A collection of Neanderthal artifacts

Ancient Fontmaure

Remnants of Neanderthal culture in West Central France


Mousterians are not known for having created works of art, and Dr. L. Pradel rarely mentions them in his archaeological survey of Fontmaure. However, some of his jasper sculptures he gave to a Dutch archaeologist friend Ad Wouters, three of which were discussed by the latter in a Dutch magazine on Stone Age archaeology. Other publications about Fontmaure sculptures are: • Gedoogd Verleden (A Tolerated Past), 2000: Werktuigen en Kunst van de Neanderthalers uit Fontmaure, Midden-Frankrijk. MUSEON, Den Haag. (Exhibition booklet); • Niek van Rijswijk, 2007: Sculpturen of Fantasie? Bachelor thesis European Prehistory, Leyden; • Herman van der Made, 2015: Stone Age Sculptures; •Tony Berlant, Thomas Wynn, 2018: First Sculpture, Handaxe to Figure Stone, Dallas; • Richard Wilson, 2018: Eschewing Bear Tracks: Fallacies, Figure-Stones and Fontmaure, Rock Art Research. Notes: 1) Dr. L. Pradel, 1971: Une Pierre-figure du Moustérien à Bifaces de Fontmaure, Bulletin des Amis du Musée Préhistorique de Grand Pressigny, No. 22, p. 16. 2) Ad Wouters, 2000/2001: in APAN/EXTERN nr. 9, p. 22 (with a photograph in fig. 15 of the aforementioned three animal sculptures).



The Huisman Collection consists of tools and sculptures of the Paleolithic of Fontmaure.  The ancient fauna of this prehistoric site is represented in stone, i.a. fish, bird, mammoth, rhino, boar, horse, deer, bison, hedgehog, bear, as well as canine and feline animals.


The Neanderthals of Fontmaure pictured them frontally or in profile, with their body in different positions or with just their heads in profile.  In the Huisman Collection bear sculptures outnumber other animal representations.


Fontmaure human sculptures consist of two groups: the more or less complete representation of the female body (venuses), and the depiction of the human head, most of which seem to have a hair knot or a cap.


Finally I included a new category of lithic artifacts, the so called ‘imaginative Appreciation of Natural Patterns’ (iANP’s).


The Neanderthal craftsman in a way became an artist, who, as both technical engineer and imaginative creator made highly realistic and truly mimetic representations in stone, perhaps then – there being no such evidence, as a result of acidity of the soil – also in ivory, wood and bone.


Certain tools were effectively adorned.


From the first publications by Jacques Boucher de Perthes in 1837, the existence of Paleolithic sculptures has been hotly debated.


However, recent discoveries by Richard Wilson and others may challenge meant conclusions.