A Venus figurine is any Upper Paleolithic statuette portraying a woman, with fewer sculptures depicting men or figures of uncertain sex, those in relief or engraved on rock or stones are discussed together. Most have been unearthed in Europe, but others have been found as far away as Siberia, extending their distribution across much of Eurasia, although with many gaps, such as the Mediterranean outside Italy. Most of them date from the Gravettian period, but examples exist as early as the Venus of Hohle Fels, which dates back at least 35,000 years to the Aurignacian, as late as the Venus of Monruz, from about 11,000 years ago in the Magdalenian; these figurines were carved from soft stone, bone or ivory, or fired. The latter are among the oldest ceramics known. In total, some 144 such figurines are known, they are some of the earliest works of prehistoric art. Most of them have small heads, wide hips, legs that taper to a point. Various figurines exaggerate the abdomen, breasts, thighs, or vulva, although many do not, the concentration in popular accounts on those that do reflects modern preoccupations rather than the range of actual artefacts.
In contrast and feet are absent, the head is small and faceless. Depictions of hairstyles can be detailed, in Siberian examples, clothing or tattoos may be indicated; the original cultural meaning and purpose of these artifacts is not known. It has been suggested that they may have served a ritual or symbolic function. There are varying and speculative interpretations of their use or meaning: they have been seen as religious figures, as erotic art or sex aids, grandmother goddesses or as self-depictions by female artists; the expression'Venus' was first used in the mid-nineteenth century by the Marquis de Vibraye, who discovered an important ivory figurine and named it La Vénus impudique or Venus Impudica, contrasting it to the Venus Pudica, Hellenistic sculpture by Praxiteles showing Aphrodite covering her naked pubis with her right hand. The use of the name is metaphorical as there is no link between the figurines and the Roman goddess Venus, although they have been interpreted as representations of a primordial female goddess.
The term has been criticised for being more a reflection of modern western ideas than reflecting the beliefs of the sculptures' original owners, but the name has persisted. Vénus impudique, the figurine that gave the whole class its name, was the first Paleolithic sculptural representation of a woman discovered in modern times, it was found in about 1864 by Paul Hurault, 8th Marquis de Vibraye at the famous archaeological site of Laugerie-Basse in the Vézère valley. The Magdalenian "Venus" from Laugerie-Basse is headless, armless but with a incised vaginal opening. Four years Salomon Reinach published an article about a group of steatite figurines from the caves of Balzi Rossi; the famous Venus of Willendorf was excavated in 1908 in a loess deposit in the Danube valley, Austria. Since hundreds of similar figurines have been discovered from the Pyrenees to the plains of Siberia, they are collectively described as "Venus figurines" in reference to the Roman goddess of beauty, since the prehistorians of the early 20th century assumed they represented an ancient ideal of beauty.
Early discourse on "Venus figurines" was preoccupied with identifying the race being represented and the steatopygous fascination of Saartjie Baartman, the "Hottentot Venus" exhibited as a living ethnographic curiosity to connoisseurs in Paris early in the nineteenth century. In September 2008, archaeologists from the University of Tübingen discovered a 6 cm figurine woman carved from a mammoth's tusk, the Venus of Hohle Fels, dated to at least 35,000 years ago, representing the earliest known sculpture of this type, the earliest known work of figurative art altogether; the ivory carving, found in six fragments in Germany's Hohle Fels cave, represents the typical features of Venus figurines, including the swollen belly, wide-set thighs, large breasts. The majority of the Venus figurines appear to be depictions of women, many of which follow certain artistic conventions, on the lines of schematisation and stylisation. Most of them are lozenge-shaped, with two tapering terminals at top and bottom and the widest point in the middle.
In some examples, certain parts of the human anatomy are exaggerated: abdomen, breasts, vulva. In contrast, other anatomical details are neglected or absent arms and feet; the heads are of small size and devoid of detail. Some may represent pregnant women, it has been suggested that aspects of the typical depiction and perspective, such as the large and pendulous breasts, emphasis on the upper rather than lower buttocks, lack of feet and faces, support the theory that these are self-portraits by women without access to mirrors, looking at their own bodies. The absence of feet has led to suggestions that the figures might have been made to stand upright by inserting the legs into the ground like a peg; the high amount of fat around the buttocks of some of the figurines has led to numerous interpretations. The issue was first raised by Édouard Piette, excavator of the Brassempouy figure and of several other examples from the Pyrenees; some authors saw this feature as the depiction of an actual physical property, resembling the Khoisan tribe of so
Chalk is a soft, porous, sedimentary carbonate rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. Calcite is an ionic salt called calcium carbonate or CaCO3, it forms under reasonably deep marine conditions from the gradual accumulation of minute calcite shells shed from micro-organisms called coccolithophores. Flint is common as bands parallel to the bedding or as nodules embedded in chalk, it is derived from sponge spicules or other siliceous organisms as water is expelled upwards during compaction. Flint is deposited around larger fossils such as Echinoidea which may be silicified. Chalk as seen in Cretaceous deposits of Western Europe is unusual among sedimentary limestones in the thickness of the beds. Most cliffs of chalk have few obvious bedding planes unlike most thick sequences of limestone such as the Carboniferous Limestone or the Jurassic oolitic limestones; this indicates stable conditions over tens of millions of years. Chalk has greater resistance to weathering and slumping than the clays with which it is associated, thus forming tall, steep cliffs where chalk ridges meet the sea.
Chalk hills, known as chalk downland form where bands of chalk reach the surface at an angle, so forming a scarp slope. Because chalk is well jointed it can hold a large volume of ground water, providing a natural reservoir that releases water through dry seasons. Chalk is mined from chalk deposits both above underground. Chalk mining boomed during the Industrial Revolution, due to the need for chalk products such as quicklime and bricks; some abandoned chalk mines remain tourist destinations due to their massive expanse and natural beauty. The Chalk Group is a European stratigraphic unit, it forms the famous White Cliffs of Dover in Kent, England, as well as their counterparts of the Cap Blanc Nez on the other side of the Dover Strait. The Champagne region of France is underlain by chalk deposits, which contain artificial caves used for wine storage; some of the highest chalk cliffs in the world occur at Jasmund National Park in Germany and at Møns Klint in Denmark – both once formed a single island.
Ninety million years ago what is now the chalk downland of Northern Europe was ooze accumulating at the bottom of a great sea. Chalk was one of the earliest rocks made up of microscopic particles to be studied under the microscope, when it was found to be composed entirely of coccoliths, their shells were made of calcite extracted from the rich seawater. As they died, a substantial layer built up over millions of years and, through the weight of overlying sediments became consolidated into rock. Earth movements related to the formation of the Alps raised these former sea-floor deposits above sea level; the chemical composition of chalk is calcium carbonate, with minor amounts of clay. It is formed in the sea by sub-microscopic plankton, which fall to the sea floor and are consolidated and compressed during diagenesis into chalk rock. Most people first encounter the word "chalk" in school where it refers to blackboard chalk, made of mineral chalk, since it crumbles and leaves particles that stick loosely to rough surfaces, allowing it to make writing that can be erased.
Blackboard chalk manufacture now may use mineral chalk, other mineral sources of calcium carbonate, or the mineral gypsum. While gypsum-based blackboard chalk is the lowest cost to produce, thus used in the developing world, calcium-based chalk can be made where the crumbling particles are larger and thus produce less dust, is marketed as "dustless chalk". Colored chalks, pastel chalks, sidewalk chalk, used to draw on sidewalks and driveways, are made of gypsum. Chalk is a source of quicklime by thermal decomposition, or slaked lime following quenching of quicklime with water. In southeast England, deneholes are a notable example of ancient chalk pits; such bell pits may mark the sites of ancient flint mines, where the prime object was to remove flint nodules for stone tool manufacture. The surface remains at Cissbury are one such example, but the most famous is the extensive complex at Grimes Graves in Norfolk. Woodworking joints may be fitted by chalking one of the mating surfaces. A trial fit will leave a chalk mark on the high spots of the corresponding surface.
Chalk transferring to cover the complete surface indicates a good fit. Builder's putty mainly contains chalk as a filler in linseed oil. Chalk may be used for its properties as a base. In agriculture, chalk is used for raising pH in soils with high acidity; the most common forms are CaCO3 and CaO. Small doses of chalk can be used as an antacid. Additionally, the small particles of chalk make it a substance ideal for polishing. For example, toothpaste contains small amounts of chalk, which serves as a mild abrasive. Polishing chalk is chalk prepared with a controlled grain size, for fine polishing of metals. Chalk can be used as fingerprint powder. Several traditional uses of chalk have been replaced by other substances, although the word "chalk" is still applied to the usual replacements. Tailor's chalk is traditionally a hard chalk used to make temporary markings on cloth by tailors, it is now made of talc. Chalk was traditionally used in recreation. In field sports, such as tennis played on grass, powdered chalk was used to mark the boundary lines of the playing field or court.
If a ball hits the line, a cloud of chalk or p
Krzemionki Krzemionki Opatowskie, is a Neolithic and early Bronze Age complex of flint mines for the extraction of Upper Jurassic banded flints located about eight kilometers north-east of the Polish city of Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. It is one of the largest known complex of prehistoric flint mines in Europe together with Grimes Graves in England and Spiennes in Belgium; the flint mining in Krzemionki began about 3900 BC and lasted until about 1600 BC. During Neolithic times the mine was used by members of the Funnelbeaker culture who spread the flint mining area far up to 300 km; the Globular Amphora Culture used the pits and more intensely, enlarging the area of exploration to about 500 km. The site is a Polish historic monument, as designated October 16, 1994, its listing is maintained by the National Heritage Board of Poland. The mining area is 4.5 km long and 25 -- 180 m covering an area of 78.5 ha. There are more than 4000 mine shafts known with depths of 9 meters deep with wells measuring from four to twelve metres in diameter.
Some of the shafts are connected by short horizontal passage for the purposes of access or drainage called adits. They are 55 – 120 cm in height covering an area of about 4.5 km. Rare Neolithic pictures are engraved on the walls of some of these adits; the flint at Krzemionki was exploited from the 4th millennium through the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE by people of the Linearbandkeramik, Globular Amphora and Mierzanowice cultures who excavated flint by hatchets. Banded flints from Krzemionki were used for the manufacture of axes and chisels. Abundant quantities of these tools were traded as far away as 660 km from the Krzemionki mines; the main period of the mines' exploitation was 2500-2000 BCE. Flint mining at Krzemionki began to decline beginning in 1800-1600 BCE. In following centuries, the Krzemionki mining district was only sporadically visited; the village near the mines was mentioned first in 1509 and was owned by a man named Jakub from Szydłowiec. The area's numerous small limestone quarries were used for lime production during the first half of the 20th century.
The mines were discovered in 1922 by geologist Jan Samsonowicz. Archaeological investigations headed by archaeologist Stefan Krukowski began in 1923. After the Second World War, the head of the scientific team was Tadeusz Żurowski who explored the mines in Krzemionki in 1958 - 1961. In 1967, the Krzemionki mines were designated an archaeological reserve and, in 1995, a natural reserve. Small groups of tourists have visited the Krzemionki mines since the late 1950s; the mines were opened to large-scale tourism on 11 June 1985. On 10 June 1990 a second underground tourist route was opened and an open-air archaeological museum was dedicated in 1992; the underground tourist route is 11.5 m deep at its deepest point. Krzemionki Museum Website
Flint is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz, categorized as a variety of chert. It occurs chiefly as nodules and masses such as chalks and limestones. Inside the nodule, flint is dark grey, green, white or brown in colour, has a glassy or waxy appearance. A thin layer on the outside of the nodules is different in colour white and rough in texture. From a petrological point of view, "flint" refers to the form of chert which occurs in chalk or marly limestone. "common chert" occurs in limestone. Flint is durable and can be found along streams and beaches, its use to make stone tools dates back millions of years. Due to some properties of flint it breaks into sharp edged pieces making it useful for knife blades and other sharp tools. During the Stone Age access to flint was so important for survival that people would travel or trade to obtain flint. Flint Ridge in eastern Ohio was an important source of flint and Native Americans extracted the flint from hundreds of quarries along the ridge.
This "Ohio Flint" was traded across the eastern United States and has been found as far west as the Rocky Mountains and south around the Gulf of Mexico. The exact mode of formation of flint is not yet clear, but it is thought that it occurs as a result of chemical changes in compressed sedimentary rock formations, during the process of diagenesis. One hypothesis is that a gelatinous material fills cavities in the sediment, such as holes bored by crustaceans or molluscs and that this becomes silicified; this hypothesis explains the complex shapes of flint nodules that are found. The source of dissolved silica in the porous media could be the spicules of silicious sponges. Certain types of flint, such as that from the south coast of England, contain trapped fossilised marine flora. Pieces of coral and vegetation have been found preserved like amber inside the flint. Thin slices of the stone reveal this effect. Puzzling giant flint formations known as paramoudra and flint circles are found around Europe but in Norfolk, England on the beaches at Beeston Bump and West Runton.
Flint sometimes occurs in large flint fields for example, in Europe. The "Ohio flint" is the official gemstone of Ohio state, it is formed from limey debris, deposited at the bottom of inland Paleozoic seas hundreds of millions of years ago that hardened into limestone and became infused with silica. The flint from Flint Ridge is found in many hues like red, pink, blue and gray, with the color variations caused by minute impurities of iron compounds. Flint was used in the manufacture of tools during the Stone Age as it splits into thin, sharp splinters called flakes or blades when struck by another hard object; this process is referred to as knapping. The process of making tools this way is called "flintknapping". In Europe, some of the best toolmaking flint has come from Belgium, the coastal chalks of the English Channel, the Paris Basin, Thy in Jutland, the Sennonian deposits of Rügen, Grimes Graves in England, the Upper Cretaceous chalk formation of Dobruja and the lower Danube, the Cenomanian chalky marl formation of the Moldavian Plateau and the Jurassic deposits of the Kraków area and Krzemionki in Poland, as well as of the Lägern in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland.
Flint mining became more common since the Neolithic. In 1938, a project of the Ohio Historical Society, under the leadership of H. Holmes Ellis began to study the flintknapping "methods and techniques" of Native Americans. Like past studies, this work involved experimenting with actual flintknapping techniques by creation of stone tools through the use of techniques like direct freehand percussion, freehand pressure and pressure using a rest. Other scholars who have conducted similar experiments and studies include William Henry Holmes, Alonzo W. Pond, Sir Francis H. S. Knowles and Don Crabtree; when struck against steel, a flint edge produces. The hard flint edge shaves off a particle of the steel that exposes iron, which reacts with oxygen from the atmosphere and can ignite the proper tinder. Prior to the wide availability of steel, rocks of pyrite would be used along with the flint, in a similar way; these methods are popular in woodcraft and amongst people practising traditional fire-starting skills.
A major use of flint and steel was in the flintlock mechanism, used in flintlock firearms, but used on dedicated fire-starting tools. A piece of flint held in the jaws of a spring-loaded hammer, when released by a trigger, strikes a hinged piece of steel at an angle, creating a shower of sparks and exposing a charge of priming powder; the sparks ignite the priming powder and that flame, in turn, ignites the main charge, propelling the ball, bullet, or shot through the barrel. While the military use of the flintlock declined after the adoption of the percussion cap from the 1840s onward, flintlock rifles and shotguns remain in use amongst recreational shooters. Flint and steel used to strike sparks were superseded by ferrocerium; this man-made material, when scraped with any hard, sharp edge, produces sparks that are much hotter than obtained with natural flint and steel, allowing use of a wider range of tinders. Because it can produce sparks when wet and can start fires
The Fens known as the Fenlands, are a coastal plain in eastern England. This natural marshy region supported a rich ecology and numerous species, as well as absorbing storms. Most of the fens were drained several centuries ago, resulting in a flat, low-lying agricultural region supported by a system of drainage channels and man-made rivers and automated pumping stations. There have been unintended consequences to this reclamation, as the land level has continued to sink and the dykes must be built higher to protect it from flooding. A fen is the local term for an individual area of former marshland, it designates the type of marsh typical of the area, which has neutral or alkaline water chemistry and large quantities of dissolved minerals, but few other plant nutrients. Fenland lies around the coast of the Wash, occupying an area of nearly 1,500 sq mi in Lincolnshire and Norfolk. Most of the Fenland lies within a few metres of sea level; as with similar areas in the Netherlands, much of the Fenland consisted of fresh- or salt-water wetlands.
These have been artificially drained and continue to be protected from floods by drainage banks and pumps. With the support of this drainage system, the Fenland has become a major arable agricultural region in Britain for grains and vegetables; the Fens are fertile, containing around half of the grade 1 agricultural land in England. The Fens have been referred to as the "Holy Land of the English" because of the former monasteries, now churches and cathedrals, of Crowland, Peterborough and Thorney. Other significant settlements in the Fens include Boston, Cambridge and Wisbech; the Fens are low-lying compared with the chalk and limestone uplands that surround them – in most places no more than 10 m above sea level. As a result of drainage and the subsequent shrinkage of the peat fens, many parts of the Fens now lie below mean sea level. Although one writer in the 17th century described the Fenland as above sea level, the area now includes the lowest land in the United Kingdom. Holme Fen in Cambridgeshire, is around 2.75 metres below sea level.
Within the Fens are a few hills, which have been called "islands", as they remained dry when the low-lying fens around them were flooded. The largest of the fen-islands is the Isle of Ely, on which the cathedral city of Ely was built: its highest point is 39 m above mean sea level. Without artificial drainage and flood protection, the Fens would be liable to periodic flooding in winter due to the heavy load of water flowing down from the uplands and overflowing the rivers; some areas of the Fens were once permanently flooded, creating small lakes or meres, while others were flooded only during periods of high water. In the pre-modern period, arable farming was limited to the higher areas of the surrounding uplands, the fen islands, the so-called "Townlands", an arch of silt ground around the Wash, where the towns had their arable fields. Though these lands were lower than the peat fens before the peat shrinkage began, the more stable silt soils were reclaimed by medieval farmers and embanked against any floods coming down from the peat areas or from the sea.
The rest of the Fenland was dedicated to pastoral farming, fishing and the harvesting of reeds or sedge for thatch. In this way, the medieval and early modern Fens stood in contrast to the rest of southern England, an arable agricultural region. Since the advent of modern drainage in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Fens have been radically transformed. Today arable farming has entirely replaced pastoral; the economy of the Fens is invested in the production of crops such as grains and some cash crops such as rapeseed and canola. Drainage in the Fenland consists of both river drainage and internal drainage of the land between the rivers; the internal drainage was organised by levels or districts, each of which includes the fen parts of one or several parishes. The details of the organisation vary with the history of their development, but the areas include: The Great Level of the Fens is the largest region of fen in eastern England: including the lower drainage basins of the River Nene and the Great Ouse, it covers about 500 sq mi.
It is known as the Bedford Level, after Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford, who headed the so-called adventurers in the 17th-century drainage in this area. In the 17th century, the Great Level was divided into the North and South Levels for the purposes of administration and maintenance. In the 20th century, these levels have been given new boundaries; the South Level lies to the southeast of the Ouse Washes and surrounds Ely, as it did in the 17th century. The Middle Level lies between the Ouse Washes and the Nene, but was defined as between the Ouse Washes and Morton's Leam, a 15th-century canal that runs north of the town of Whittlesey; the North Level now includes all of the fens in Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire between the Nene and the River Welland. It included only a small part of these lands, including the ancient parishes of Thorney and Crowland, but excluding most of Wisbech Hundred and Lincolnshire, which were under their own local jurisdictions. Deeping Fen, in the southern part of Lincolnshire, lies between the River Welland and the River Glen with its tributary the Bourne Eau.
The Black Sluice District, much of, known as the Lindsey Level when it was first drained in 1639, extends from the Glen and Bou
A midden is an old dump for domestic waste which may consist of animal bone, human excrement, botanical material, mollusc shells, sherds and other artifacts and ecofacts associated with past human occupation. These features, provide a useful resource for archaeologists who wish to study the diet and habits of past societies. Middens with damp, anaerobic conditions can preserve organic remains in deposits as the debris of daily life are tossed on the pile; each individual toss will contribute a different mix of materials depending upon the activity associated with that particular toss. During the course of deposition sedimentary material is deposited as well. Different mechanisms, from wind and water to animal digs, create a matrix which can be analyzed to provide seasonal and climatic information. In some middens individual dumps of material can be analysed. A shell midden or shell mound is an archaeological feature consisting of mollusk shells; the Danish term køkkenmøddinger was first used by Japetus Steenstrup to describe shell heaps and continues to be used by some researchers.
A midden, by definition, contains the debris of human activity, should not be confused with wind or tide created beach mounds. Some shell middens are processing remains: areas where aquatic resources were processed directly after harvest and prior to use or storage in a distant location; some shell middens are directly associated as a designated village dump site. In other middens, the material is directly associated with a house in the village; each household would dump its garbage directly outside the house. In all cases, shell middens are complex and difficult to excavate and exactly; the fact that they contain a detailed record of what food was eaten or processed and many fragments of stone tools and household goods makes them invaluable objects of archaeological study. Shells have a high calcium carbonate content; this slows the normal rate of decay caused by soil acidity, leaving a high proportion of organic material available for archaeologists to find. Edward Sylvester Morse conducted one of the first archaeological excavations of shellmounds in Omori, Japan in 1877, which led to the discovery of a style of pottery described as "cord-marked", translated as "Jōmon", which came to be used to refer to the early period of Japanese history when this style of pottery was produced.
Shell middens were studied in Denmark in the latter half of the 19th century. The Danish word køkkenmødding is now used internationally; the English word "midden" derives from the same Old Norse word. Shell middens are found in lakeshore zones all over the world. Consisting of mollusc shells, they are interpreted as being the waste products of meals eaten by nomadic groups or hunting parties; some are small examples relating to meals had by a handful of individuals, others are many metres in length and width and represent centuries of shell deposition. In Brazil, they are known as sambaquis, having been created over a long period between the 6th millennium BC and the beginning of European colonisation. European shell middens are found along the Atlantic seaboard and in Denmark and date to the 5th millennium BC, containing the remains of the earliest Neolithisation process. Younger shell middens are found in Latvia, the Netherlands and Schleswig Holstein. All these are examples where communities practiced hunting/gathering economy.
On Canada's west coast, there are shell middens that run for more than a kilometer along the coast and are several meters deep. The midden in Namu, British Columbia is over 9 meters deep and spans over 10,000 years of continuous occupation. Shell middens created in coastal regions of Australia by indigenous Australians exist in Australia today. Middens provide evidence of prior occupation and are protected from mining and other developments. One must exercise caution in deciding whether one is examining a beach mound. There are good examples on the Freycinet Peninsula in Tasmania where wave action is combining charcoal from forest fire debris with a mix of shells into masses that storms deposit above high-water mark. Shell mounds near Weipa in far north Queensland that are less than 2 meters high and a few tens of meters long are claimed to be middens, but are in fact shell cheniers re-worked by nest mound-building birds. Shell mounds are credited with the creation of tropical hardwood hammocks, one example being the Otter mound preserve in Florida, where shell deposits from Calusa natives provided flood free high areas in otherwise large watered areas.
There are instances in which shell middens may have doubled as areas of ceremonial construction or ritual significance. The Woodland period Crystal River site provides an example of this phenomenon; some shell mounds, known as shell rings, are open arcs with a clear central area. Many are known from Japan and the southeastern United States, at least one from South America; the word is of Scandinavian via Middle English derivation.