Oldest sculpture
Venus of Hohle Fels
Germany (Schelklingen)
In September 2008, excavations at Hohle Fels Cave in the Swabian Jura of southwestern Germany uncovered a female figurine carved from Mammoth ivory. This figurine has been accepted by experts as the earliest ever depiction of a human, and the oldest known example of figurative art. It was found in the basal Aurignacian geological deposits dating this figure to somewhere between 35,000 and 40,000 years ago – an estimate subsequently confirmed by radio-carbon dating. This discovery radically changes our views of the context and meaning of the earliest Paleolithic art. Unlike previous carvings of likenesses of animals into bone and rock, this depiction of the voluptuous female form – known as the Venus of Hohle Fels – incorporates both biological accuracy and abstract form, meeting all the requirements for true art sculpture.