[Editor’s Note: This article was written by the CTL’s Laurie Hansen.]
Q. What is 2.4 inches tall, headless, and carved from a mammoth tusk?
A. A Paleolithic Venus figurine “excavated at Hohle Fels, a large cave in the Swabian Jura region about 14 miles southwest of the city of Ulm.”
Small? Yes! And a little old too! 35,000 years old, to be exact! A tiny figurine of a woman with exaggerated features was “excavated… from a cave in southwestern Germany.” The tiny carving is said to be the “oldest example of figurative art… If it is the earliest statuette depicting the human form, it would represent not only the first example of three-dimensional figurative art but also the birth of true sculpture in the European tradition.” Archaeologist John J. Shea of Stony Brook University in New York states, “it marks the appearance of behaviors they find familiar, modern human behavior.”