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Venus of Hohle Fels

The Venus of Hohle Fels (also known as the Venus of Schelklingen) is an Upper Paleolithic Venus figurine found in 2008 near Schelklingen, Germany. It is dated to between 35,000 and 40,000 years ago, belonging to the early Aurignacian, at the very beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, which is associated with the assumed earliest presence of Homo sapiens in Europe (Cro-Magnon). It is the oldest undisputed example of Upper Paleolithic art and figurative prehistoric art in general. In 2011, the figure is still being researched in the University of Tübingen, though there are plans to house it and other discoveries from the region in a planned new museum in Swabia.

The Swabian Alb region has a number of caves that have yielded mammoth ivory artifacts of the Upper Paleolithic period, totaling about twenty-five items to date. These include the lion-headed figure of Hohlenstein-Stadel and an ivory flute found at Geißenklösterle, dated to 36,000 years ago.
combined with about twenty-five items (lion-headed figure, ivory flute,…) this concentration of evidence in the period of 40 to 30 thousand years ago, including figurative art and instrumental music, is unique worldwide it is speculated that the bearers of the Aurignacian culture in the Swabian Alb may be credited with the invention, not just of figurative art and music, but possibly, early religion as well.

The figurine was sculpted from a woolly mammoth tusk and had broken into fragments, of which six have been recovered, with the left arm and shoulder still missing. In place of the head, the figurine — which probably took “tens if not hundreds of hours” to carve  — has a perforated protrusion, which may have allowed its owner to wear it as an amulet.

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