Spain: Oldest Image of Ice Age campsite? Jan 29, 2016 20:06:37 GMT
Post by UKarchaeology on Jan 29, 2016 20:06:37 GMT
A 13,000 year old engraving discovered in a rockshelter in Spain could depict a hunter-gatherer campsite, making it the oldest known depiction of a human social group ever found.
The engraving on a schist slab excavated from the Magdalenian layer of the Moli del Salt site in Northeastern Spain is described in a study by Marcos García-Diez from University of the Basque Country, Spain, and Manuel Vaquero from Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution – IPHES, Spain. Their paper is published in the online journal PLOS ONE.
Paleolithic art largely focuses on animal iconography, and to a lesser extent, human. Revealing the importance of the animal world to early hunter-gatherer communities, the deeper meanings behind the images are a source of debate among anthropologists. Some interpret them as allegorical symbols, tied in with the formation of early religious beliefs. Others claim the images were rooted firmly in the real world, social motifs linked to everyday life.
Whatever the interpretation of the animal figures, it seems that early hunter-gatherers were not interested in depicting the natural landscape, let alone the human landscape (huts, campsites etc). Although artefacts have been found which are claimed to contain depictions of huts, the images are formally undefined and open to alternative interpretations.
Garcia-Diez and Vaquero argue that the series of dome like motifs on the schist slab can be seen as depictions of huts. “We suggest that this engraving may be regarded as a naturalistic depiction of a hunter-gatherer campsite.” They write in the study.
The slab is currently housed in the Institut de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES), in Tarragona, Spain. It was excavated in 2013 from a stratigraphic layer at the Moli de Salt site believed to contain artefacts from the Late Upper Paleolithic. A bone fragment excavated 82 cm from the slab was dated to 14,062–13,498 cal BP at 95.4% probability.
Full story: www.newhistorian.com/oldest-image-of-hunter-gatherer-campsite-discovered/5529/