She may not be to everyone’s taste, but don’t knock her – this tiny mammoth tusk temptress is looking good for her 35,000 years. Discovered last year in the southwest German cave of Hohle Fels, the somewhat ironically-named Venus is believed to be the earliest form of figurative art – made by the first homo sapiens to settle in Europe. It predates other finds by up to 5,000 years, bringing Europe further in line with engravings found in Africa, which still predate the find. Dr Nicholas Conard of Tubingen University, Germany, told pre-eminent journal Nature that the discovery ‘radically changes our view of the origins of Paleolithic art.’
The 6cm (2.3″) vixen is said to be a fertility symbol – and was found in the cave alongside various tools used by early humans. And if today’s lad’s mags are anything to go by, the Venus of Hohle Fels wouldn’t look out of place alongside glamour girls like Jordan, with her big breasts and pert bottom. Maybe not Paleolithic porn, but certainly a prehistoric princess.
Image by Bartvandamme. All rights reserved.
Stonehenge‘s use may have been debated for millennia – but one expert now thinks the Neolithic site was the venue for some of prehistory’s wildest raves. Professor Rupert Till, an expert in acoustics and music technology at Huddersfield University, insists the megalithic structure would have worked perfectly to resonate sound – creating trance-like music which would have aided rituals and worship at the site.
To prove his theories, Dr Till used a computer model to simulate the acoustics of Stonehenge when it was in perfect shape (many of the huge stones have fallen down over time).
The expert also visited a full-sized replica of the monument built in Maryhill, Washington state, U.S., where he claims he and colleague Dr Bruno Fazenda got the whole structure to resonate, ‘almost like a wine glass will ring if you run a finger round it.’
Dr Till continues, “While that was happening a simple drum beat sounded incredibly dramatic. The space had real character; it felt that we had gone somewhere special. Other archaeologists’ research shows that Stonehenge has a specific acoustic design.
“The stones are all curved and reflect the sound perfectly,” Dr Till adds. “The lintels are also curved. They must have noticed that when they placed a stone in a particular place it would have sounded different.”
Dr Till, a part-time DJ, argues that his work will help us understand the rituals of dance and music which allowed prehistoric Britons to worship at the famous site. Or maybe he’s just hoping to play the gig of his life.
Images by Chris Wilde.