The Mammoth of La Madeleine, 1875

  1. 23. Lartet, Edouard (1801-1871);
          Christy, Henry (1810-1865). 

    Reliquiae Aquitanicae
    .  London: Williams and Norgate, 1875.   

    “Report on the exploration of Brixham cave conducted by a committee of the geological Society, and under the superintendence of Wm. Pengelly Esq. F.R.S. aided by a local committee; with descriptions of the animal remains by George Busk Esq., F.R.S., and of the flint implements by John Evans Esq., F.R.S.”  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1873, 163:471-572.

Lartet had published the first evidence of Paleolithic carved art in 1861 (see item 12).  As he continued to search the caves along the Vézère River in Dordogne, he found quite a number of reindeer bones and antlers that had been engraved with the figures of horses, deer, and reindeer.  But his most dramatic find came in 1864, at the rock shelter of La Madeleine.  There he discovered a piece of mammoth ivory, on which was engraved the outline of a living mammoth.  Not only did it demonstrate convincingly that humans and mammoths had lived at the same time, but it showed that the artistic sense and ability of these early humans was nearly the equal of our own.  This book was published after Lartet’s death and contains a large number of drawings of stone tools, carved art, and human remains.  For a map and other views, see the wall panel, “The Mammoth of La Madeleine.”