origins:more homo erectus art

Glenn Morton (
Sat, 16 Nov 1996 22:47:54

I ran into the following a few weeks ago. It is the report of an art work by
Homo erectus. I can read a little French, understand spoken Chinese, but
German, the language of my Great grandmother is beyond me. I had a fut
ure missionary to Germany translate the passage for me. The passage makes
reference to a large vertebrate animal drawn by Homo erectus in Bilzingsleben
Germany. I include the German first, the translation second.

I would like to say something about the translator, Bob Cox. I got to know him
over the past couple of years as he has been raising support to go to Germany.
While he does not agree with me in my views, I must say that
he is the only person I have ever met in my life who lives his life in a way
that is above reproach. As many know, I am rather a cynical fellow not given
to the praising of Christians. This is the only fellow I have ev
er known with whom I simply can find no fault with. I have never seen this guy
get mad and lose his cool, even in situations that made me and all the others
boil. His love for the Lord is far beyond anything I have ever s
een in my entire life. If you ever get a chance to meet him take advantage of

The following is the German text followed by Bob's translation,

"Bei den Ausgrabungen auf dem altsteinzeitlichen Wohnplatz bei Bilzingsleben
an der Wipper im Thuringer Becken sind nun tatsachlich symbolhafte Zeichen und
sogar figurale Darstellungen entdeckt worden, die mit einem Alter von
wenigstens 250000 Jahren dem Ursprung der kunst schon weit naher kommen. Es
handelt sich durchweg um Ritzungen und Schnittlinien auf Knochen. So sind in
eine Rippe in Jeweils drei Ansatzen parallele und auBerdem divergierend
angeordnete Linien PlanmaBig eingeschnitten worden. Auf einem anderen groBen
Knochenstuck erkennt man u.a. hakenformige Zeichen, und einige Linien sind
sogar schon als Darstellung eines groBen Wirbeltiers zu deuten. Erscheinen
uns diese Manifestationen auch aBerst primitive, so sind sie doch schon
Ausdruck einer spezifisch geistigen Auseinandersetzung der Menschen mit ihrer
naturlichen und gesellschaftlichen Umwelt. Ihnen liegen bestimmte Emotionen
und Vorstellungen zugrunde; sie zeugen von hohem Abstraktionsvermogen und der
Fahigkeit, mittels gegenstandlicher (und sicher auch sprachlicher) Symbole
Ideen, Weltauffassungen zu formulieren und auszutauschen. Produzent dieser
fruhen Kunst war der Homo erectus, noch vot dem Neandertaler! Dieser erweist
sich somit als vollwertiger Mensch mit relativ weit entwickeltem
gesellschaftlichem und eben auch schon kunstlerischem BewuBtsein. Ohne
Zweifel gibt es auch im Material anderer und zwar noch weit alterer
Fundstellen bisher unerkannte Zeugnisse kunstlerischer Betatigung."von Rudolf
Feustel, in H. Muller-Beck and G. Albrecht eds. 1987 Die Anfange der Kunst
vor 30,000 Jahren. pp 60-63

Dear Glenn,
I've been able to look at your article the last couple of evenings for a
spell. Here's a rough translation of the article that you sent. Sorry that
there was not a specific animal that was mentioned. It was cited as a
"vertebrate animal" (Wirbeltier). The gist of the article was that artistic
expression was part of the homo erectus culture. I hope that this helps you
in your search.
Sorry I was unable to touch it earlier. We're praying for you and Debi.
Take care brother.

"Near the excavations on the ancient stone-aged living area close to
Bilzingsleben on the Wipper in Becken of Thuringia, genuine meaningful
symbols, and what is more, ornate representations were discovered which
come from the age of atleast 250,000 years from the source of
art...[idiomatic expression]. It normally occurs with scratches and cut
lines on bones. Thus there are in each case on a rib three parallel initial
markings, and with the exception of the divergently arranged lines, they
were methodically carved. On another large piece of bone one notices also
another hooked symbol and some lines which are a depiction to signify a
large vertebrate animal. These manifestations though primitive show us that
there is already expression of a specific intellectual exchange of people
with their natural and social environment. With them are associated
definite emotions and conceptions which give evidence of high abstract
abilities and the capability by means of concrete (and certainly also
linguistic) symbolic ideas to formulate and exchange understanding of the
world. The producer of this early art was the homo erectus, even [before?]
the Neanderthal man. This one proves himself thusly to be a full human
being with relatively widely developing social and even already artistic
consciousness. Without doubt there are also in the physical data of another
and certainly a yet far older discovery place evidences of artistic
activity unknown until now."

This would be the third possible artwork by H. erectus. The other two are the
Golan Venus figurine and the chipped pebble found by Mary Leakey. It would
appear that H. erectus, contrary to what Christians have often taught was a
sensitive soul with an artistic nature. The only problem was that few pieces
have survived to the present day.


Foundation,Fall and Flood