The Art of Taphonomy and the Taphonomy of Art: Layer IV, Molodova I, Ukraine

  • April Nowell
  • Francesco d’Errico


Level IV of Molodova I, an open-air Middle Paleolithic site in the Ukraine has been described by some researchers as a possible source of evidence for early symbolic behavior. We examined bone objects from this layer that were identified by Ukrainian researchers as exhibiting possible Neandertal produced engravings including two anthropomorphic figures. While we have determined that there is no evidence of symbolic activity at Molodova I, the database we have created, with its systematic recording of traces left by taphonomic agents on faunal remains, provides a better understanding of the overall site taphonomy.


Middle Paleolithic Taphonomy Molodova Mousterian Neandertal Symbolism 



We would like to thank Dr. Alexander Sytnik for his invitation to study the material from Molodova I, Layer IV and for his kindness and helpfulness throughout our stay in Lviv. We would also thank Jean-Michel Geneste for bringing the Molodova findings to our attention and for helpful discussions. This work was supported by a General Grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada to A.N. and grants to F.D. from the European Science Foundation (Origin of Man, Language and Languages-EC Sixth Framework Program, contract no. ERAS-CT-2003-980409).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  2. 2.CNRS UMR 5199 PACEAInstitute de Préhistoire et Géologie du QuaternaireTalenceFrance
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyGeorge Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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