Bradshaw Foundation - Latest News



Dolní Věstonice

15 Nov 2016
Share on Facebook

What and where is Dolní Věstonice?

Jill Cook, Keeper of Britain, Europe and Prehistory at the British Museum and Curator of the 2013 exhibition Ice Age art: arrival of the modern mind, sheds light on this in light of the archaeology as well as the Central and Eastern European Palaeolithic sculptures. She describes the significance of Dolní Věstonice in her publication Ice Age art: arrival of the modern mind:

Dolní Věstonice

Map of Central European sites - in Moravia these are concentrated in the valley that acted as a route through the adjacent mountains for animals and humans moving between the North European Plain and the Danube Basin. Image: Jill Cook. The Woman from Dolní Věstonice - a baked clay female figure which is the oldest known ceramic. 

'After about 30,000 years ago, the undulating countryside within the natural corridor known as the Moravian Gate, connecting the North European Plain to the Danube Valley, became a significant area of human activity on a highway for migrating animals, notably mammoth herds. 

The excavation of huge open-air campsites began in the late nineteenth century around Brno, Moravia, in the Czech Republic, revealing settlements constructed by communities of people who depended on mammoths for food and raw materials. Such settlements contain structures used as dwellings, as well as hearths, pits, thick spreads of ash from burnt bones and the remains of numerous mammoths sometimes stacked in piles sorted by anatomical parts. 

Within these campsites stone and bone tools, decorated objects, ivory sculptures and the ceramic models are numerous. Several reports in the Illustrated London News between 1929 and 1937 headlined discoveries 'as wonderful as that of Tutankhamen', then heralded 'an amazing Palaeolithic Pompeii', 'the birth of sculpture' and the 'oldest human portrait'. 

Although older sculptures have since been discovered, the rest of these populist headlines could still be applied to convey the richness and significance of the Moravian sites that produced many of the significant works described in this book. Of world renown is the baked clay female figure, the oldest known ceramic, from Dolní Věstonice, an enormous site at the southern end of the Moravian Gate'.

Artist rendition of a dwelling made of mammoth bones. Image: Dolní Věstonice Museum

The Upper Palaeolithic archaeological site of Dolní Věstonice is located in Moravia in the Czech Republic on the base of Děvín Mountain. Dating of the site is roughly 26,000 BP. The open-air site, located along a stream, has a particularly abundant source of prehistoric artefacts, in particular art, dating from the Gravettian period, which spanned roughly 27,000 to 20,000 B.C. 

Article continues below

In her new book The First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World's Oldest Symbols, Genevieve von Petzinger vividly describes the scene of this Palaeolithic settlement, about one acre in size and encircled by a fence made of mammoth bones. Inside the fence, archaeologists have revealed a series of oval-shaped dwellings with hearths. From the dwellings, archaeologists estimate a population of one hundred people. The people of Dolní Věstonice were some of the first in Europe to begin burying their dead; burials with red ochre, stone tools, and personal adornments such as pierced marine shells, perforated teeth, and beads made from ivory. There is also a very unusual triple burial at Dolní Věstonice of three young adults - a female flanked by two males.

For these people, there is evidence of task specialization. People with individual skills were supported by others involved in subsistence activities. One such skill was ceramic production. A dedicated space with a kiln has been identified, where ceramics were produced - not for containers but for figurines. For the figurines, a durable result would have been sought, and analysis shows that the ceramic maker had discovered that by adding powdered bone to the clay, the figure would heat more evenly and not explode or crack in the process. This same combination created a self-glazing finish, as demonstrated by the Woman from Dolní Věstonice.

Ice Age Art - Arrival of the modern mind by Jill Cook:

The First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World's Oldest Symbols by Genevieve von Petzinger:


Bradshaw FoundationAboutiShopBook ReviewSite MapMailing ListDonateFacebookTwitterContact
If you have enjoyed visiting this section of the website please consider adding a link
Bradshaw Foundation © MMXI
Homepage About the Foundation Contact Us Facebook News Articles Twitter List of Research Papers Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Travel Index About the Expeditions Forthcoming Expeditions Bespoke Expeditions Enquire Practical Information History of Exploration Welcome to the iShop Film Downloads DVD's Sculpture Prints Clothing Messenger Bag eBooks INORA Downloads About iLecture Films Shipping & Handling iLectures In Conversation Video Stories Travel Films Read the reviews Privacy Policy Bradshaw Foundation Facebook Friends of the Foundation Archive Index World's Oldest Rock Art Africa Documentary Films South Africa RARI Giraffe Carvings Niger Namibia Western Central Africa Africa Paintings Gallery Tanzania The Tuareg People Tuareg Salt Caravans Gilf Kebir Birnin Kudu Rock Art Center Archive Index San Rock Art Paintings San Bushman San Rock Art Film Origins Centre Johannesburg Archive Index Arizona Baja California Baja California Film Coso Range Talking Stone Film Nevada Oregon Territory Moab, Utah Clovis First Australia Archive Index Introduction Bradshaw Paintings Kimberley Region The Unambal Hugh Brown Leif Thiele Gallery Dan Clark Grahame Walsh Bradshaws / Gwion Gwion Archive Index Introduction Origins of the British Avebury Stonehenge Sounds of Stonehenge The British Museum British Isles Megaliths Gower Peninsula Rock Art Mendip Hills Prehistory Northumberland Rock Art Red Lady of Paviland Stone Age Mammoth Abattoir Archive Index Introduction Peterborough Petroglyphs Western Canadian Rock Art Writing-On-Stone Wuikinuxv Territory Dinosaur Provincial Park Archive Index Huashan Rock Art Yinchuan Museum Rock Art Festival Field Trip Gallery Itinerant Creeds Inner Mongolia & Ningxia Vanishing Civilization Life in Rock Art (PDF) Tibet Tibet Photographs Dazu Rock Carvings Tiger Motif Archive Index Chauvet Cave Lascaux Cave Niaux Cave Cosquer Cave Rouffignac Cave Portable Art Defining Rock Art Tuc d'Audoubert Bison Dr. Jean Clottes Index UNESCO World Heritage Introduction Cave Paintings Gallery Visiting the Chauvet Cave Return to Chauvet Cave Investigating the Cave Venus & Sorcerer Werner Herzog Film Chauvet Publications India Archive Index Rock Art Central India Pachmarhi Hills India Rock Art Gallery Preservation & Education Dr. V. S. Wakankar Articles on India Rock Art Contemporary Art Middle East Archive Index Middle East Inroduction Rock Art of Iran Rock Art of Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Rock Art Ancient Geometry Middle East Colonisation Scandinavian Rock Art Archive Scandinavian Introduction Alta Rock Art Norway Rock Art in Finland Tanum Rock Art Sweden Thor Heyerdahl Archive Index Introduction America's Oldest Art? Pedra Furada Bolivian Rock Art Campeche Island - Brazil Checta Petroglyphs - Peru Cueva de las Manos Santa Catarina Island - Brazil Rock Art in Britain Campeche Rock Art Petroglyphs El Salvador - Corinto Cave Hand Rock Art Paintings Tibetan Rock Art United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Yinchuan Rock Art Museum Introduction Ice Age Art Gallery Claire Artemyz Jill Cook Interview Cycladic Introduction Cycladic Gallery Introduction Geometric Signs Chart Research Methodology Geometric Signs in France Sign Types/Countries/Regions Bibliography Ancient Symbols in Rock Art Newsletter Archive Download Issues Introduction Genetic Map Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Further Reading Origins of the British BBC Documentary Origins Index Origins Overview 13 Big Questions Stanley Ambrose Homo Floresiensis Herto Skulls Homo Dmanisi Liujiang Skull Introduction Sentinels in Stone Easter Island Rock Art Birdman Cult / Motif Sea & Marine Creatures Design & Motifs Dr Georgia Lee Easter Island Map Contemporary Art Glossary Conclusion Thor Heyerdahl Introduction When & Who Built It? How Was It Built? The Area Sounds of Stonehenge Meaning of a Pyramid Pyramid Studies Pyramid Superstructure Pyramid Substructure Pyramid Preparations Pyramid Building Saqqara Nabil Swelim Temples of Malta and Gozo Research in the Caucasus The Keselo Foundation Homo Dmanisi Ancient Toolmakers Index Introduction Descent into the Cave The Decorated Caves Shamanistic Experience Spring Initiation Rites Summary Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Professor John P. Miller Motif: Eternal Index Banksy Han Meilin Bruce Radke Christian Tuki Gordon Ellis-Brown Site Map Search the Website Glossary of Terms & Definition Podcast on iTunes Other Websites Contact the Foundation