As it's International Women's Day today we thought it only right that we post a picture of the oldest representation of a woman yet discovered: the Venus of Hohle Fels. It was found in a cave with a bone flute which is the oldest known musical instrument.
Discovered fairly recently (in September 2008, so after this blog first appeared, but around the time of our post on the Venus of Dolni Vestonic) in the Swabian Alps in Germany the small (6cm) figure is carved out of Mammoth tusk. It has been dated to some 35,000 to 40,000 years old.
The figure has the usual large bust and pregnant looking belly of other prehistoric carvings but also an unusually anatomically rendered vulva. It has a ring instead of a head so could well have been worn as an amulet.
It is intriguing to wonder whether this was based on a real woman...