Download the Lecture: Late Ice Age Europe 1:04:40 (mp3)
Hallam L. Movius, Jr. Lecture
Hunters and Artists of Late Ice Age Europe: The Magdalenian World
(Cambridge, February 11, 2010) Near the end of the last Ice Age, glacial ice sheets in Europe retreated, and people could finally expand beyond their Ice Age refuges. How would they adapt to their new environment?
The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology presents the Hallam L. Movius, Jr. lecture by archaeologist Lawrence Guy Straus titled “Hunters and Artists of Late Ice Age Europe: The Magdalenian World” on Thursday March 11, 2010 at 5:30 PM, followed by a free public reception.
With elaborate tools such as spear throwers, bows-and-arrows, nets, needles, harpoons and stone-boiling, people of the Magdalenian period (about 20,500 to 13,500 years ago) were very much "gadget-driven" in adapting to their new environment. Modern genetic research has recently confirmed that people, like plants and animals, began expanding beyond their refuges in southern France and regions of Iberia. In the Magdalenian (long touted as the most “brilliant” of the classic Upper Paleolithic periods), people reconquered the uplands of southern Europe and moved back into northern France, England, Switzerland, the Low Countries and Germany, eventually reaching the Baltic. They created and maintained vast social networks as shown by portable art objects, exotic minerals, fossils, and sea shells found far from their places of origin.
Some of the greatest cave art dates to this period: Altamira, Tito Bustillo, Ekain, Las Monedas, Covaciella in Cantabrian Spain; and Niaux, Les Trois-Frères, Le Tuc d'Audoubert in the French Pyrenées. Recent discoveries by Straus and his colleagues at the major Magdalenian site of El Mirón Cave in the Cantabrian Mountains show how regional styles in both rock and portable art clearly defined distinct social territories (often with very different regional ecologies, major game species and thus human settlement-subsistence strategies). The discoveries will be featured in Straus’ illustrated presentation.
Lawrence Straus has been a professor of anthropology for nearly 35 years at the University of New Mexico. He is a specialist in the Paleolithic prehistory of Western Europe and recently excavated Spain’s El Mirón cave, a large site in the Cantabrian Mountains. Straus is the editor of the Journal of Anthropological Research.
About the Peabody Museum
The Peabody Museum is among the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world with one of the finest collections of human cultural history found anywhere. It is home to superb materials from Africa, ancient Europe, North America, Mesoamerica, Oceania, and South America in particular. In addition to its archaeological and ethnographic holdings, the Museum’s photographic archives, one of the largest of its kind, hold more than 500,000 historical photographs, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and chronicling anthropology, archaeology, and world culture.
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