Neolithic Sites in Western Europe
Images and Ritual Meanings


The Venus a la Corne, Dordogne, France

This bas relief mother goddess figure was discovered in 1911 by J. G. Lalanne, who noticed it was carved into the wall of a limestone rock shelter in the Dordogne near Lascaux. The shelter sits under an overhang and looks out over the valley below. The site may have been a ceremonial center. The figure stands 17.5 inches high and can be viewed in the Musee d'Aquitane, Bordeaux, France. The body swells out towards the viewer from a convex block of limestone. The frieze set of which it was a part included other female figures and a male figure. Scholars date the figure to 27 000 - 22 000 b.c.e. This detached piece was originally carved on a block of 140 cubic feet wide. The bison's horn and the series of 13 lines on it have been linked with the moon or menstruation. Thus, the lines would represent the thirteen days of the waxing moon and the thirteen months of the lunar year. Photo courtesy of P. Bahn in "Prehistoric Art."

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