Aurignacian is the name of a culture of the Upper Palaeolithic located in Europe and southwest Asia. It dates to between 32,000 and 26,000 BC. The name originates from the type site of Aurignac in the Haute Garonne area of France. The Aurignacian culture is considered by some archaeologists to have co-existed with the Périgordian culture of tool making.

Main characteristics

Worked bone points with grooves cut in the bottom and some of the earliest cave art were produced by the Aurignacian culture bearers. Their flint tools were more varied than those of earlier industries, employing finer blades struck from prepared cores rather than using crude flakes, and they made pendants, bracelets and ivory beads, they also made three-dimensional figurines to ornament themselves. The Aurignacian tool industry is characterized by complex art, which includes figurines depicting faunal representations of the time period associated with extinct mammals, including mammoths, rhinos, and the European horse along with anthropomorphized depictions that could be inferred as some of the earliest evidence of religion.

Bâtons de commandement are also found at their sites. This sophistication and self-awareness leads some archaeologists to consider the makers of Aurignacian artefacts the first modern humans in Europe. Human remains and Aurignacian artifacts originally found at Cro-Magnon in France indicate that the culture was modern human rather than Neanderthal. That was not true and was discovered by directly dating human remains. [ [ Unexpectedly recent dates for human remains from Vogelherd] ] [ [ Unexpectedly recent dates for human remains from Vogelherd] ] The AMHuman bones are quite recent 3.9–5.0 kya.

In June 2007, a 35,000 year old figurine of a mammoth was discovered in the Vogelherd cave in south-western Germany. [ [ Finds from the Vogelherd cave] ] Currently being studied by the University of Tübingen, the figurine details the once intricate and complex artistic qualities by the inhabitants of Aurignacian culture.


Stone tools from the Aurignacian culture are known as Mode 4, characterised by blades (rather than flakes, typical of mode 2 Acheulean and mode 3 Mousterian) from prepared cores. Also seen throughout the upper paleolithic is a greater degree of tool standardisation and the use of bone and antler for tools such as needles and harpoons.


ee also

*Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures
*Ksar Akil

External links

* [ Picture Gallery of the Paleolithic (reconstructional palaeoethnology)] , Libor Balák at the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Archaeology in Brno, The Center for Paleolithic and Paleoethnological Research
* [ The Aurignacian and the Origins of Art in Europe]

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  • aurignacian — AURIGNACIÁN s.n. (geol.) Primul subetaj al paleoliticului superior, caracterizat prin unelte de silex fin şi prin apariţia uneltelor de os. // adj. Care aparţine acestui subetaj. [pron. a u rig na ci an. / < fr. aurignacien, cf. Aurignac –… …   Dicționar Român

  • Aurignacian — [ô΄rig nā′shən] adj. [Fr Aurignacien, after Aurignac, village in S France, in whose caves artifacts were discovered] designating or of an Upper Paleolithic culture, characterized by stone tools called burins which were used for carving wood, bone …   English World dictionary

  • Aurignacian culture — Stone tool industry and artistic tradition of Upper Paleolithic Europe, named after the village of Aurignac in southern France where the tradition was first identified. The Aurignacian period dates to 35,000–15,000 BC. Its tools included scrapers …   Universalium

  • aurignacian man — noun Usage: usually capitalized A 1. or aurignacian race : man (Homo sapiens) of the Aurignacian period: as a. : combe capelle man …   Useful english dictionary

  • aurignacian race — noun see aurignacian man 1 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Aurignacian — adjective Etymology: French aurignacien, from Aurignac, France Date: 1909 of or relating to an Upper Paleolithic culture marked by finely made artifacts of stone and bone, paintings, and engravings …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Aurignacian — /awr in yay sheuhn/, adj. of, belonging to, or typical of an Upper Paleolithic industry with characteristic stone and bone artifacts that is distributed from western France to eastern Europe and the Middle East. [1910 15; AURIGNAC + IAN] * * * …   Universalium

  • Aurignacian — adj. of or pertaining to the Upper Paleolithic cultures characterized by the use of rough stone or bone tools and the creation of simple cave drawings …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Aurignacian — [ˌɔ:rɪ njeɪʃ(ə)n, ˌɔ:rɪg neɪ ] adjective Archaeology relating to or denoting the early stages of the Upper Palaeolithic culture in Europe and the Near East, dated to about 34,000–29,000 years ago. Origin early 20th cent.: from Fr. Aurignacien,… …   English new terms dictionary

  • aurignacian — au·ri·gna·cian …   English syllables

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