Geometric Engravings on the cortex of flint (Willendorf Kostenki)

This is an enigmantic Criss cross Pattern on a burinated blade, engraved on the cortex of flint, found at Moravany Banka and belonging to the Willendorf-Kostenki technocomplex (Displayed with different tresholds; Please click to enlarge!).

During the evolution of symbolic thinking such schematic patterns first appear in the MSA layers of Blombos cave dated to 100-75 years ago on ochre slabs

The earliest examples of engravings on the cortex of flint before the upper paleolithic are an engraving with a set of concentric lines found at the Quneitra site, in a Mousterian level dated to ca 60 k.a BP and from Qafzeh (ca 90 k.a BP) with a set of parallel incisions found in the same Levallois-Mousterian levels as the Homo sapiens burials .

Engraved stones with schematic decorations occur throughout the Upper Paleolithic of Europe, but items of such decorations on the cortex of flint artifacts are rare. The best known example is a burin of the late Magdalenian at Princevent. Implements with an engraved cortex from the Roc-aux-Sorciers site are dated to a Late Magdalenian with tanged and shouldered points. Similar items are known from several late “Federmesser” sites in Belgium and the Netherlands, from the late Paleolithic at Hengistbury Head and at the Bromme-type site.

To my knowledge, the example displayed here is the first published from a Gravettian context.

Suggested Reading: Blombos Cave-sorry no free material about the other sites available (but If you want by request via

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About Katzman

During my whole life I was fascinated by stone age artefacts. Not only the aesthetic qualities of these findings, but also the stories around them and the considerations arising from their discovery, are a part of my blog. Comments and contributions are allways welcome! About me: J.L. Katzman (Pseudonym). Born in Vienna. Left Austria in 1974 and did not regret. Studied Medicine and Prehistory at a German University. Member of a Medical Department at a German University. Copyright 2010-2017 by JLK. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use material in these posts so long as you cite the work.
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One Response to Geometric Engravings on the cortex of flint (Willendorf Kostenki)

  1. buffard says:

    Hi ,

    look at my work about french engraved paleolithic on tools (it’s in french but a lot of pictures)
    best Pascal

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