Venus of Tan-Tan
The Venus of Tan-Tan is an alleged artifact found in Morocco. It and its contemporary, the Venus of Berekhat Ram, have been claimed as the earliest representations of the human form. Critics, notably Professor Stanley Ambrose of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, contend the rock's shape is the result of natural weathering and erosion which coincidentally produced a remotely human-like object, i.e., a geofact.
The object is a 6cm-long piece of quartzite rock dated to the Middle Acheulean period, between 300,000 and 500,000 years ago, which some have interpreted as a depiction of the human form, gender indeterminate and faceless. It was discovered in 1999, during an archaeological survey by Lutz Fiedler, state archaeologist of Hesse, Germany, in a river terrace deposit on the north bank of the Draa River a few kilometers south of the Moroccan town of Tan-Tan.
According to its discoverer and others, e.g. Robert Bednarik, the object had been created by natural geological processes giving it a general human-like shape that was recognized by early man and was taken as a manuport. Then it was accentuated by carving it with a stone-wedge; "a greasy substance" on the stone's surface containing iron and manganese may be remnants of red ochre pigments used by humans to further accentuate the human-like form.
- Rincon, Paul (23 May 2003). "'Oldest sculpture' found in Morocco". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- Robert G. Bednarik retrieved:16/09/2011
- See for instance:
Robert G. Bednarik. 2003. A figurine from the African Acheulian. Current Anthropology 44(3): 405-13.
Robert G. Bednarik. 2003. The earliest evidence of paleoart. Rock Art Research 20 (2): 89-135.
Resources for the study of art history. Part 1 Prehistoric Art