Mammoth hunters in Predmosti u Prerova

 

The Czech lands were settled in the Old Stone Age (the oldest find o the remains of man on Czech territory dates back 600.000 - 700.000 years ago), but more significant is evidence of the activities of the homo predmostensis aka "mammoth hunters" (especially from the Moravian localities of Predmostí u Prerova, Pavlov and Dolní Vestonice from 22.000 - 26.000 years ago): from both times, they are marked by traces of human working. The most old rumor about discovering of pleistocene bones in Predmosti u Prerova are from 16th century by great scholar Jan Blahoslav. In year 1928 was discovered bones in Predmosti excavations near Skalka rock by Moravian Museum with Karel Absolon and Antonin Telicka. .Paleoanthropological materials from Předmostí as human and mammoth bones, chipped industry tools and venus figurines were  recovered by J. Wankel in 1884, K. J. Maška in 1894 and M. Kříž in 1895

Homo predmostiensis

Homo predmostiensis which is a half-way between Homo neanderthalis and Homo sapiens and is also called “mammoth hunter” (his remains were found in Predmosti near Prerov in 1894) is believed to use wood for tool-making,shelter-building and hunting.

Prerov

In Prerov while sightseeing the old town center at the Upper Square visit the castle and the Komensky Museum, the oldest of its kind in the world. It contains archeological collections of mammoth hunters from Predmostí

Venus Figurines 

Female statuettes, sometimes called "Venus" figurines, have been found at a number of European sites.The female head at is rendered in a highly abstract style compared to animals. The plumpness and exaggerated sexual features of many of these figures, along with their faceless anonymity, suggest that they symbolize fertility. Examples of these sculptures portray several stages of womanhood, from pre-pubescence and pregnancy to advanced age. Many scientists says, that Venus figurines was the first pornography stuff in the history of the world.Highly stylised female figure engraved on a mammoth tusk. Predmosti is an open-air Palaeolithic site on the Becva river in Moravia, Czech Republic. The site includes the remains of 1,000 individual mammoths dated by radio-carbon to 26,870 bp. There is a mass grave of 20 people and a number of female figurines. The most remarkable is this engraving on mammoth ivory. Highly stylised - it clearly shows an understanding of abstract art and throws all of the cosy theories about "primitive art" out of the window. We cannot begin to understand the meaning of this figure to the people that made it. Many of the original Predmosti specimens were destroyed during World War II.

 

Accumulations of mammoth bones

Large accumulations of mammoth bones at Gravettian settlement sites are presently interpreted either as the remains of prey animals, or alternatively as natural agglomerations of carcasses, by which people founded camps in order to exploit them as tinder and raw material. The former notion fails to explain the common preponderance of large and heavy bones of unclear use in subsistence, while the latter is in sharp disagreement with what is known about the way of life of the proboscidians and of the hunting strategies. At the same time the bulky bones of the largest game animals, such as the antlers of cervids, appear noticeably frequently at settlements of even the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic. In the milieu of the Moravian Pavlovian, mammoth bones appear in extensive deposits by settlements and accompany the majority of surviving (i.e. sub-surface) graves; in the eastern European Epigravettian they are later found in the walls of dwellings and in their own pits. From an analysis of this situation it follows that in the drawing together of selected faunal remains both transcendental and representative motives played a role. The reasons why contemporary science takes no account of such subjective motives are unfortunately themselves subjective.

The myth of the mass grave

The myth of the mass grave at Předmostí u Přerova. On the burial customs of the moravian Gravettian). Archeologické rozhledy 53/2001, 3-29. Rés. en francais.
A detailed revision revealed that at Předmostí it was not a mass grave with complete skeletons, but probably a secondary deposit of the most representative and most coherent body parts. The original burials on or above the ground surface seems in the Upper Paleolithic to be dominant. Hitherto, in accordance with European cultural traditions, a burial has generally only been regarded as the inhumation of the whole human body. Finds of individual bones have been interpreted as the result of "non-ritual" ill treatment of remains, or alternatively as the remains of disturbed grave pits.

The chipped industry

The chipped industry appear rarely in the settlements and cemeteries of the Early Bronze age. On the other hand, in the Krumlovský les (Krumlov Forest) an area of several dozen hectares by chert workshops and mining shafts till 8 m deep was discovered. The unanticipated nature of this phenomenon leads to a sceptical view of the chances for the archeological identification of even mass activities of transcendental significance, particularly where such leave no large quantities of durable raw material behind.

 Radiocarbon dating of archeological artefacts

Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring isotope carbon-14 to determine the age of carbonaceous materials up to ca 60,000 years. One naturally-occurring radioactive material found in the atmosphere is carbon-14. As plants and animals use the air, their tissues absorb some of the carbon-14. After they die, though, they no longer absorb the carbon-14 and the material in their tissues starts to decay. Within archaeology it is considered an absolute dating technique. The technique was discovered by Willard Frank Libby and his colleagues in 1949. In 1960, Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for radiocarbon dating. Originally a Carbon-14 half-life of 5568±30 years was used, which is now known as the Libby half-life. Later a more accurate figure of 5730±40 years was determined, which is known as the Cambridge half-life. However laboratories continue to use the Libby figure to avoid inconsistencies when comparing raw dates and when using calibration curves to obtain calendarical dates. It has long been recognized that if radiocarbon atoms could be detected directly, rather than by waiting for their decay, smaller samples could be used for dating and older dates could be measured. A simple hypothetical example to illustrate this point is a sample containing only one atom of radiocarbon. To measure the age (that is, the abundance of radiocarbon), the sample can be placed into a mass spectrometer and that atom counted, or the sample can be placed into a Geiger counter and counted, requiring a wait on the average of 8,000 years (the mean life of radiocarbon) for the decay. In practice, neither the atoms nor the decays can be counted with 100% efficiency.