The Venus of Galgenburg ("Fanny")


  • Age: Around 32,000 BCE
  • Material: Green Serpentine
  • Found: Stratzing (Lower Austria) in 1988
  • Present Location: Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna (Austria)
  • Length: 7.2cm
  • Width: 2.7cm
  • Depth: 0.7cm

move cursor over image to magnify replica

The Venus of Galgenburg is is thought ot be posing as though in a ritual or dance position. She was discovered on 23rd September 1988 broken in eight pieces during rescue excavations of a camp site of palaeolithic hunters, by the Federal Monuments Office under the direction of Dr. Christine Neugebauer-Mares on Galgenberg (Gallows Hill), near the town of Stratzing, in the Krems-Land district in the northern part of Lower Austria. Bones of horses, woolly rhinos and mammoths were found nearby, as well as reindeer antlers and charcoal samples made an determination of the age of the finds using radiocarbon dating to approximately 32,000 years for the level where the Venus was found.

(Images in public domain)

The venus was christened "Fanny" after one of Austria’s prima ballerinas, Fanny Elssler (1810-1884).

Left: as Sarah Campbell in the ballet La Gypsy, first staged at Paris in 1839 and performed in the same year at Her Majesty's Theatre in London

Right: as Florinda in the Spanish dance La Cachucha from the 1836 Coralli/Gide ballet Le Diable boiteux.

Made from a pebble of blackish green Serpentine, the venus is worked in relief on the front and is flat on the back. The material is from the immediate vicinity of where the venus was discovered and waste material provides evidence that the figurine was carved in the same area. Her right arm is held above the head and her breast hangs beneath. Her left arm curves out from the body, shoulder slightly forward, hand resting on the thigh of the left leg which also curves outwards, with her knee slightly bent. Her head is slightly square and without any facial features.

Display case at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna

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

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