Madelenian

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The Madelenian is the third epoch of Gabriel de Mortillet's cave chronology system, corresponding roughly to the Late Pleistocene.

The period is named after La Madeleine, a cave near the river Vézère in France.[1]

Period biology[edit]

The Madelenian epoch was a long one, represented by numerous stations, whose contents show progress in the arts and general culture. It was characterized by a cold and dry climate, the existence of man in association with the reindeer, and the extinction of the mammoth. The use of bone and ivory for various implements, already begun in the preceding Solutrian epoch, was much increased, and the period is essentially a Bone age. The bone instruments are quite varied: spear-points; harpoon-heads, borers, hooks and needles.

Most remarkable is the evidence La Madeleine affords of prehistoric art. Numbers of bones, reindeer antlers and animal teeth were found, with rude pictures, carved or etched on them, of seals, fishes, reindeer, mammoths and other creatures. The best of these are a mammoth engraved on a fragment of its own ivory;[dubious ] a dagger of reindeer antler, with a handle in form of a reindeer; a cave-bear cut on a flat piece of schist; a seal on a bear's tooth; a fish drawn on a reindeer antler; and a complete picture, also on reindeer antler, showing horses, an aurochs, trees, and a snake biting a man's leg. The man is naked which, together with the snake, suggests a warm climate, in spite of the presence of the reindeer.

The fauna of the Madelenian epoch seems, indeed, to have included tigers and other tropical species side by side with reindeer, blue foxes, Arctic hares and other polar creatures. Madelenian man appears to have been of low stature, dolichocephalic, with low retreating forehead and prominent brow ridges.

Besides La Madeleine, the chief stations of the epoch are Les Eyzies, Laugerie-Basse, and Gorges d'Enfer in Dordogne; Grotte du Placard in Charente and others in south-west France.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Report upon the condition and progress of the U.S. National Museum. US National Museum. 1890. pp. 615–6. 

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.