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Venus of Petřkovice

The Venus of Petřkovice or Landecká Venuše is a pre-historic Venus figurine, a mineral statuette of a nude female figure, dated to about 23,000 BCE (Gravettian industry) in what is today the Czech Republic. It was found within the current city limits of Ostrava-Petřkovice, Silesia, in the Czech Republic, by archaeologist Bohuslav Klíma on 14 July 1953. It was beneath a mammoth molar at an ancient settlement of mammoth hunters. Many stone artifacts and skeletal fragments were also found nearby. The statue measures 4.5 x 1.5 x 1.4 cm and is a headless torso of a woman carved from iron ore (hematite). Uniquely, the absence of the head appears to be the author's intention. Also, unlike other prehistoric Venus figurines, it shows a slender young woman or girl with small breasts.

Petřkovice is a quarter of the city of Ostrava, the third largest city in the Czech Republic (about 300,000 inhabitants), situated in the north-east of the country. The site of the finding is located on a forested hill called Landek. In Petřkovice, there is also a mining museum called Landek Park, because the area has a long tradition of bituminous coal mining. It has been proved that the people who created the Venus of Petřkovice also burnt bituminous coal in their hearths. It was the first documented use of bituminous coal in human (pre-)history.

 

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They Venus of Petřkovice are de facto two, but Venus No. 2 is not artistically well elaborated. She therefore is not so presented and known.

 

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on the left is the second Venus
 

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second Venus

 

West and Central Europe were extremely cold during this period. Archaeologists usually describe two regional variants: the western Gravettian, known mainly from cave sites in France, Spain and Britain, and the eastern Gravettian in Central Europe and Russia. The eastern Gravettians, which include the Pavlovian culture, were specialized mammoth hunters, whose remains are usually found not in caves but in open air sites.

 

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the site of discovery of Venus

 

Literature: Leslie G. Freeman (ed.), Views of the Past: Essays in Old World Prehistory and Paleanthropology, Mounton Publishers, 1978, ISBN 90-279-7670-8.