The carving was made by a member of the Cro-Magnons, hunter-gatherer descendants of the first modern humans to occupy Europe around 45,000 years ago, and who lived there through the last ice age, which began 40,000 years ago and endured until 10,000 years before present. Reindeer, with their rich meat and thick pelts, would have been vital to tribes’ survival and the Montastruc sculpture, with its delicate rib cages, antlers and coats, show how carefully the Cro-Magnons must have observed them. As Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, says: “This work was created by someone who had spent a long time watching reindeer.”
Objects such as these demonstrate more than craftsmanship, however. They show that Homo sapiens, uniquely among species, was demonstrating a sense of imagination. These craftsmen were not merely attempting to mimic nature. They were embellishing it.
Take the Lion Man of Hohlenstein Stadel, which is being loaned by the Ulm Museum in southern Germany. At least, 40,000 years old, this 1ft high figure, also carved from a mammoth tusk, depicts a figure with a human body and a lion’s head. It is remarkable for several reasons.
One of the most intriguing myths of ancient Greece is the myth of the Minotaur on the island of Crete.
neanderthal, ancient man to outer space or visa versa.? A artist / shaman / activist contemplates.