THE OLDEST PORTABLE ART:
the Aurignacian Ivory Figurines
from the Swabian Jura (Southwest Germany)
Four cave sites in the Swabian Jura have yielded a spectacular array of portable art: Hohle Fels, Geißenklösterle, Vogelherd, and Hohlenstein-Stadel. Some of these ivory figurines are well known, and others less so. In all, about fifty such objects or fragments of objects are known from the region. They occur in the same archaeological levels where have been found musical instruments (flutes) and early examples of painting. Drawing on recent research as well as archival records from earlier excavations, this contribution chose a simple question-and-answer format in order to revisit issues of the interpretation of Aurignacian portable art objects, which constitute some of the earliest known representational artifacts in Europe, and perhaps the world. Subjects addressed include informations about raw materials, iconography, dating, context and the possible social foundations underlying the production and use of these objects.