Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Farbstein and Svoboda in Antiquity

Having a sick day here at AVRPI, but between bowls of minestrone and listening to Six Parts Seven for restorative comfort, I was made aware of a new paper by Farbstein and Svoboda (2007) in the new issue of Antiquity. The paper is about new symbolic artifacts found at the Gravettian site of Predmostí, news of which had first circulated slightly over a year ago (see my comments here). Here's the summary (Antiquity doesn't do abstracts):
Two new examples of decorative art have turned up at the Gravettian site of Predmostí, dating to the twenty-sixth to twenty-fifth millennium BP: rectilinear grid patterns are executed on one side of flat bones, probably of reindeer. The authors speculate that the two pieces may have come from a single larger decorated object. The grids themselves join a growing repertoire of patterns known from Upper Palaeolithic society, but their role remains enigmatic: counting, calendars or ornament? Art or science?

Sounds like an interesting article, especially the section that discusses the potential function of these artifacts. At this point, I'd just like to mention that an artistic component in the artifact doesn't necessarily preclude a concurrent, more prosaic use. McGill unfortunately has a six month embargo on the online version of Antiquity, so if any readers have access to this paper, I'd very much appreciate if a copy could find its way to me.


Farbstein, R., and J. Svoboda. 2007. New finds of Upper Palaeolithic decorative objects from Predmostí, Czech Republic. Antiquity 81: 856–864.

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