Venus of Hohle Fels


  • Age: Around 35,000 to 40,000 BCE
  • Material: Mammoth Ivory
  • Found: Hohle Fels near Schelklingen (southern Germany) in 2008
  • Present Location: University of Tübingen
  • Length: 59.7mm
  • Width: 34.6mm

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The Venus of Hohle Fels (also known as the Venus of Schelklingen) was found between 5th and 15th September 2008 during excavations at a cave called Hohle Fels in the Ach Valley (Swabian German for "hollow rock") in the Swabian Jura region near the town of Schelklingen, 15 km west of Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, in southwestern Germany, by a team from the University of Tübingen led by archaeology professor Nicholas Conard. The figurine was found in six fragments in the cave hall, about 20m from the entrance and about 3m below the current ground level.

She has a short and squat form with a waist that is narrower than the broad shoulders and wide hips. There is no head on the Venus, but instead an off-centered ring is carved ring or eye above the broad shoulders of the figurine. Polishing of this ring indicates that the figurine may have been worn as a pendant. Beneath the shoulders, which are roughly as thick as they are wide, oversize breasts project forward and the figurine has two short arms with two carefully carved hands with visible fingers (one hand has five fingers, the other four) resting on the upper part of the stomach below the breasts; part of the left arm and shoulder are missing.

Covering the Venus abdomen from the area below her breasts to the pubic triangle, are deeply incised horizontal lines and some of these extend to the back of the figurine, suggesting clothing or a wrap of some sort. These incisions were created by repeatedly cutting along the same lines with sharp stone tools, possibly flint. The split between the two halves of the buttocks is deep and continues without interruption to the front of the figurine where the vulva is visible between the open legs. The legs are short, pointed and asymmetrical, with the left shorter, which is typical of later Venus figurines.

Dating to the early Aurignacian, the Venus of Hohle Fels was found with worked and burnt bone, ivory and remains of horses, reindeer, cave bears, mammoths, ibexes and flint-knapping debris. Also found in the same cave was the the oldest known musical instrument, a bone flute made from the wing/radius bone of a griffon vulture.

Note: This item was "home-made" from FIMO. A copy can be purchased from me - see Services and Sales


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