Near Eastern - North African Acheulian Figurine Symbolizing Traditon / d)erfoudmpt, manuport, Site A-84-2, Erfoud, Morocco, Late Acheulian.

This find is described by Robert Bednarik [Bednarik, R. G. (2001). An Acheulian figurine from Morocco. Rock Art Research 19,2:137-139]. It was collected in 1984 by Lutz Fiedler, Marburg University, Germany, from among a dense cluster of Late Acheulian stone tools, measuring about 6 meters across. The site is near the towns of Erfoud and Rissani, eastern Morocco. The site includes apparent remains of a dwelling, a pile of stones forming an enclosed space a few square metres, adjacent to a rock outcrop. Such hut remains have been found at various Acheulian sites in Algeria and Libya. The object was found among these remains. The tools and the object are equally darkly patinated. The object "consists of silicified fragment of a cuttlefish fossil cast dating from the Devonian or Carboniferous period (Orthocerus sp.). Such fossils are very common in other parts of Morocco, but do not occur naturally in the region of the find site. The specimen appears to have been carried for a considerable distance before it was deposited within the outline of an apparent hut, together with now similarly patinated Late Acheulian tools. . . . Microscopic examination of the surface has not yielded a single indication that it has been modified by humans in any way, but it needs to be appreciated that the surface was weathered considerably before it became patinated" (138).

"An explanation is required for why it became a manuport, having been brought from some distance, and considering its apparently unworked, non-artefact status. This is readily found in its shape, being that a a perfectly naturalisti and life-size, non-erect human penis. The only realistic explanation for the curation of this object isthat this clear similarity was perceived by a hominid. Bearing in mind that this would have occurred only in the order of 200 or 300 millennia ago, acceptance of this interpretation of the find should not present any difficulty. After all, the Makapansgat manuport is aroundten times as old . . . The Erfoud manuport is therefore not an unexpected find, but it challenges the hypothesis that pre-Upper Palaeolithic hominids lacked both symbolism and the ability to perceive iconicity." (138-139).

Photo © Robert G. Bednarik. Bednarik, R. G. (2001). An Acheulian figurine from Morocco. Rock Art Research 19,2:fig. 2.

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