Later Acheulian Marking Motifs I - Bilzingsleben, Germany / a)blzcm1234

Illustrations of four Bilzingsleben artifacts with marking motifs.
Figure 1: Engravings on bone objects from Bilzingsleben associated with skeletal reamins of Homo erectus.
Figure 2: Microscopic internal analysis of Bilzingsleben object 3. By Robert G. Bednarik.

Bednarik (1988:99) suggests that Bilzingsleben markings—as well as Stránská Skála markings, if valid—reflect geometric aspects and overall shape of the object. "Each of the four [Bilzingsleben] artifacts Mania and Mania describe exhibits a different marking scheme, but there is a conspicuous common theme which identifies them as examples of a common ‘tradition’ (using the word without implying more than established, uniform and nonutilitarian behavior pattern). I see them as unequivocal responses to physical aspects of the artefacts. Psychologically they are responses to the shape of surfaces, perhaps to their edges… The configuration of the convergent lines on Artefact 3 reflects the outline of the implement and clearly focuses on its upper end. The trapezial form of the longitudinal surface on [Bilzingsleben] Artefact 1 is mirrored in the perfectly balanced arrangement of the markings. The seven lines near the pointed end of the object are about parallel to the trapezium’s oblique side, and the lines near the centre of the decorated facet are roughly perpendicular to its longitudinal edges." Bednarik (1995): "There are still other consistencies in these early marking strategies. Most seem to be reactions to aspects of the form or shape of the surface decorated in their extent, orientation, and ‘focus’. For instance, the sets of seven convergent lines on the Stránská Skála vertebra…radiate from the object’s end; the bundles of lines on Bilzingsleben Artifacts 1 [#208] and 3 [#260.55] reflect the geometry of the support area …Another consistency in early marking is that all the arrangements are recognizable as phosphene motifs: the convergent-lines motif so widespread in rock arts the world over and the structurally related radial motif … are among the 15 phosphene motifs of modern humans; so are the sets of parallel lines, the dots (cupules)…"

Illustrations © Bednarik, R.G. (1995). Concept-mediated marking in the Lower Paleolithic. Current Anthropology 36,4:605-634. Figures 1 and 2. See also Bednarik, R.G. (1988). Comment on D. Mania and U. Mania: Deliberate engravings on bone artefacts of Homo erectus. Rock Art Research 5,2: 96-100.

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