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"bâton percé" with horse engraving
Antler, reindeer
Centimetres: 10.6 (length)
Upper Palaeolithic; Magdalenian; circa 15,000 BC
Area of Origin: Le Soucy; France; Europe
Area of Use: Le Soucy; France

Description: This object is often called a "baton de commandement." The term suggests its use as an attribute of a great leader, but the actual function of such objects is unknown. One hypothesis is that it is a shaft-straightener, used to make the shafts of arrows or other darts. Another is that it is a form of atlal, a tool used to throw darts a greater distance. But even if it did have these functions, it may have still been a mark of a great leader!

This example is made of the antler of a reindeer, shaped, and pierced with a large hole. It is somewhat unusual in that it has the engraving of a horse's head on it, so it is also an example of early art.

Publications: 1. Randall White. 1986. Dark Caves, Bright Visions: Life in Ice Age Europe. The American Museum of Natural History. p. 54, fig. 59.

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