower Paleolithic.
These two " stone-figures " are much evocative, and my suspicion that are FALSE bases on these deductions:
- in the Paleolithic (lower, middle and upper), in the 100 years successive to the discoveries of Harroy, lithic sculptures of the family of the stegs with the horns have never been found .
- in the current typology of the sculptures of the lower and middle Paleolithic, the mammals are represented with the single head and without the neck, or with the head and the horizontal body without limbs .
- the measures that Harroy gives about his sculptures of stegs, that have been numerous, oscillate from 3 to 5 cm. of height. It is a standard of too much small sculptures. Probably, he will have found some quarry with small nodules of silex, where he has operated great selections, collecting what he liked.
- also the style is useful for this verification: in all the Paleolithic, the greater part of the cultural phases has produced works with strong stylistic deformation, while the " stone-figures " collectioned by Harroy (comprised these two of stegs) are realistic, proportionned to the natural, and sure object of strongly selection in the finding.
FIG. 12 Lithic zoomorphic sculpture found by PIETRO GAIETTO in 1970.
It represents a head of mammal with horizontal body and without limbs .
This type of sculpture, in the composition of the art, marks the passage from the representation of the single head of animal, to the representation of the head of animal with body. However, the representation of the only head persists in parallel.
Measures: length cm. 6.5.
Technique of working: the sculpture is in silex, and is worked from every side. The body is realized with longitudinal removals, while the head is modeled with small retouchings. The section of the body has six sides; the section of the head has five sides.
Origin: Rodi Garganico (Foggia, Italy) in surface station.
Cultural attribution: Clactonian or middle Acheulean (in the zone has been dated to 350,000 years in 1975).
FIG. 13 Zooanthropomorphic lithic Sculpture found by PIETRO GAIETTO in 1973.
It represents a head of mammal with human vertical body.
This type of representation of artistic hybrid man-animal is found also in the successive prehistorical phases, the historical periods and the ethnography, where always is connected to the religion.
This type of sculpture, in the composition of the art, marks the passage from the representation of the single head, to the representation of the head with human vertical body.
Measures: height cm. 6.5.
Technique of working: the sculpture is in silex, and is worked from every side. The body has large removals, while the head has small retouchings.
Origin: Torrente Romandato (Rodi Garganico, Foggia, Italy).
Cultural attribution: middle Acheulean (in the zone has been dated to 350,000 years in 1975).
FIG. 14 Drawing of the anthropomorphic lithic sculpture found by Dr. NAAMA GOREN-INBAR in 1980.
It represents a nude woman . This type of sculpture precedes of 250,000 - 300.000 years other sculptures of the same type of the upper Paleolithic, said " Venus ", and probably are to the origin of these, also in the cult rituals.
This sculpture, in common with all the "venus" of the upper Paleolithic, has absence of hands, of feet and of tracts of the face. Instead, in common with some of this "venus" (that in the profile of the head have absence of chin and forehead, that are interpreted like neanderthalians), has the head turned back , and consequently look turned up.
This sculpture, between the " Venus ", is the smallest that is known, in how much is high only cm. 3.5. If it had not been found in a layer that allowed the absolute dating, very probably would have been attributed to the upper Paleolithic.
For what I have been able to understand from the only photography that I have seen, the arm is sketched in part, while the legs are cut over the knees.
The drawing, made from the photography, shows the sculpture in nearly semifrontal position, in how much it seems to see the two breasts. In the drawing, the eye on the head is " indicative ", that is, is a graphical symbol, in use in the drawings of sculptures of the lower Paleolithic lacking in eyes, in order to indicate the orbital zone, that constitutes the centrality of the head.
The head is smallest, but it is a lot cured and meaningful.
Technique of working: differently from the small sculptures in hard silex, that are modeled through percussion or pressure, this sculpture in volcanic tufe, that I imagine in tender stone, must have been modeled with flaking technique, that is a technic still not known in ancient ages.
Origin: Berekhat Ram (northern Golan, Israel).
Cultural attribution: Acheulean
Absolute datings: from 233,000 to 800,000 years and 330,000 to 800,000 years, however there is who uses 233.000 and who 330.000 years.
Interested in this sculpture: Prof. Alexander Marschack (Harvard University), Dr. Francisco D' Errico (Institut de Préhistoire et de Géologie du Quaternaire, Talence, France), Prof. April Nowell (University of Pensylvania), Prof. A. Pelcin, Prof. Paul G. Bahn, Prof. Vertut, and naturally Dr. Goren-Inbar.
The small and "beautiful " sculpture of cm. 3.5 of Berekhat Ram demonstrates, in unequivocal way, that the hands and the brain of the hominids was similar in all to Homo sapiens sapiens, and what distinguished them from us was only the technology, that still had not been invented.
Once again I want to remember the intuition of Jacques Boucher de Perthes.
CONCLUSION AND HYPOTHESIS ON THE FUTURE OF THE SEARCH
In the first half of the 19th century the researchers of human fossils, the researchers of tools, and the researchers of sculptures (stone-figures) were all " amateurs ".
With the birth of the prehistory, like true and own science, the human fossil researchers and the researchers of tools have been replaced by " academic researchers ".
The sculptures (stone-figures), that Boucher de Perthes studied very well, did not were accepted by the official science of the time, and therefore they remained outside. But those people who have continued to have interest in the sculpture of the lower and middle Paleolithic, are not more private amateurs, but " researchers ".
The art (stone-figures), that is the sculpture of the lower and middle Paleolithic, has no more succeeded to enter in official science, and today, after 150 years, it is still more difficult, not only for the reasons of the 19th century , than this art is similar to the stones, but, also, because the way to mean the man has been transformed in negative sense.
An official science exists that protects the researchers of the fossil rests of hominids, and an official science that protects the researchers of tools and the material culture. Well, in backgrounds of these two sciences, for tradition, absolutely do not exist space for a search about the art and the spiritual life of the hominids.
I have not tried to quantify how many are the " private researchers " of the art, and how many are the " academic researchers " of the human fossil rests and of the tools, but I imagine that the " private researchers " can be represented in a small mouse, while the " academic researchers " in a great elephant.
From the universities of all the world exit every year a lot of graduates, great part of which has participated to diggings, and their formation is that one of that of their teachers, where all bases on how much has been made before, and are made also important studies, but with total exclusion of the art and of the life spiritual of the hominids, like if not were existing; and therefore no more the problem is set, and probably, who sets it, if manifests it, becomes a " heretical " in the academic background .
The cruel persecution that the " academic researchers " have practiced through 150 years to the damages of the " private researchers " of the art, does not regard sure all. Scholars with great opening to the possibilities of the man, and that is to the art, are Raymond Dart, Mary Leakey, Prof. Alexander Marshack and Prof. Naama Goren Imbar, and probably also others.
The art discoveries, like any other discovery, do not have to stay in the drawer, but must are communicated.
The " private researchers " of the art of the lower and middle Paleolithic, in the 20th century , always having found closed doors in the official science, had adressed themselves directly to the cultured public, through temporary exhibitions, or being able to prepare small museums.
These museums after short time have been closed (Juritzky, Matthes, Gaietto) for guilt of the official science, but not of the " academic researchers ", but by simple academics, which are not even researchers, which are not even interested in lower and middle Paleolithic, except than for that little, that the scholastic books allow in the university instruction, from which the art is excluded.
I still dwell on the persecutions of official science, in how much these make integrating part of the discoveries of the art of the lower and middle Paleolithic, since they have obstructed the diffusion of his knowledge.
These persecutions, obviously, are not from the official science, but they are in name of the official science, that is of a wrong idealization of the science, that unfortunately is much diffuse and powerful.
The persecutions can be synthetized in three main types: total indifference, the exclusion from every participation, and the offense.
I do not dwell on these sad historical arguments, but still I want to stay on the concept of " offense ".
Always in name of the science, than after all is more dogma than science, have been closed the museums with the findings of Juritzky, Matthes and Gaietto, simply with a telephone call, that discredited the works exhibited in the museums. Other telephone calls of discredit have been made also to some journalists, that had been taken care benevolently of the museums or exhibitions of sculpture.
Although all these sufferings, in 150 years, the science of the art of the lower and middle Paleolithic has gone forward well, so that exists a complete outline with a good typology of sculptures for every cultural phase of the lower Paleolithic.
In these studies, besides the physical aspect of the sculptures, that is the methods of control on their authenticity, have been invented methods for the interpretation of the hominids represented in sculpture, for the interpretation of the styles, the hypotheses about the function of the same art in the rituals of cult, through parallelisms with same types of sculptures in the successive paleolithic periods, in the historical periods and in the ethnography, and all on evolutionistic base, from the beginning to the end.
The future of the search, that is an ulterior progress of the knowledge, is based on the interest that the " academic researchers " will are able to have for the art and the spiritual life of the hominids, otherwise, all will remain like currently.
In order to start a search on the art in the academic background, new discoveries of sculptures with absolute dating are not so important , even if they could be of stimulus, but the study is important, that is that there are new academic researchers motivated to study the existing material.
It is difficult to make hypothesis, if not there is interest, and therefore there are no programs.
The space research has some programs; Marco Polo and Cristoforo Colombo wanted to discover; Pissarro in America has searched the gold for 25 years and then he has found it; Louis and Mary Leakey have searched for 25 years and then they have found. All had that interest, that still lacks in the academic background for the search of the art and the spiritual life of the hominids.
The hypothesis on the future of the search is based on the current state, and on some hopes, and how these could are realized, in six versions:
1) The private search goes ahead slowly for economic reasons, and also because there is not a generational replacement, also arousing remarkable interest through new total communication channels, like Internet. However, it has a patrimony of discoveries and studies in exclusive on the art of the lower Paleolithic.
2) The academic search, that is only based on findings of sculptures with absolute dating, is only at the beginnings, and could have a personal way, but the times are longest, and it does not know, if and when other datable sculptures will are found; in fact, the last sculpture is that one of Berekhat Ram, that has been discavered 22 years ago.
3) The third solution could be that the " academic researchers ", who are interested in the sculptures with absolute dating, were interested also in the typologies of the art of the " private researchers ", therefore at least they could understand, and make also search of surface, neither more and neither less than how it has been lead the search of the tools. Obviously, this would depend on will and interest of some isolated academic researcher, who however could put in motion the search in not excessive times.
4) Between the less probable eventualities, but to hold in consideration, the blooming of a " fashion " of researchers of sculptures of the lower and middle Paleolithic involving all. In the last years, it has been a growing of discoveries of paintings in cave and shelters under rock in Australia and Africa, sign that the researchers are many, and, therefore, it could be the possibility of a new interest also for the sculpture of the lower Paleolithic.
5) An other interesting possibility (always if is taken conscience of the problems of the origins of the art and the spirituality of the hominids ), could to be realized near one or more universities in collaboration between them.
Teachers would have to promote an inquiry about all the studies that are known today on the art of the lower and middle Paleolithic beginning from Boucher de Perthes, comprised the recent discoveries with absolute dating. For the students, it would have to be a enthusiasmant inquiry.
An operation of the sort could open the road, in the academic world, to the search and the study of the art of the lower Paleolithic.
6) Perhaps the solution more interesting would be an agreement between scholars of art of every phase of the prehistory (lower, middle, upper Paleolithic; Mesolithic, Neolithic, Age of the metals), grouping all the disciplines of the art (rock sculpture, painting, recordings, art applied to tools and objects). Of other hand, the study of the art of the lower Paleolithic is closely tied to the successive periods for many interpretations; in the same manner, the study of the successive periods is tied to the lower Paleolithic for the origins, and the several shapes of art that are introduced unexpected, and of which is necessary to understand the evolution. Therefore, a great field of action is opened.
Immense fields of action have also the others two disciplines, in fact, the researchers of fossils of the hominids operate also to hundreds million years beyond the beginning of the fabrication of the tools; while the researchers of tools and the material culture, do not exceed the threshold of the fabrication of the tools, but they operate in all the successive prehistory.
Currently, these two predominant disciplines exist (with 150 years of starter ), with their two official sciences, that have their publications, of which I give a synthesis: generally, in the books of fossil of hominids are published photographies of fossil rests, and some tool, but no art; instead, in the books of tools are published photographies and drawings of tools in abundance, and some time some photographies of fossil rests of hominids, and the art is absent, or extremely rare. Usually, the art is employed in order to adorn the cover of these books, and I refer to the art of the upper Paleolithic or the protohistory.
The prehistoric art, beautiful or ugly that is, interests people more and more than the human skeletal rests and the lithic tools; instead, are published more books about skeletal findings and tools, than of art; indeed, the scientific books of art are extremely rare.
It is augurable that the researchers of art of all the prehistory put themselfs in agreement, and that a third official science for the art is born, and that studies on typologic, chronological and therefore evolutive base are mainly activated.
The art studied as periods closed in themselfs, in thecase of the Paleolithic, does not have sense; moreover, the processes of the evolution of the art join all the prehistoric art.
The material of study sure does not lacks: a census by the UNESCO, of roughly 15 years ago, has concurred to estimate in beyond 20 millions the number of conserved rock figures, pertaining to numerous tens of thousand of sites. The art of the lower Paleolithic is still the most poor of findings, but it embraces a period of time that constitutes the 92% of the life of the man.
The discoveries of art of the lower Paleolithic will continue, and I hope, that are many, but it is still more important that they become object of study on typologic base, otherwise they will are vain discoveries.
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