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Lector drd.arh. Corina LUCESCU

Materialele prezentate au scop didactic. Folosirea lor n alte scopuri dect cele necesare procesului de nvmnt, este sancionat potrivit legislaiei n vigoare.


Practically in all the regions where the plane or three-dimensional depictions of the Upper Palaeolithic were discovered, there is a pause in the artistic activity of people of the subsequent epochs. Its duration differs in different regions. In the steppes and partially- wooded steppes of Eurasia it lasts for a long time, almost 8-9 millennia. In the more favourable regions, for example in the Mediterranean and in the Front East this pause is shorter - 5-6 millennia years. The period between the end of the Upper Palaeolithic and the beginning of the new Stone Age (Neolithic) is called Mesolithic. Maybe, this period is poorly studied yet, maybe the depictions, made in the open air, not in caves, were washed away with snow and rains, maybe, among the petroglyphs, very difficult to be dated, there are some, referred to that period but we can't recognize them. It is significant that even the small form objects are seldom found at the excavations of the Mesolithic monuments. Only few less dubious Mesolithic depictions can be mentioned: Kamennaya Mogila at the Ukraine, Gobustan in Azerbaidzhan, Zaraut-Kamar in Uzbekistan, Shakhty in Tadzhikistan and Bhimbetka in India.

Kamennaya Mogila

Kamennaya Mogila. Common view.

Kamennaya Mogila. In the south of the Ukraine, not far from Melitopol, in the valley of the Molochnaya river there is a rocky hill, an outcrop of a sedimentary rocks, namely, sandstone. The hill is badly weathered and so some grottos and roofs have appeared in its slopes. For ages people found numerous carved and scratched depictions in these grottos and on other planes of the hill. In most cases they can be hardly recognized or appear as mere sets of straight and curve lines. Sometimes images of animals - bulls, goats - are guessed. Some researchers, studied the 1

depictions on the Kamennaya Mogila planes, also saw mammoths and rhinos there. But unlike mammoths and rhinos from the French caves or from Kapova cave it is difficult to speak with confidence about the depictions of Kamennaya Mogila. A multi-layered settlement at the foot of the hill with the lowest layer dated to the Mesolithic was studied. It is an indirect evidence of the fact that the silhouette depictions of the bulls can be dated to the Mesolithic.


Azerbaidzhan. Situated to the south from Baku between the south- eastern slope of the Great Caucasian Range and the Caspian Sea, there lies a small plain Gobustan (a country of ravines) with tablelands of Beyuk-dash, Kichik-dash, Djinghir-dash and Yazyly-Tepe consisted of limestone and other sedimentary rocks. There are numerous petroglyphs date to different periods on the rocks of these mountains. Professor Iskhak Jafarzade the majority of them in 1939. The results of his long investigations are published in an album-monograph in 1973. J.N. Rustamov and F.M.Muradova continue these studies.The most interesting and known are the large (more than 1 m) depictions of male and female figures, made with deep, carved lines. A.D.Stolyarov and A.A.Formozov think, they are dated to the Mesolithic period. The dating is proved by the fact that some depictions are overlapped with cultural deposits, Late-Mesolithic ones among them. There are many depictions of animals: bulls, deer , predators and even reptiles and insects.


In the south-western spurs of the Gissar range (Uzbekistan) in Kugitang mountains, about 2000 m above the sea, in the canyon Zaraut-Sai there is a monument, widely known not only among specialists-archaeologists - Zaraut- Kamar grotto. The paintings of the grotto were discovered in 1939 by local hunter I.F.Lamaev, repeatedly published and studied in details by different authors. Primary conclusions that the paintings were dated to the Palaeolithic proved to be erroneous. A.A.Formozov assumes that the paintings are dated to Mesolithic, not earlier, in any case.

The paintings in the grotto are made with ochre of different colours (from red-brown to lightpurple) and consist of four groups of depictions of anthropomorphs and bulls. Here you can see the third, the largest (more than 60 cm in diameter) group of depictions, showing, as many researchers admit, a scene of a bull-hunting. There are two types of anthropomorphic figures or "hunters", surrounding a bull: figures in robes, expanded downwards, without bows and "tailed" figures, looking very much like these on the similar fresco from Catal-Huyuk with raised and tightened bows. All the figures of the first type have some objects, projecting from under the robes: sticks with the ends turned up. This scene can be interpreted in different ways: as a real hunting of disguised hunters and as a certain myth from the cycle which has already been discussed while speaking about Lascaux "corrida".



In the northern part of Central India huge outcrops of ledge sedimentary rocks, in particular of Devon greyish-brown sandstone, are extending along the river valleys. The rocks are strongly eroded, there are many caves, grottoes and roofs in them. Numerous rock paintings have been preserved in these natural shelters. Paintings on the walls of about 500 caves are considered to be preserved in the environs of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh state. Site Bhimbetka, discovered by Professor W.Wakankar from the Vikram University in 1953 is of particular interest. W. Wakankar thinks that the name "Bhimbetka" come from Bhima - an epic Mahabharata hero. Indian archaeologists date some of these paintings to the very early periods, including the Upper Palaeolithic. But the statement has no reliable grounds. According to the artistic depiction shown here, it can be dated rather to the Mesolithic. One should, however, bear in mind uneven development of cultures in different regions. The Mesolithic in India may be 2-3 millenia older then in Eastern Europe and Middle Asia.

Tassili nAjjer / ALGERIA

Located in a strange lunar landscape of great geological interest, this site has one of the most important groupings of prehistoric cave art in the world. More than 15,000 drawings and engravings record the climatic changes, the animal migrations and the evolution of human life on the edge of the Sahara from 6000 B.C. to the first centuries of the present era. The geological formations are of outstanding scenic interest, with eroded sandstones forming forests of rock. Tassili-n-Ajjer in Algeria is one of the most famous North African sites of rock painting. Its imagery documents a verdant Sahara teeming with life that stands in stark contrast to the arid desert the region has since become. Tassili paintings and engravings, like those of other rock art areas in the Sahara, are commonly divided into at least four chronological periods based on style and content. These are: an archaic tradition depicting wild animals whose antiquity is unknown but certainly goes back well before 4500 B.C.; a so-called bovidian tradition, which corresponds to the arrival of cattle in North Africa between 4500 and 4000 B.C.; a "horse" tradition, which corresponds to the appearance of horses in the North African archaeological record from about 2000 B.C. onward; and a "camel" tradition, which emerges around the time of Christ when these animals first appear in North Africa. Engravings of animals such as the extinct giant buffalo are among the earliest works, followed later by paintings in which color is used to depict humans and animals with striking naturalism. In the last period, chariots, shields, and camels appear in the rock paintings. Although close to the Iberian Peninsula, it is currently believed that the rock art of Algeria and Tassili developed independently of that in Europe. While these traditions are successive, it does appear that earlier ones continued on for varying lengths of time after the appearance of later ones. Two important qualifiers need to be made. First, many scholars have recently questioned a pan-Saharan chronology and there is a move away from grandiose chronological schemes to concentrating more on understanding regional chronological variability. Second, the Sahara, given its vast size and various political complications, is still an inadequately researched area in terms of rock art and very few dates exist. As more work is done and techniques for dating advance, it is likely that this four-period dating scheme will be modified in particular regions and that more will be learned about the origins and demise of Saharan rock art.

The fine group of superimposed paintings also features two female dancers, a jellyfish, additional big horns (included a stylized one with the horn curving in the opposite direction), a camel with rider, and more.

8,000-year old painting on the side of Shepherd's Fresco Arch.

The Archers of Tin Aboteka, found on the rock art trail in the Tin Aboteka Area. This exceptionally large image is 1.8 meters high.

The Black Lady (La Dame Noir) in the Sefar Area.

The Great God of Sefar, on the rock art trail in the Sefar Lower Maze Area. 7

Bovidae rock art in Tin Aboteka.

Buffalo Painting in Sefar Lower Maze Area

The Crying Cow engraving (La Vache qui Pleure).

Bovidae Painting in the Sefar Area

Rock painting of a dance performance


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