The history of coal mining

The Venus of Landek

Magical red dye and a slender Venus

It is apparent from numerous finds around Europe that for the hunters of the Gravettien period, who lived on this continent 21 to 28 thousand years ago, red dye was of extraordinary and mystic significance. Also, during the survey of the prehistoric settlement at Landek red surfaces made of crushed haematite ore were discovered. Although the circumstances of the finding do not exclude other causes of their creation (e.g. skilled handiwork), there are many indications that these served some magic ritual purpose.

 

In 1953, the then supervisor of the local excavations Bohuslav Klíma found near one of these surfaces a woman figure of haematite ore, which became known under the name of Venus of Landek (or the Venus of Petříkovice as well). It is a unique object of its kind in the world – unlike most of the other woman figures of the gravettien period it features no apparently well-rounded shapes (as does the well-known Venus of Věstonice), rather it has a very slim, almost cubist form. It had lain in the ground, fragmented into three parts.

 

Together with the Venus of Landek, Klíma further found a torso of another figure from the same material and a piece of haematite ore with some notches in it.

 

The facts about the Venus of Landek

  • age: 21 to 23 thousand years old
  • height: 46 mm
  • date of discovery: July 14, 1953
  • finder: Bohuslav Klíma, ČSAV Institute of Archaeology
  • site: Landek
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