Later Acheulian Marking Motifs I - Bilzingsleben, Germany

Discovered in 1969, the Early Paleolithic site of Bilzingsleben is noted for its rich archaeological horizon and engraved non-utilitarian artefacts associated with Homo erectus bones. The site is dated to OIS11 c. 400,000 BP. The Bilzingsleben markings are described in Mania, D. and Mania, U. (1988). Deliberate engravings on bone artefacts of Homo erectus. Rock Art Research 5,2:91-95, Comments 96-107 and plates 1-14. Mania and Mania note that Bilzingsleben markings "provide the first unequivocal evidence that Homo erectus produced incipient art--thousands of centuriesbefore the advent of Upper Palaeolithic art" (91).

For an overview of the site and implications for hominid behavior see also Mania, D. (1995). Umwelt und Mensch im Pleistozän Mitteleuropas am Beispiel von Bilzingsleben. In H. Ullrich (ed.) Man and environment in the Palaeolithic. Liège: Études et Recherches Archéologiques de l'Université de Liège. For microscopic examinations of the markings see Steguweit, L. (1999). Intentionelle Schnittmarken auf Tierknochen von Bilzingsleben: Neue lasermikroskopische Untersuchungen. Praehistoria Thuringica 3:64-79. Also Robert G. Bednarik. (1988). Comment on Mania, D. and Mania, U., Deliberate engravings on bone artefacts of Homo erectus. Rock Art Research 5,2:96-100. These artifacts and others are examined and discussed in Bednarik, R.G. (1995). Concept-mediated marking in the Lower Paleolithic. Current Anthropology 36,4:605-634. Harrod (2004) "Deciphering Later Acheulian Period Marking Motifs" summarizes evidence for Later Acheulian marking motifs from a variety of sites and provides a tentative decoding of their possible significations.

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