5b Groß Pampau, GR, c. 500,000 BP, Musk Ox Gallery / f) muskoxcomp

Figuration. Musk ox, tentative identification Ursel Benekendorff. I have set one of Benekendorff's images of this artifact against a photo of a musk ox. The quality of representation is remarkably good. See, for example, I note these detailed points of similarity between the sculpture and the musk ox photo.

  • The overall outline shape, especially dorsal line
  • Overall 'weightiness' of feel of the sculpture matches the weighty quality of the actual musk ox
  • The sculptor kept some white cortex in saddle between shoulders and rump exactly matching the white patch of fur on living musk ox (see photos)
  • Cortex kept on sides, perhaps to indicate rough coat of fur, which molts and yields fur for making clothing
  • The low ventral (belly) that typifies the musk ox vis a vis other herbivores
  • Slight indentation on muzzle between eyes and nose, virtually identical outline between sculpture and musk ox
  • Apparent chip removed to indicate nostril(?)
  • Small and strikingly noticeable feet on living musk ox matches small pointed feet of sculpture
  • 'White socks' on living musk ox matches white cortex kept on feet of sculpture
  • Small horn curving forward on both sculpture and musk ox

Benekendorff suggests that the flaking away of cortex at base of musk ox rump is intended to represent musk ox giving birth.

Dating. Collected from the Ohle gravel pit, Mindle glacial moraine. Associated tools have a predominantly Middle Acheulian and early Later Acheulian quality, as one might expect, suggesting that they are Cromerian, OIS 13 = c. 500,000 BP, or older. One may assume some artifacts from this collection might be reworked during the subsequent Holstein warm times, c. 400,000 BP. One cannot rule out sparse mixing or contamination from Riss III glacial moraine, c. 200,000 BP.

Collection. artifact, Ursel Benekendorff.

Credits. Artifact photo © Ursel Benekendorff; photo of musk ox © Peggy Braun, taken at Musk Ox Farm, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

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f) muskoxcomp