The Smile of the Lion Man. Recent Excavations in Stadel Cave (Baden-Württemberg, south-western Germany) and the Restoration of the Famous Upper Palaeolithic Figurine


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The Smile of the Lion Man. Recent Excavations in Stadel Cave (Baden-Württemberg, south-western Germany) and the Restoration of the Famous Upper Palaeolithic Figurine
Series Title:
Ebinger-Rist, Nicole
Wolf, Sibylle
Beutelspacher, Thomas
Wehrberger, Kurt
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Hohlenstein ( local )
Stadel Cave ( local )
Upper Palaeolithic ( local )
Aurignacian ( local )
Mammoth Ivory Figurines ( local )
Lion Man ( local )
Beginning Of Figurative Art ( local )
Swabian Jura ( local )
South-Western Germany Hohlenstein ( local )
Stadel-Höhle ( local )
Jungpaläolithikum ( local )
Aurignacien ( local )
Mammutelfenbeinfiguren ( local )
Löwenmensch ( local )
Anfänge Figurativer Kunst ( local )
Schwäbische Alb ( local )
Südwestdeutschland ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )


In four caves located in south-western Germany, figurines carved from mammoth ivory were discovered in find horizons dating to the Aurignacian. In one of the cave sites, the Stadel Cave in Hohlenstein, excavators in 1939 uncovered a therianthrope figurine, with the head and front legs of a cave lion but with the lower body and legs of a human being. It was thus named the Lion Man. During recent excavations in the Stadel Cave between 2008 and 2013, a stratigraphic sequence was discovered that extended from the Middle Palaeolithic to the Aurignacian. It became clear that the location of the Lion Man during the excavations of 1939 corresponded to layer Au of the recent 2008-2013 excavations. This lowest Aurignacian layer yielded a radiocarbon date of 39-41 ka calBP. The Lion Man therefore belongs to the oldest known figurative artworks in the world. During the recent excavations, part of the back dirt from the 1939 excavation was also uncovered. Here, surprisingly 575 fragments of mammoth ivory were found that were partially worked and thus probably belonged to the Lion Man figurine. In 2012 and 2013 the Lion Man was therefore newly restored. During this work, critical areas of the figurine were at times fully reconstru
Original Version:
Quartär, Vol. 61 (2014-01-01).

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