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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Paleolithic Bird Engraving Unearthed in France

Friday, March 18, 2016

bird art object DORDOGNE, FRANCE—Archaeologists working at the Cantalouette site in southwestern France have discovered a stone engraving dating to 31,000 to 35,000 years ago that they believe depicts a bird, according to a press release from France’s National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap). The engraving was carried out during the Aurignacian period, when modern humans arrived in western Europe. The image was engraved using a “sunk relief” technique that was rarely used in Paleolithic art and was identified through microscopic and 3D analyses. The archaeologists, who include Illuminada Ortega and Laurence Bourguignon of Inrap, argue that the bird’s posture in the image suggests it is either drinking, courting, or about to fly off. To read about Paleolithic cave paintings in France, go to “A Chauvet Primer.”

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