The Elements of Evolution (80-1) Dolní Vĕstonice

 Dolní Vĕstonice

Dolní Vĕstonice is in southern Moravia, in the Czech Republic – situated at the confluence of 2 valleys, located along a stream. It was once a migration route for woolly mammoth. A tribe of Cro-Magnon appreciated that for both meat and material.

Dolní Vĕstonice was settled 29 TYA. The village thrived for thousands of years. Homes were constructed. One building was first dug out from a slope. Then a roof was supported with timber set into postholes. Walls were made of packed clay and stones. Animal skins sewn together were occasionally used to create partitions within a hut.

Mammoth bones were sometimes used to construct houses, and for fences. Huts congregated together within a fenced enclosure. A hut might house 20–25 people. Homes were heated by hearths which were the center of family life.

Flint tools were produced. Mammoth bone and ivory were also employed to craft various implements.

A kiln was used for firing clay. The clay was not just mud from the stream. Earth was carefully mixed with powdered bone to spread heat evenly, to fire the clay into a rock-hard material. Pottery was reinvented 9,000 years later in China.

Residents made ceramic figurines of animals and humans, some of which were ritualistically broken. Stylized female figures were repeatedly made. These Venuses likely had symbolic meaning.

Mammoth ivory was carved into figurative shapes. Portraitures were engraved.

Residents plaited baskets and wove fabric from plant fibers. Looms were used to make cloth.

The culture there was facilitated by the fact that people were living longer. The elderly were highly influential in society. Grandparents assisted in childcare.

Numerous artifacts show the practice of shamanism. The remains of one elderly woman’s burial indicates her being held in high spiritual esteem.

Residents buried their dead with ceremony: painting various body parts and packing along artifacts. One child was buried with a necklace of fox teeth, the skull covered with red ochre, with the body beneath mammoth shoulder blades. Families were interred together.