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Half man, half lion figure in Germany

Posted by Stephen Knapp on October 25, 2011

Half man, half lion figure in Germany

Posted 10/25/2011

The Löwenmensch (meaning lion-man in English) is a puzzle. The provenance of this figure is derived from the 1870s. Markedly

        Significant is the discovery of the Löwenmensch — a German term meaning “lion-person” — as a larger Löwenmensch sculpture was found in 1939 at the Hohlenstein-Stadel site in a neighbouring valley. Both works carry similar features and have been dated to the Aurignacian period between 31,000 and 33,000 years ago.

        Dr.Nicholas Conard added: “The occupants of Hohle Fels in the Ach Valley and Hohlenstein-Stadel in the Lone Valley must have been members of the same cultural group and shared beliefs and practices connected with therianthropic (half-man, half-animal) images of felids (cats) and humans. The discovery lends support to the hypothesis that Aurignacian people practised a form of shamanism.”

        The second site at  Hohle Fels is a large cave site with Middle and Upper Paleolithic occupations, located in the Swabian Jura of southwestern Germany, some 20 kilometers southwest of the town of Ulm.

        The cave deposits include a low density Middle Paleolithic site and a long Upper Paleolithic sequence with separate Aurignacian, Gravettian and Magdalenian occupations. Radiocarbon dates for the UP components range between 29,000 and 36,000 years bp.

Hohle Fels is best known for the recent recovery of three pieces of carved ivory from the Aurignacian period, which make up some of the earliest portable art in the world.

        The three figurines are of a horse’s head (or possibly a bear), a water bird of some sort possibly in flight, and a “Lowenmensch”, a half lion/half human figurine. Previously, a similar lion/human sculpture (although much larger) was found at the Hohlenstein-Stadel site, an Aurignacian period site in the Lone Valley of Germany. The horse’s head at Hohle Fels came from a level dated about 30,000 years old; the other two are from an older occupation in the cave, ca. 31-33,000 years ago.

        Hohle Fels was discovered in the 1870s and first excavated in the late 1950s, when undisturbed Paleolithic sediments were found. Excavations have been ongoing since the 1970s, led first by Joachim Hahn and beginning in the 1990s by Nicholas Conard. (via Hohle Fels (Germany).

These items, especially the two Löwenmensch seemed ‘polished from heavy handling, suggesting that rather than sitting on a shelf as an artifact to be admired’.

The importance of being the Löwenmensch

These ivory artifacts are vital to the European historical narrative being developed over the last 20 years – based on these finds.

Dr.Conard in another paper claims, ‘The ivory figurines from Swabia represent one of the earliest artistic traditions worldwide”. A related academic paper on this period goes on to say,

Indeed, how can we not see, in the numerous and varied ornaments, sculpted stone blocks, ivory statuettes or bone, antler and ivory spear points, evidence of a significant and abrupt mutation in the long history of human evolution?’.

Figurines apart, there are the odd musical instruments, which too are of ivory. Musical instruments made and used more than 30,000 years ago – in what is called as the Aurignacian period.

These incredible finds must have a credible theory behind it.

More can be read about it at:

8 Responses to “Half man, half lion figure in Germany”

  1. This is called “NAR Shinh” and is been explained in PURANS – a symbolic of destroying sins and sinners

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