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The Bone of Torre's cave

Paleolithic Jewel

2019·07·26


In 1966, one of the most beautiful specimens of Magdalenian art (18.000-11.000 BP) was found in a cave next to the tower farmhouse in Oiartzun. It is a ulma bone of a gannet wing (Sula bassana) that depicts images carved in great detail: deer, horse, sarrio, two mountain goats, urus and anthropoid. The latter is voluntarily poorly defined, as it contrasts with the realism and great precision of the animals.
 
The contrast is more striking if the bone sizes are taken into account: 180 mm long and 9 mm wide. The very elegant and delicate engraving reveals great skill. Therefore, as in the case of anthropomorph, the lines of difficult interpretation are not the result of clumsiness. Why did they do it, what function did this engraved bone play? We don't even know if they understood the art as we understand it today.

Iturria: BARANDIARAN, I. (1971): Hueso con grabados paleolíticos, en Torre (Oyarzun, Guipúzcoa). Munibe 23 (1), 37-69.