The Aurignacian is a term used to describe archaeological industry of the upper paleolithic in Europe. From 43 to 26,000 years ago

Named after a site in Aurignac, southwestern France. Significant discoveries were made here. This period represents an important phase in human prehistory. Including the first European culture of modern humans.

Characterized by several notable features:

Aurignacian proper lasted from about 37,000 to 33,000 years ago. A Late Aurignacian phase transitional with the Gravettian includes The cave of
Aurignac, Haute-Garonne, in south-west France. Main preceding period is mousteiran and neanderthals.

One of the oldest examples of figurative art, the Venus of Hohle Felt, comes from the Aurignacian
Discovered in Sept 2008. At a cave in Schelklingen, Baden-Württemberg, western Germany.

Pendants, bracelets, ivory beads, as well as three-dimensional figurines were also made. These ornaments suggest the development of symbolic and aesthetic interests.

Many animal figurines were discovered
Tens of thousand year old horses, mammoth and other ivory figurines were found in the Vogelherd Cave in Germany.

Others included now-extinct mammals: rhinosauruses, and tarpans (horses). What were probably reminders of there food, tools and survival supply.

One of the horses, amongst six tiny mammoth and horse
ivory figures found previously at Vogelherd, was sculpted as skillfully as any piece found throughout the upper Palaeolithic. The production of ivory beads for body ornamentation was also important during the Aurignacian. The famous paintings in Chauvet cave date from this period.

The people from this culture also produced some of the first cave art
Animal engravings such as Trois Freres, and paintings at chauvet cave. Provide examples of the originality of early humans in SW France.

They even had bone flutes
Found in Germany’s Swabian Alb. A flute was made from a vulture’s wing bone. (M. Others had been found in Abri Blanchard SW France.

They moved with Reindeer herds. The tool industry included many bone and antler points
Flint tools included fine blades and bladelets. Struck from prepped stone cores. Perforated or modified throwing rods, shaft wrenches, thought to improve spear throwing. Were also found at their sites. It was unlike mousterian and Acheulean who used stone flakes rather than blades from prepped cores.

It believed there sophistication make them the first modern humans of Europe
Many of the above support this evidence. There were indications of art, music and many other developments of culture. There tools were well-crafted and designed for a wide range of specific purposes. Such as hunting, cutting, and carving.

Aurignacian culture is significant. It marks a transition in human prehistory during the paleolithic period. This transition is characterized by a cultural and technological shift. Like cave drawings, art, music and hunting. And, is reflected in the increasing cognitive and artistic abilities that are shown. The art and tools from this period provide insights into the cognitive and creative capacities of these ancient populations. That despite challenges, reflect their ability to adapt to different environments and lead on.


Wood, Bernard, ed. (2011). “Aurignacian” ( Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Human Evolution. John Wiley.
ISBN 9781444342475.

Milisauskas, Sarunas (2012-12-06). European Prehistory: A Survey ( ISBN 9781461507512

Finds from the Vogelherd cave (
Archived (
) at the Wayback Machine

Blades, B (2003). “End scraper reduction and hunter-gatherer mobility”. American Antiquity. 68
(1): 141–156. doi:10.2307/3557037 ( JSTOR 3557037 (http
s:// S2CID 164106990 (

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