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: Fertile Crescent: Farming started in several places at once, researchers report

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

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

Apr 17, 2014

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

Apr 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

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.

More news stories

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...