Ignatievka cave (Ignateva cave, Ignatievskaya cave, Russian: Игнатьевская пещера, also known as Yamazy-Tash) is a large limestone cave on the banks of the Sim River, a tributary of the Belaya river in the southern Ural mountains of Russia. It was in 1980 the site of the discovery of a wall painting of a venus figure, with twenty-eight red dots between her legs that are believed to represent the female menstrual cycle. The cave also contains microliths, remains of animals, and many other cave paintings, as well as a layer of Iron Age materials. Although some sources date the paintings in the cave to the Upper Paleolithic, radiocarbon dating of the pigments in the paintings places their origin more recently, between 6000 and 8000 years ago.
Ignateva Cave can be freely visited although it is best to travel via the small village of Serpiyevke, which is off the main road past Sim, Chelyabinsk Oblast heading eastwards, about 15 km. The track to the cave is very rough and has not been improved for years. The cave mouth is about 18m above the small river backwater and reached by a metal ladder. On entering the cave visitors must stoop low as the ceiling lowers quickly to about 1m in height, and then it increases again to 2m or more. Part of the inner cave can only be reached by crawling through a very narrow space about 0.5m in height but this provides views of some of the better red ochre markings. The local guide from Serpiyevke noted that the cave was not lived in (there were no fire markings), but hypothesized that it was a sacred site mainly used for religious ceremonies and adulthood rites from the markings.
Some 120 km from Ignatievka cave, the Kapova cave is located.
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- Shirokov, Vladimir (2002), Review of the Ural cave and rock art, The Northern Archaeological Congress[dead link]
- Rudgley, Richard (1998), Lost Civilisations of the Stone Age, Century, p. 196, ISBN 0-7126-7758-5.
- Blackledge, Catherine (2004), The Story of V: A Natural History of Female Sexuality, Rutgers University Press, p. 37, ISBN 0-8135-3455-0.
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- Steelman, K. L.; Rowe, M. W.; Shirokov, V. N.; Southon, J. R. (2002), "Radiocarbon dates for pictographs in Ignatievskaya Cave, Russia: Holocene age for supposed Pleistocene fauna", Antiquity, 76 (292): 341–348.
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