Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>30000BP Aurignacian
Subject: hunter-gatherer
Culture: Aurignacian / Cro-Magnon
Setting: Upper Paleolithic, Europe/Near East ~40000-30000BP
Evolution100000BP Early Modern Human > ... > 30000BP Aurignacian

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Hommes préhistoriques 1995 p66
"En Europe, à partir de moins 40 000 ans, les neandertaliens sont replacés par des hommes modernes venus de l'est: les hommes de Cro-Magnon.  Ces derniers sont porteurs d'outils et d'armes noubelles, comme les sagaies à pointes d'os.  Ils sont associés à une industrie appelée <<l'Aurignacien>>, du nom d'Aurignac, où elle fut découverte au siècle dernier, et qui marque le début du Paléolithique supérieur.  Ils sont surtout porteurs d'un mode de vie et d'exploitation de l'environnement nouveau, sans doute aussi d'une organisation sociale originale."

* Papagianni/Morse 2015 p155-156
"The suite of changes seen in Europe from just before 40,000 years ago constitutes an industry known as the Aurignacian, from the name of a cave in the Midi-Pyrées region of France.  Paul Mellars has named six elements which together comprise the Aurignacian and distinguish it from the Mousterian, the industry that had been favoured by the Neanderthals since 250,000 years ago.  These are: (1) improved blade production using soft-hammer percussion ...; (2) more sophisticated stone tools with an emphasis on blades; (3) the use of tools made of bone, antler and ivory as well as stone; (4) ornaments (shell beads); (5) art; and (6) expanded trade networks.
    "The appearance of the Aurignacian represents such a radical departure from the preceding 200,000-plus years of Mousterian tool-making that archaeologists mark this moment as the end of the Middle Paleolithic and the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic period.  This change is also conventionally seen as the end of the Neanderthals and the beginning of the time of modern humans.  The actual transition is fuzzier than that, and the question of whether Neanderthals were capable of creating Upper Paleolithic tools ha been fundamental to the debate over their cognitive abilities."

* Fagan 2010 p117-123
"By thirty-nine thousand years ago, modern humans had lived in most of southern Europe for at least two thousand to three thousand years.  Soon after the [Campanian] eruption, the same general tool kits, body ornaments, and social institutions flourished from the Don Valley to the Atlantic, a cultural tradition known to archaeologists as the Aurignacian.  At Kostenki, Aurignacian tools appear above the Campanian tephra.  By this time, between thirty-nine thousand and thirty thousand years ago, the makers of these Aurignacian tools killed large numbers of horses, which they probably drove in groups from the main Don Valley into smaller side ravines. [...]
    "Unlike many such groupings, the Aurignacian is no local culture confiend solely to southwest France.  People fabricating similar artifacts, including split-based points, settled over an enormous area of Europe, from Kostenki in the east to the Atlantic in the west.  Before World War II, Dorothy Garrod identified Aurignacian occupation levels at Mugharet el-Wad, on Mount Carmel in the Near East.  She boldly argued that the Aurignacians were the first modern humans to migrate into Europe, where they displaced the Neanderthals.  Even in her day, when much less was known about the late Ice Age, the wide distribution of Aurignacian sites through Europe was in noticeable contrast to the distribution of the sites of later Cro-Magnon societies. A remarkable continuity in Aurignacian technological practices extended over a distance of more than twenty-five hundred miles (around four thousand kilometers), from the Near East to northwestern Spain and as far north as England. No such technological, and presumably cultural, uniformity ever occurred again during the late Ice Age."

* Curtis 2006 p30-31 
"[B]y 47,000 years ago Homo sapiens had abilities beyond those of any other hominid then living.  Numbers of them began to leave Africa looking for new territory, and they fanned out across the globe.  Some moved north through the Levant, and then farther north to Eastern Europe.  Some then turned west across central Europe and continued west until they reached the valleys of the Pyrennes.  All along their westward journey they encountered another hominid, distinct in both appearance and behavior but still uncomfortably similar, who had been living in these territories for at least 100,000 years.  This must have been one of the most dramatic confrontations in all history, the moment when modern humans who arrived in Western Europe laid eyes on the Neanderthals."

Neanderthal Extinction


* Boucher 1987 p22
"The dry, penetrating cold of the upper Paleolithic (Aurignacian, Solutrean and Magdalenean periods) left cave-dwelling man only the two or three months of summer for hunting -- herds of horses during the Aurignacian period, reindeer thereafter.  These conditions led to the predominant use of animal skins for warmth."

* Bigelow 1979 p65
"Paleolithic (40,000 B.C. - 8000 B.C.) humans had little else to work with but the simple, chipped tools they had originally invented to secure food and to protect themselves from marauding beasts and human enemies.  The first body coverings might well have developed in this Paleolithic period.  It was during this period that humans became sophisticated enough to devise hand axes, scrapers, awls (borers), and blades.  With the development of the scraper they were able to remove the flesh from the animal skin.  With the blade they managed some crude shaping, and with the awl they pierced holes through the animal skins, to facilitate rudimentary sewing with rawhide or sinews and bone needles."

* Oakes 2003 p90-91
"Fully modern people had been in the Near East since about 100,000 years ago and had successfully travelled eastwards across India and Southeast Asia. Yet, for almost 50,000 years, they stalled at the gates of Europe. An indefinable something prevented them entering. That something may have been the climate. Prehistoric Homo Sapiens [sic] -- although heavily built compared to present-day people -- had a slender, long-limbed body typical of warmer climates. This made these modern humans less suited to the cold winters of Paleolithic Europe.
    "[...] The technology that enabled us to move north was a simple but profound one: sewing. Simple stitching of hides had probably been around for some time, but now came the innovation of tailored clothes. Instead of a simple cloak draped across the shoulders or kilt wrapped around the waist, these new people manufactured form-fitting clothes. Garments like trousers, leggings, tunics, parkas, hoods, moccasins, boots and mittens would all have been vital in conquering the tundra-steppe. Neatly stitched double seams would keep out the wind. Clothing could be layered, with heavy outer garments and lighter inner ones. Furs could be worn hair-side in for warmth, or hair-side out to take advantage of a particular fur's water-repellent properties."


* Moret 1966 p699  
"Ces Hommes [Aurignacien] se servaient d'un outillage beaucomp plus perfectionné que celui des précédents et où l'utilisation de l'os se montre pour la première fois: pointes et lames de silex retouchées, burins, pointes en os fendus; enfin le goût de la parure était né."

* Hommes préhistoriques 1995 p73
"Avec l'Aurignacien, on voit aussi apparaître en Europe des points de sagaie losangiques ou coniques qui étaient fabriquées en os ou en bois de cervidé.  Elles sont complétées par des points de silex dont on connait de nombreuses formes."

* Fagan 2010 p121
"Theirs was a simple but highly effective technology.  Aurignacian stoneworkers crafted scrapers and burins, as well as unique pointes d'Aurignac, antler or sometimes bone projectile heads with a split at the base for mounting them on a spear shaft."


* Foster 2008 p249
"Before 40,000 BP pre-modern H. sapiens wore or dressed with few or no personal items of adornment, but this changed with the arrival in Europe of modern H. sapiens, who dressed up.  They painted their body [sic] with red ocher and tattooed themselves; they wore precious-stone pendants and small, tubular, microdrilled ivory beads and anthropomorphic stone pendants."

* Curtis 2006 p24
"About 40,000 years ago Homo sapiens walked into this vast domain [western Europe] where animals ruled.  The new arrivals were identical in every respect to modern people except that they were probably slightly taller on average than people in the West today.  And they behaved like modern people.  They had powerfully developed intellects and a rich imaginative life.  They cared about appearances and decorated their bodies and their clothes with signs of wealth, rank, and kinship."

* Fagan 2010 p134
"Aurignacians ... placed a high premium on ocher; it abounds in their settlements. ... [I]f the Australian Aborigines are any guide, ocher sources were of great importance, for the Aborigines consider the pigment to possess curing properties and to strengthen its user.  Whether the Cro-Magnons associated these same properties with it is, of course, a matter of guesswork.  The Aborigines live in arid landscapes and believe that the deep red of ocher is the blood of their ancestors.  Red ocher was in common use in the ancient Near East.  Could it have had the same symbolic association with ancestors as it does among Australians, as many Aurignacian and later burials were sprinkled with red ocher?"