In 1999, archaeologists digging within the Hohle Fels cave, in Germany’s Swabian Jura mountain vary, found a fraction of an Ice Age carved figurine. It was the primary ivory sculpture to be pulled from the caves and researchers deemed it a illustration of a horse’s head. However current excavations at that very same website have uncovered new segments of the figurine which might be throwing that earlier interpretation into query.
Measuring about 1.5 inches-long, the 1999 discover includes a finely rendered snout, with line patterns on one facet, which researchers have recognized because the animal’s proper shoulder.
Since 2022, a analysis group from the College of Tübingen have been revisiting Hohle Fels, intent on unearthing different parts of the sculpture. They discovered numerous ivory fragments, amongst which had been items with line engravings and finishings that could possibly be matched to the unique ivory figurine. They embrace a small piece on the precise facet of the sculpture’s physique, one other that could possibly be a portion of its left entrance leg, and a smaller piece that’s a part of its torso.
As soon as the outdated and new fragments had been assembled, the sculpture offered a “new form,” in response to a current information announcement shared by the college, that regarded much less like a horse than beforehand thought. The Ice Age figurine is now made up of 5 segments that had been discovered through the years—from the unique 1999 discovery and a small cheek fragment that was found some years later, in addition to the newest additions.
“We nonetheless can not determine the animal species depicted with certainty, nevertheless it could possibly be a cave lion or a cave bear,” mentioned Nicholas Conard from the college’s Division of Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, who led the excavation.
“The figurine now has an enormous physique, reveals the everyday pronounced bear hump at shoulder peak, and presents itself in a posture that would imitate the trotting gait of a bear.”
The figurine is now on view on the Museum of Prehistory Blaubeuren in Germany, becoming a member of different finds from the Hohle Fels, together with the Venus of Hohle Fels, the earliest-known depiction of the human kind.
“This determine, mentioned Stefanie Kölbl, the museum’s managing director, of the newly reconstituted sculpture, “reveals us and our guests that archaeological work is rarely completed.”
“It’s in no way simple to determine Ice Age depictions with certainty, particularly when they’re preserved in such fragmentary kind,” mentioned Conard. “It subsequently is sensible to look additional fastidiously for the lacking elements of this animal within the years to return.”
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