Swimming Reindeer: Difference between revisions

Accuracy and grammar
(Undid unhelpful and confusing revision (its just that bit we know as France )842236142 by SUM1 (talk))
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The '''Swimming Reindeer''' is the name given to a 13,000-year-old [[Magdalenian]] sculpture of two swimming [[reindeer]] conserved in the [[British Museum]]. The sculpture was made in modern-day France by an unknown artist who carved the artwork from the tip of a [[mammoth]] [[tusk]]. The sculpture was found in two pieces in 1866, but it was not until the early 20th century that [[Henri Breuil|Abbé Henri Breuil]] realised that the two pieces fit together to form a single sculpture of two reindeer swimming nose-to-tail.<ref name="brad"/>
 
==Discovery==
The pieces of the sculpture were discovered by a French engineer, Peccadeau de l’Isle, in 1866 while he was trying to find evidence of early man on the banks of the [[Aveyron (river)|River Aveyron]], although contemporary accounts attributed the find to Victor Brun, a local antiquarian. At the time, de l'Isle was employed in the construction of a railway line from [[Montauban]] to [[Rodez]], and while digging for [[Artifact (archaeology)|artefacts]] in his spare time he found some [[prehistoric]] flint tools and several examples of late [[Ice Age]] prehistoric art near a hill called [[Montastruc, Tarn-et-Garonne|Montastruc]].<ref name="brad"/> The finds took the name "Montastruc", although the nearest village was [[Bruniquel]]. The hill was estimated to be {{convert|98|ft|m}} high, and the artefacts were found beneath an overhang that extended for about {{convert|46|ft|m}} along the river and enclosed an area of 298 square yards (249 m²). De l'Isle had to dig through {{convert|7|m|ft}} of material to get to the level where the artefacts were found.<ref>[https://archive.org/stream/primitiveman00figurich#page/88/mode/2up/search/montastruc Primitive Man], Louis Fiuier, p.88, accessed 2 August 2010</ref> At this time it was thought that there were two separate carvings of reindeer as it was not obvious that the two pieces fitted together.<ref name="brad">[http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/news/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1272293003&archive=&start_from=&ucat=& The swimming reindeer; a masterpiece of Ice Age art], Jill Cook, bradshawfoundation.com, accessed 2 August 2010</ref>
[[File:Mammoth Spear Thrower.jpg|thumb|left|The [[Mammoth Spearspear Throwerthrower]]]]
 
De l'Isle wrote a paper on his discovery, and his finds were exhibited in 1867 at the [[Exposition Universelle (1867)|Exposition Universelle]] in [[Paris]]. People were intrigued to see the sophistication of his finds and this sculpture in particular. The carvings were remarkable in that they illustrate [[reindeer]], which no longer live in France. Dating was possible as the two reindeer were carved in the ivory of an extinct animal. This dated the find as ancient and required a re-evaluation of the life of humans in the late [[Ice Age]].<ref name="brad"/> This find was particularly astounding, as at that time no [[cave paintings]] had been discovered, and it was to be some years before those that were found were accepted as genuine.<ref name="focus">[http://my.page-flip.co.uk/?userpath=00000013/00012513/00053413/&page=11 The Swimming Reindeer], British Museum Objects in Focus, accessed 3 August 2010, {{ISBN|978-0-7141-2821-4}}</ref> In fact it was only the work of [[Henry Christy]] and [[Edouard Lartet]] that had recently persuaded informed opinion that mankind had lived during the ice age and coexisted with mammoths.<ref name="focus"/>
 
The reindeer sculptures were again exhibited in 1884 in Toulouse, when it is speculated that a French buyer might have been found, but they were eventually procured by the British Museum in 1887.<ref name="brad"/> De l'Isle initially offered his finds to the British Museum for the large sum of 150,000 francs, which would have a value in excess of half a million pounds in 2010. The offer was considered much too high and was not accepted by [[Augustus Wollaston Franks|Augustus Franks]], an enthusiastic antiquarian who was in charge of the north European collection at that time. Franks had been known to fund the museum's acquisitions himself, and he sent [[Charles Hercules Read]] to negotiate with de l'Isle. Read successfully managed to bring the price down to £500 (about £30,000 today). The purchase was funded by the Christy Fund, a £5,000 bequest by [[Henry Christy]] who had also left his own collections to the museum.<ref name="focus"/>
[[File:Speerschleuder LaMadeleine.jpg|right|thumb|"Rampant Hyena" carving found at [[Abri de la Madeleine]], also in France.]]
 
It was not until 1904 when [[Henri Breuil|Abbé Breuil]] saw the sculptures whilst visiting the British Museum that he realised that the two pieces fitted together, and were in fact two parts of a single sculpture.<ref name="brad"/>