Upper Palaeolithic Europe.
13,000 years BPE.
The Magdalenian culture, which is recognised as existing in Western Europe between 17,000 and 12,000 years ago, is often referred to by archaeologists as the bone age, due to the propensity of its inhabitants to work in bone, ivory and other perishable materials rather than flint and stone.
It was also an epoch of considerable creative endeavour. Many of the famous painted caves were created at this time, and beautiful carvings of reindeer in mammoth ivory have been recovered.
Indeed, it was during the Magdalenian epoch that the mammoth became extinct in Europe, and reindeer played a major part in this culture's survival.
In this illustration I have depicted hunters crossing a frozen river, their passage thwarted by fallen birch trees, their reindeer quarry swimming across a break in the ice. One of the hunters carries a hare, possibly caught by the dog they have brought to assist them, with evidence existing to suggest it was at about this time that dogs were first domesticated. Long spears would have been useful in testing the depth of the snow.
The men wear reindeer skin tunics, the fur turned inward. They might well have lined their shoes with grass, and worn ponchos of the same material to keep dry. This is purely conjecture, as none of these materials come down to us from so remote a time in prehistory. However, the chance discovery of an early Bronze Age traveller mummified in a glacier some several thousand years later, indicates these practices in the mountains, and the inhabitants of Ice Age Europe would have recognised every potential survival strategy to promote their lives.
Acrylic painting on board
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