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  • The Magdalenian in the Rhineland and Thuringia
  • Symbolic creations

Although the Magdalenians in central Europe often sought refuge in caves, wall art is lacking. However, art on objects and adornments is well known in these regions.

Women in art

Women were the main subject of statuettes and engravings on stone. In Gönnersdorf and Andernach, more than 400 were incised on schist, and on each site approximately 20 were sculpted from mammoth ivory, reindeer antler, bone or pieces of schist. These statuettes have also been seen at Oelknitz and Garsitz in Thuringia. To represent the female figure, Magdalenian artists used a vertical line with a triangle representing the buttocks, and sometimes also marked the outline of breasts. Several women have been depicted in this way on a small tablet at Gönnersdorf: in profile and in a line, they have been interpreted as dancers.

Representations of animals

Unlike the abstract style used to depict women, carvings of animals on schist, pebbles and hard animal matter were very realistic, as was always the case in Magdalenian art. The beasts depicted were species whose remains have been found on Magdalenian sites in the two regions, such as horses, ibexes and saiga antelopes, but also animals like mammoths, rhinoceros, seals and tortoises, reflecting the places visited by the Magdalenian hunter-gatherers during their far-off expeditions.

Well-travelled shells

Adornments tell us about the contact and exchanges that must have taken place with more distant allies from other Magdalenian regions. Fossil molluscs (both with and without perforations) uncovered at Thuringia came from the Mainz Basin, Upper Bavaria or the Paris Basin. Those at Gönnersdorf and Andernach had even travelled from the Mediterranean.