Researchers from the University of Vienna revealed the origin of the Venus of Willendorf, the enigmatic statuette that was found in Austria in 1908 and that would have been carved by humans in the Paleolithic, more than 30,000 years ago.
This 11-centimeter piece has always been the subject of speculation in the world of archaeology, especially because it represents an atypical female figure: it has no face or feet, it has short arms and the breasts and hips are disproportionate and large.
Now, research published in Scientific Reports claims that the Venus of Willendorf is made of oolite stone. This led scientists to conclude that the figure was not made in Austrian territory, since there are no reserves of said material in that place, so it is believed that the sculpture may have traveled from another area.
Thus, through microcomputerized tomography, those in charge of the investigation were able to observe the interior of the sculpture through its slots; They discovered that the figure does not look uniform.
Scientists found remains of Jurassic shells within the stone along with some larger, very dense grains known as limnes. This led them to conclude that the Venus of Willendorf was made from stones from Lake Garda in northern Italy.
This means that the statuette was transported some 400 kilometers, between the Alps and along the banks of the rivers of Europe.
“The people of the Gravettian period, the tool culture of the time, sought out and inhabited favorable places. When the climate or the situation of the dams changed, they moved, preferably along the rivers”, explains Gerhard Weber, one of the authors of this discovery.