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Gonnersdorf settlement The open-air site of Gönnersdorf was discovered in 1968, during the construction of a cellar for a private house. After digging through the pumice, bones and stone slabs appeared and it became clear that it was a location of the late ice age. A wonderful inventory of ice age life was unearthed: pulverised red hematite, a fireplace, evidence of habitation constructions, a lithic industry, statuettes of ivory and antler, engraved slate plaquettes, jet beads, perforated animal teeth and a well preserved faunal record. Based on these finds it was evident that Gönnersdorf was a site of huge importance.


Lalinde / Gönnersdorf Figurines and Engravings

Lalinde / Gönnersdorf figurines and engravings are strictly stylized, overtly female forms with over-sized buttocks, long trunks, small or missing breasts, and no heads. These images have been found at sites such as Gönnersdorf in Germany, in Abri Murat and Gare de Couze in France, Pekárna in the Czech Republic, and Wilczyce in Poland.
Text above adapted from: http://archaeology.about.com/od/upperpaleolithic/a/0307_venusfig.htm



Les figurations féminines schématiques

Très caractéristiques de la fin du Magdalénien, les figures féminines stylisées (du type Lalinde-Gönnersdorf) constituent une iconographie à part de l'art traditionnellement animalier du Magdalénien. Identifiées à l'origine d'après la figure princeps de Couze, gravés sur bloc calcaire (No 1 dans la vitrine), ces figurations schématiques sont connues sur divers supports dans toute l'Europe. Elles traduisent l'homogénéité culturelle de la fin du Paléolithique supérieur à une époque où les circulation des matières premières et des coquillages, atteignent leur apogée.

Very characteristic of the late Magdalenian, these stylized female figures (known as the Lalinde-Gönnersdorf tradition) are a part of imagery in the art of the traditional Magdalenian. Identified initially on the basis of the figures from Gare de Couze, engraved on a limestone block (No. 1 in the window), the schematic figures are known on various media across Europe. They reflect the cultural homogeneity of the late Upper Paleolithic at a time when the movement of raw materials and shells reached their climax.

Lalinde style engravings





Gare de Couze engravings in the Lalinde style.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Original, display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies


Lalinde style engravings Lalinde style engravings Lalinde style engravings
Gare de Couze engravings.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Originals, display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies




Lalinde style engravings Lalinde style engravings
Gare de Couze engravings highlighted.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Originals, display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies




Lalinde style engravings Lalinde style engravings
Gare de Couze engravings highlighted.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Originals, display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies




Lalinde style engravings Lalinde style engravings
Gare de Couze engravings highlighted.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Originals, display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies






These form part of a consistent art form, showing the outline of the female form engraved in limestone or on ivory plaques. See the illustrations below.

Note however, that every single one of the engravings photographed above on a single stone is shown from the right side of the female outline, which is not the case with all of the examples shown below.

Lalinde style engravings



La Roche Lalinde

Photo: www.ucmo.edu/Documents/dissertationillus.pdf


Lalinde style engravings



11-13 , Hohlenstein; 14-16 Gönnersdorf (engraving No. 59-1 and 86-1 and figurine No. 1

Photo: www.ucmo.edu/Documents/dissertationillus.pdf







Lalinde style engravings





Stone block with schematic female figures engraved on it. La Roche, Lalinde, Dordogne. Length of block 37 cm.

Photo: Sieveking (1979)

Source: Original, Field Museum, Chicago.




Montastruc decorated stone

Montastruc decorated stone



The Montastruc decorated stone (Acc. No. Palart 518) is an example of Ice Age art, now in the British Museum. A human figure that appears to be female has been scratched or engraved to decorate a fragment of a piece of limestone used as a lamp. The piece was excavated from Courbet Cave, Montastruc, Tarn-et-Garonne, Midi-Pyrénées, France, on the northern bank of the River Aveyron, a tributary of the Tarn. It is dated to around 11 000 BC, locally the Late Magdalenian period of the Upper Palaeolithic, towards the end of the last Ice Age.

It was excavated by Edouard Lartet and Henry Christy in 1863, and bequeathed with many other items to the museum by Christy. The dimensions of the stone are: length 230 millimetres, width 145 mm, depth 52 mm. The Swimming Reindeer and Mammoth spear thrower were found at the same site.

The other side of the slab of limestone has a natural depression in which fat was burnt, no doubt for lighting in the rock shelter. The engraving seems to have been made after the stone lamp broke, as the figure is neatly centred on the fragment.

Photo: Johnbod
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Tracing: Don Hitchcock 2013
Text: Wikipedia




Montastruc decorated stone





The headless figure is shown from the side, bending to the right, with the large rounded buttocks and thigh carefully drawn. The thin torso features a small sharp triangle that may indicate the breasts, or perhaps arms held out. The two lines defining the front and rear of the profile are continuous and 'confidently drawn', though they converge at knee level. Extra lines below the waist may represent an apron or skirt. Similar characteristics can be found in engraved figures from Neuwied in Germany.

Tracing: Don Hitchcock 2013
Text: Wikipedia




 Lalinde figures map


Map of Europe showing the areas where Gönnersdorf/Lalinde figures have been found.

dot
Engravings on slabs and other materials


dot
Engravings and paintings in caves


dot
Statues


1 Gönnersdorf, 2 Hohlenstein, 3 Lalinde, 4 Gare de Couze, 5 Fontalès, 6 Courbet, 7 Murat, 8 Rond-du-Barry, 9 Combarelles, 10 Niaux, 11 Nebra, 12 Oelknitz, 13 Garsitz, 14 Petersfels, 15 Pekarna, 16 Mezin, 17 Arlesheim, 18 Mezhirich, 19 Dobranicevka.

Photo and text: Bosinski et al. (1974)




Lalinde engraving



Feminine silhouettes engraved on a limestone plaque in the Grotte de la Roche de Lalinde.

Photo: http://www.istmira.com/foto-i-video-pervobytnoe-obschestvo/3923-iskusstvo-predystorii-pervobytnost-1.html


gonnersdorf andernach map

The late glacial open-air sites of Gönnersdorf and Andernach-Martinsberg in the German Central Rhineland are well known for their Magdalenian occupation and activities. The latter site also produced evidence for a younger, Final Palaeolithic occupation of the locality by people of the Federmessergruppen.

Both sites are particularly well preserved, largely due to their burial beneath volcanic deposits of the late glacial Laacher See eruption.

The Andernach-Martinsberg site and excavations were rediscovered in the early 1980s.

Photo and text: Stevens et al. (2009)




gonnersdorf  dates





Probability distribution of calibrated radiocarbon dates from Gönnersdorf plotted against the oxygen isotope record from the GISP2 Greenland ice core.

Methodologically acceptable dates only.

* denotes AMS dates conducted for this study.

Photo and text: Stevens et al. (2009)




Andernach venus





Ivory Lalinde - Gönnersdorf figure from Andernach, Germany.

Length 200 mm, breadth 94 mm.

Photo and text: Müller-Beck et al. (1987)
Source: Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, Koblenz




The following are from a display in LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn.

Gönnersdorf venus Gönnersdorf venus

17 Female figure in ivory, Andernach, Kreis Mayen-Koblenz, copy.

This venus is from the Magdalenian, 15 000 BP, and shows a female figure in a very stylised form.

(this appears to be the obverse view of the ivory piece in the photograph above on this page - Don )

Source: Display at LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn
Lender of the piece: Directorate General for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate, Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz.




Gönnersdorf venus


Gönnersdorf venus

10 Female figure in bone, Gönnersdorf, Stadt Neuwied, copy.
11 Female figure in antler, Gönnersdorf, Stadt Neuwied, copy.
12 Female figure in ivory, Gönnersdorf, Stadt Neuwied, copy.
13 Female figure, incomplete, in bone/antler, Gönnersdorf, Stadt Neuwied.
14 Female figure, incomplete, in bone/antler, Andernach, Kreis Mayen-Koblenz.

From the Magdalenian, 15 000 BP, female figures in a very stylised form.

Source: Display at LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn
Lender of the piece: Directorate General for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate, Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz.




Gönnersdorf venus Gönnersdorf venus
10 Female figure in bone, Gönnersdorf, Stadt Neuwied, copy.
11 Female figure in antler, Gönnersdorf, Stadt Neuwied, copy.
12 Female figure in ivory, Gönnersdorf, Stadt Neuwied, copy.

From the Magdalenian, 15 000 BP, female figures in a very stylised form.

Source: Display at LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn
Lender of the piece: Directorate General for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate, Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz.




Gonnersdorf venus 1 venus

From Gönnersdorf.

Ivory statuette.

On the rod-shaped upper body are two breasts.

Height 71 mm, breadth 160mm.

Photo and text: Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




Gönnersdorf venus

12 Female figure in ivory, Gönnersdorf, Stadt Neuwied, copy.
13 Female figure, incomplete, in bone/antler, Gönnersdorf, Stadt Neuwied.

From the Magdalenian, 15 000 BP, female figures in a very stylised form.

Source: Display at LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn
Lender of the piece: Directorate General for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate, Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz.




Gonnersdorf venus 1 venus





From Gönnersdorf.

Statuette produced from the tip of an antler. The antler is almost untouched in the upper part.

Height 87 mm, width 15 mm.

Photo and text: Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




Gönnersdorf venus
13 Female figure, incomplete, in bone/antler, Gönnersdorf, Stadt Neuwied.
14 Female figure, incomplete, in bone/antler, Andernach, Kreis Mayen-Koblenz.

From the Magdalenian, 15 000 BP, female figures in a very stylised form.

Source: Display at LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn
Lender of the piece: Directorate General for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate, Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz.




Andernach venus Andernach venus


Ivory Lalinde - Gönnersdorf figures from Andernach, Germany.

Left: length 44 mm, breadth 10 mm.

Right: length 47 mm, breadth 24 mm.

Photo and text: Müller-Beck et al. (1987)
Source: Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, Koblenz




Gönnersdorf venus

14 Female figure, incomplete, in bone/antler, Andernach, Kreis Mayen-Koblenz.
15 and 16 Female figures, in slate, Gönnersdorf, Stadt Neuwied, copies.

From the Magdalenian, 15 000 BP, female figures in a very stylised form.

Source: Display at LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn
Lender of the piece: Directorate General for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate, Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz.




Gönnersdorf sandstone smoother Gönnersdorf sandstone smoother

This is an interesting piece, with a series of Gönnersdorf figures engraved into a semi-cylindrical/conical piece. The figures can only be made out in the drawing below the object.

From 13 000 BP.

This is a sandstone shaft smoother, and they were used in pairs, where the shaft of the spear was between the two pieces of sandstone. The women are dancing, in the Gönnersdorf and Andernach tradition.

In the artistic manifestations of the late Palaeolithic, in contrast to the previous art of the Magdalenian, the art is often displayed on moose antler. This is no accident, but rather represents the typical prey of the moose hunters in the dense forest of this time.

Source: Display at LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn
Lender of the piece: Directorate General for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate, Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz.




Gönnersdorf venus

From the same levels as the Gönnersdorf figures:

18 Pierced horse tooth.
19 Piece of ochre, the mineral haematite, with a groove from the extraction of colouring material. Andernach, Mayen-Koblenz

Source: Display at LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn






Gonnersdorf venus 1 venus

From Gönnersdorf.

Engraved Gönnersdorf figures

This piece shows an alignment of four female figures in a row. Behind the second figure from the right is a small figure sitting in a kind of holder.

The posture of the second female figure from the right also has the stance associated with carrying a load. This presentation is without parallel, apparently a mother and child.

Engraving on slate. Height of the figure on the right 28 mm.

Photo: Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




Gonnersdorf venuswith baby



Engraved Gönnersdorf figures

Another version of the image above including a woman carrying a baby. Note that the baby is facing backwards in the cradle on the woman's back.

Photo: http://www.landschaftsmuseum.de/Seiten/Lexikon/Kunst-Goenn.htm




Gonnersdorf venus 1 venus

From Gönnersdorf.

Representation of a hairy man. Engraving on shale. Plate fragment. Length 94 mm, breadth 47 mm.

Photo and text: Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




Gonnersdorf venus 1 venus

From Gönnersdorf.

Ivory statuette with rod-shaped upper body.

Height 54 mm, width 14 mm.

Photo and text: Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




garsitz venus

Gönnersberg / Lalinde type venus from Garsitz, former German Democratic Republic.

From the deposit known as the Caave 'Bärenkeller', or bear cellar.

Height: 75 mm

Photo: Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




Lalinde style engravings
1 - Arancou - fragment of a polisher, Magdalenian.

3 - Chateau des Eyzies - fragment of a rib, Magdalenian.

Both of these objects have carvings which bear some resemblance to Lalinde/Gönnersdorf figurines.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Originals, display at Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies




Lalinde style figures Lalinde style figures Lalinde style figures


Lalinde style figures



Chipped stone female figurines (style Lalinde/Gönnersdorf) from Wilczyce, Poland Photo: Romuald Schild, photo credit Dagmara Manka

Source: http://archaeology.about.com/od/artandartifacts/ig/Wilczyce-Figurines/Chipped-Stone-Female-Figurine-.htm




Lalinde style figures



Carved Bone Female Figurine (style Lalinde/Gönnersdorf) from Wilczyce, Poland Photo: Romuald Schild, photo credit Dagmara Manka

Source: http://archaeology.about.com/od/artandartifacts/ig/Wilczyce-Figurines/Chipped-Stone-Female-Figurine-.htm




Lalinde style figures from Oelknitz

Female figurines from the excavations at Oelknitz, Thüringen.

Source: Museum für Ur- und Frühgeschichte Thüringens in Weimar

Photo: PaulTTS, Feb. 2010

Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike version 3.0




Lalinde style figures from Oelknitz

Female figurine from Oelknitz, 36 mm high.

Photo: Original, Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




Oelknitz venus figure fragment


The Oelknitz venus above as a replica for sale.



Photo: Facsimile, http://www.topgeo.com/venusfragment_nebra_replica__7076.html




Oelknitz venus figure


Oelknitz Venus.

Photo: Original, Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




Oelknitz venus figure


Oelknitz Venus in ivory.

Photo: Rau et al. (2009)




Oelknitz venus figure


Replica for sale, possibly the same as the one above, Oelknitz venus, 45 mm high.

Photo: http://www.topgeo.com/venus_of_nebra_2_replica__7077.html




Oelknitz venus figure


Oelknitz Venus.

Photo: Original, Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




Nebra venus figure


Engraving of a vulva, from Oelknitz.

Photo: Original, Müller-Beck et al. (1987)




References

  1. Hansen, M., 2006: Beyond seals - The Representation of Seals on Engraved Slate Plaquettes from the Magdalenian Site Gönnersdorf (Central Rhineland, Germany), Thesis in Archaeology, Candidate thesis for the title Cand. Philol. University of Tromsø, Autumn 2006
  2. Müller-Beck, H. and Albrecht, G. (Ed.), 1987: Die Anfänge der Kunst vor 30000 Jahren Theiss: Stuttgart.
  3. Rau, S., Naumann D., Barth M., Mühleis Y., Bleckmann C., 2009: Eiszeit: Kunst und Kultur, Thorbecke, 2009, 396p. ISBN: 978-3-7995-0833-9
  4. Sieveking, A., 1979: The Cave Artists, Thames and Hudson
  5. Stevens, R., O'Connell T., Hedges R., Street M., 2009: Radiocarbon and stable isotope investigations at the Central Rhineland sites of Gönnersdorf and Andernach-Martinsberg, Germany, Journal of Human Evolution 57 (2009) 131–148





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