Ancient Carvings of Nude Females Promote Wild Scientific ASSumptions


Okay, so maybe carvings of female figurines 15,000 years old reveal the preferred body shape for women was curvy with prominent buttocks. Or maybe, as the social anthropologist says, these were spiritual images (can’t they be the same thing?). But, jaysus, does anyone else ever get annoyed that no one ever even once seems to consider the possibility that maybe women carved these things?

From New Scientist magazine:

Romuald Schild of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw and colleagues have uncovered 30 flint female figurines from an ancient hunting site near the village of Wilczyce in central Poland. Hunter-gatherer men whittled these voluptuous female figures in their spare time.

Preserved in ice, the figurines were part of a haul of over 10,000 artifacts, including animal bones, beads made from Arctic fox teeth, and bone needles. The site is thought to have been an autumn or winter camp for a hunter-gatherer tribe.

All of the figurines were headless and had hugely exaggerated buttocks. Perhaps strangely, given their allure today, few of the figures had breasts.

This bottom-heavy shape ties in with northern European stone carvings and cave engravings of women from a similar period.

However, the figurines may have expressed more than just men’s desires. “It is hard to say if this body shape was a social preference or if it represented a spiritual image,” says Nanneke Redclift, a social anthropologist at University College London.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.