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archaeology

Archaeologists reappraise ancient Lion Man (or Woman)

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Lion man, by GauraThe Lion Man of the Hohlenstein Stadel is a 32,000-year-old sculpture which depicts a humanoid figure with the head of a lion. Fragments of it were first discovered in 1939 by archaeologist Otto Völzing, in a cave named Stadel-Höhle im Hohlenstein (Stadel cave in Hohlenstein Mountain), in the Lonetal (Lone valley) in the Swabian Alps, Germany.

The figure, pieced together over many years as fragments were found, stands around 30cm tall, and was carved from mammoth ivory using a flint knife. It may represent a mythical creature, or possibly a shaman hiding under an animal hide.

Debate has raged over whether the figure is male or female, and the discovery of approximately 1,000 new fragments may help resolve the issue. The sculpture will be disassembled and rebuilt to include the new fragments.

Was the fox prehistoric man's best friend?

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A recently published paper, covered in an article on PhysOrg, discusses the discovery of foxes buried along with humans in ancient graves, and moots the possibility that foxes – not dogs – may have been the animal first domesticated as pets by humankind.