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Human figures dressed up in animal or grotesque masks evoke the dancing and initiation ceremonies of living peoples or represent the sorcerers or gods of the Upper Paleolithic.A wonderful example is the sacrificial/ritualistic scene depicted in the famous Addaura Cave engravings (11,000 BCE).Please note in passing that recent discoveries - the Blombos cave engravings (c.70,000 BCE) and the more delicate Diepkloof eggshell engravings (c.60,000 BCE) - prove that these modern men had already developed an understanding of and use for art.This viewpoint is strongly supported by the recent dating of the Sulawesi Cave art (Indonesia) to 37,900 BCE.(Perhaps accounting for the location of the Venus of Berekhat Ram [Golan] and the Venus of Tan-Tan [Morocco]).The door did not open again until much later to permit new migrations to the West.

The Caspian extended much further northward as a vast inland sea, and when the great Scandinavian and Russian glaciers advanced, the gateway to the East between western Europe and central Asia was closed, and the Paleolithic peoples could only penetrate from Asia Minor and Africa into Europe by the south-eastern and southern routes.Strangely enough the totemic female symbols of the mid-Aurignacian period - like the mysterious Lion Man of Hohlenstein Stadel (c.38,000 BCE) and the Venus of Willendorf (c.25,000 BCE) - disappear later, giving way to the animal art already in the course of development.Animals are represented pierced with symbolical arrows (bison and ibexes at Niaux; horses at Lascaux), clay models are riddled with spear marks (at Montespan, a headless lion and bear, which seem to have received new skins at various times) - facts which evoke the idea of sympathetic magic.Such are the facts prehistory puts at our disposal to mark the stages of human types and their civilizations - the nurseries of Stone Age art - from the obscure epoch when man emerged from among the mammals of the end of the Tertiary period, to the time when the rudiments of our civilization appeared in with the domestication of cattle and the beginnings of agriculture.These first human groups are not unrelated to a great number of present-day tribes in both hemispheres - the Bushmen of South Africa, the Tasmanians, the Eskimos, etc.

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