Venus figurines and early cave art

Jan 2016
This is a fascinating period in mankind's history where we start to get a little bit more creative. Previously I had mentioned about the Lion Man, well we now move forward to the start of the Venus figurines, in particular the early Venus of Hohle Fels approx 38,000 years ago during the Aurignacian period. This would later spawn the Venus figurines of the later Gravettian period (more on them later). Were they used for fertility, to worship a mother goddess or for pornography purposes? We will never know.

Also in this period, we start the art of painting. Somebody decided that it would be a good idea to go into a dark cave with barely enough room to swing a cat and probably just a flaming torch to paint scenes of animals in particular. Chauvet cave in SW France has the finest early example of this type of art, although of course cave paintings had been around since at least 40,000 years ago. Again why these were produced remain a mystery? But we are definitely moving away from what the Neanderthals were doing and things are going to end for them soon.

So I have produced the next part of my Timeline series entitled 40,000 to 30,000 BC. Forget the BC bit at the moment as dates are really approximate. Enjoy :)

Black Dog

Ad Honorem
Mar 2008
Damned England
I remember reading an article about a hole with a lot of Neanderthal skeletons in it. I couldn't swear to it, but I think it was in eastern Europe. There's no way of knowing if there was any religious significance to these apparent burials, or merely a way of clearing corpses away to prevent predators from encroaching upon the camp.

Finds at Bruniquel Cave, France, shows that Neanderthals may also have gone deeper into cave systems, possibly for ritual purposes:

And the famous "Neanderthal burial" is now believed to be just that:

Neanderthal Burials Confirmed as Ancient Ritual

I find that era of human (and proto human) history to be fascinating. It's frustrating that there's so much we just cannot know, but Cro Magnon paintings are somehow haunting.
Jan 2016
The latest theory is that Neanderthals died out a lot earlier than previously thought. In August 2014 radio carbon dating at 40 sites in western Europe showed that Neanderthals died out approx 40,000 years ago rather than 28,000 as previously suggested. This means that modern humans only had 5,000 years of interaction with Neanderthals in Europe. There are also 6 different theories as to what caused Neanderthals to die out from climate change to conflict.