Archaeologists put new and old finds together to reassemble ancient work of art

Jul 18, 2013
A lion figurine carved from mammoth ivory, now with refitted head. Found at Vogelherd Cave in southwestern Germany. Approx. 40,000 years old. Photo: H. Jensen. Credit: University of Tübingen

Researchers from the University of Tübingen have successfully re-attached the newly discovered head of a prehistoric mammoth-ivory figurine discovered in 1931.

The head was found during renewed excavations at Vogelherd Cave, site of the original dig in 1931. The recent excavations, between 2005 and 2012, have yielded a number of important finds. The discovery of this ivory head helps to complete a figurine which now can be recognized as a – and demonstrates that it is possible to reassemble often fragmentary figurines from the earlier . The new discovery is presented in the 2013 edition of the journal "Archäologische Ausgrabungen in Baden-Württemberg".

Vogelherd Cave is located in the Lone Valley of southwestern Germany and is by far the richest of the four caves in the region that have produced examples of the earliest figurative art, dating as far back as 40,000 years ago. Overall, Vogelherd Cave has yielded more than two dozen figurines and fragments of figurines. While the work of fitting together thousands of small fragments of mammoth ivory from Vogelherd is just beginning, the remarkable lion figurine, now with its head, forms an important part of the display of the earliest art at the Museum of the University of Tübingen (MUT) in Hohentübingen Castle.

A lion figurine carved from mammoth ivory, now with refitted head. Found at Vogelherd Cave in southwestern Germany. Approx. 40,000 years old. Photo: H. Jensen. Credit: University of Tübingen

Professor Nicholas Conard and his excavation assistant Mohsen Zeidi today presented the new discovery and discussed its scientific importance, after which the find rejoined the permanent exhibit at MUT. Prof. Ernst Seidl of MUT commented on the importance of the Vogelherd discoveries for the University and the region.

Explore further: Radar search to find lost Aboriginal burial site

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Prehistoric flute in Germany is oldest known

Jun 24, 2009

Excavations in the summer of 2008 at the sites of Hohle Fels and Vogelherd produced new evidence for Paleolithic music in the form of the remains of one nearly complete bone flute and isolated small fragments ...

Ivory sculpture in Germany could be world's oldest

May 13, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The 2008 excavations at Hohle Fels Cave in the Swabian Jura of southwestern Germany recovered a female figurine carved from mammoth ivory from the basal Aurignacian deposit. This figurine, ...

Recommended for you

Wyoming cave with fossil secrets to be excavated

3 hours ago

(AP)—For the first time in more than 30 years, paleontologists are preparing excavate a sinkhole-type cave in northern Wyoming that contains the ancient remains of tens of thousands of animals.

Radar search to find lost Aboriginal burial site

Jul 22, 2014

Scientists said Tuesday they hope that radar technology will help them find a century-old Aboriginal burial ground on an Australian island, bringing some closure to the local indigenous population.

Archaeologists excavate NY Colonial battleground

Jul 19, 2014

Archaeologists are excavating an 18th-century battleground in upstate New York that was the site of a desperate stand by Colonial American troops, the flashpoint of an infamous massacre and the location of the era's largest ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

scidog
not rated yet Jul 19, 2013
how was it attached? glue,drill and peg? put together so the inside can be examined in the future ..the way this sort of work is done is just as interesting as the finished work.