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Europe 120,000 - 40,000 BC For more than 500,000 years the European climate has oscillated between cold and frigid, with periodic advances and retreats.

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Presentation on theme: "Europe 120,000 - 40,000 BC For more than 500,000 years the European climate has oscillated between cold and frigid, with periodic advances and retreats."— Presentation transcript:


2 Europe 120,000 - 40,000 BC For more than 500,000 years the European climate has oscillated between cold and frigid, with periodic advances and retreats of the great northern glaciers. And during the last 100,000 years Europe has been the exclusive province of Neandertals, our evolutionary cousins. In recent years, however, both the climate and the population have begun to change…

3 Bulgaria, Italy, Spain 40,000 BC Homo sapiens immigrants from lands to the east and south have been reported recently at a variety of European settlements around the Mediterranean - Temnata Cave in Bulgaria, Grotto di Fumane in northern Italy and El Castillo in northern Spain. At the same time numerous camps have sprung up along a northern corridor following the River Danube as far west as the Swabian Jura in southern Germany. These early European pioneers come principally from mtDNA haplogroup U5 and yDNA haplogroup R1b and bring with them the Aurignacian Culture. Hungary, Austria, Germany

4 Europe 37,000 BC Europe continues to enjoy warmer than normal temperatures, which may partially explain the influx of Aurignacian people arriving from the south. Our long range prognosticators, however, see cold times ahead.

5 Aurignacian colonization of the upper reaches of the River Danube continues this season with settlement of the Geißenklösterle cave. Hunters there are enjoying surprisingly temperate weather while hunting bison, mammoth, bear and smaller animals. Geißenklösterle artists are particularly accomplished and have produced a variety of animal and human figurines made of mammoth ivory, as well as a flute fashioned from a swan bone. Upper Danube, Southern Germany 37,000 BC

6 A group of Aurignacian beachcombers moving west along the coast of the Mediterranean has displaced the Neanderthal population that had been living in the Arbreda Rockshelter for a period of almost two thousand years. Spain 36,000 BC

7 Several of our spotters located west of the Alps have observed Aurignacian bands moving up the Rhone River in France to establish camp sites in many caves there. Hunting of horse, bison and mammoth has been good in this region and the local people share their knowledge of the fauna by creating vibrant paintings in places such as the subterranean cavern of la Grotte Chauvet. Southern France 33,000 BC

8 Chauvet Cave 33,000 BC

9 The latest Aurignacian camp to be established in the Upper Danube region is the cave of Hohlenstein-Stadel and its occupants are just as talented in the carving of mammoth ivory as their neighbors from Vogelherd and Geißenkösterle. Upper Danube, Southern Germany 32,000 BC

10 The most famous piece of art from Hohlenstein-Stadel is the “Löwenmensch”, a 30 cm tall anthropomorphic lion figurine carved from mammoth ivory.

11 The cave of Vogelherd is located just a short distance from Hohlenstein- Stadel on the Lone River, a tributary of the Danube. Here the craftsmen appear also to share a fascination with the cave lion and in their art to frequently celebrate this powerful carnivore, as well as more utilitarian beasts of prey, such as the mammoth and the horse. Upper Danube, Southern Germany 32,000 BC

12 Europe’s weather pattern maintains its chilly character. The prediction is that wild oscillations between cold and slightly more temperate will continue for the next 10,000 years. Despite these trying conditions a new and rather unified culture, the Gravettian, has appeared from France to the Ukraine. Europe 30,000 BC

13 27,000 BC Gravettian hunters operating in the Hohle Fels region of the Upper Danube Valley of southern Germany report that the hunting of cave bears, Urus spelaeus, has been very successful this winter and early spring. The favorite technique is to spear the beast in the back while still deep in the slumber of its December to March hibernation - not very sporting but certainly preferable to a one-on-one duel with these gigantic bruins. Upper Danube, Southern Germany 27,000 BC

14 In contrast to conditions north of the Alps life for our Gravettian colleagues to the south on the edge of the Mediterranean Basin near the cave of Cosquer is much more comfortable. Beachcombing, fishing and hunting seals and auks is common there. Southern France 27,000 BC

15 Travelers have recently observed large numbers of dead mammoths on the periglacial steppe of Moravia. The animals are apparently victims of the spring floods. In that treeless land our Eastern Gravettian colleagues, especially those from Dolni Vestonice, make ready use of the mammoths’ bones as material for their dwellings and as fuel for their fire hearths. Czech Republic

16 27,000 BC The female figurine from Dolni Vestonice seen in the previous bulletin is just one of dozens appearing in Gravettian camps all across Europe. At Willendorf on the lower Danube a particularly impressive piece was crafted just this year. Lower Danube, Austria


18 27,000 BC The Eastern Gravettian residents of Sunghir on the Russian steppe are innovating new techniques for contending with the intense cold at the edge of the glaciers where their favorite hunting prey abound. The recent invention of bone needles now allows much warmer and finely stitched leather clothing to be made than ever before. Sunghir, Russia 26,000 BC

19 And Sunghir families do not limit themselves to simple utilitarian garments. During the long winters they decorate the clothing of both the living and the dead with elaborate bead work crafted from bone and ivory.



22 Europe 25,000 BC Most of Central Europe is now covered with patchy woodlands.

23 27,000 BC Although not as common as on the plains of eastern Europe, mammoths have been seen regularly this year in the upper Danube region. At the site of Hohle Fels mammoth bone has been used to craft figurines of a horse, a bird and a lion man. Upper Danube, Southern Germany 25,000 BC

24 27,000 BC Eastern Gravettian residents of Kostienki on the River Don in the Ukraine report that, after several hundred years of warmer and more humid conditions, the weather is swinging back toward dry and glacial. Despite this hardship rabbits, arctic fox, and mammoth are plentiful and the hunters have adapted to the windswept steppes by constructing houses made of hide and mammoth bone and creating food freezers dug into the permafrost. With these techniques Kostienkis are able to live semi-permanently there and avoid moving constantly in search of food. Ukraine 22,000 BC

25 La Riera, Northern Spain 20,000 BC Reports from La Riera on the north coast of Spain describe the hunters there occupying a largely treeless and increasingly frigid landscape. There they hunt ibex and red deer with stone-tipped spears and slaughter herds after trapping them in thick snow or behind brushwood fences posi- tioned to block off narrow valleys.

26 Europe 19,000 BC The trend that we began to experience during the last millennium now seems set to continue indefinitely into the future. Central Europe has become a polar desert and is completely uninhabitable. The Upper Danube has been abandoned and its former residents have moved south into the Pyrenees.

27 Europe 18,000 BC Winters continue to be harsh, with temper- atures falling to minus 20° C. In western Europe most people have settled in the valleys of southern France and in Spain to live by hunting reindeer, horse and bison. People are often desperate for food and have to crack open even the smallest bones of reindeer for sustenance.

28 Europe 18,000 BC Constant winds and drifting sands are reported all across the polar deserts of northern and central Germany, where mid-summer temperatures reach only 10° C and February temperatures plummet to minus 20° C. Permafrost extends all the way to central France.

29 Europe 18,000 BC The populations of western Europe and eastern Europe have become completely isolated from each other, and three southern refugia against the glacial cold have developed: one in Iberia, one in the Balkans, and one in the Ukraine. In Iberia a distinctive Solutrean cultural tradition has appeared marked by magni- ficent leaf-shaped points, while in the east the Epi-Gravettian culture has been enriched by an influx of men from the south bearing the M170 Y-chromosome marker.

30 Ireland 18,000 BC Glaciers have advanced to cover Ireland almost entirely. Thick sheets of ice stretch from Scotland to the southwest and the sea level has dropped 400 feet. Habitation is possible only in the far south in Counties Cork, Limmerick and Waterford.

31 Southern Britain 18,000 BC Our station in Kent is reporting severe winter temperatures of -16° C. Hunting may resume in summer when temperatures are predicted to rise to 10° C.


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