The Cro Magnon Religion
The Cro Magnon people left no written records about themselves; however they replaced the Neanderthals over 30,000 years ago. So what do we know about this prehistoric forerunner to the Homo sapiens?
Similar to the Neanderthals, they buried tools, weapons, and ornaments with their dead. This is all according to finds documented by the research of archaeologists. Consequently, the graves also furnished some bizarre, yet interesting artifacts including bones painted red. This was, of course, interpreted as a concern for the afterlife. Also, some of the bodies discovered have been placed in the fetal position, thus indicating a possible desire for rebirth.
The Neanderthal Vs. Cro Magnon
Some of the most familiar finds that many associate with the Cro Magnon religion are the cave drawings found on the ceilings and walls of caves in France and Spain. It's evident that these drawings were completed in areas that were quite inaccessible to many, and so we assume that these locations represent a spiritual or sacred location. We can, however, be appreciative of the fact that these drawings have remained untouched and unblemished for thousands of years due to their remote location.
What's interesting about the Cro Magnon cave drawings is that the animals are quite lifelike in their orientation, yet the people drawn were not. Furthermore, the animal's painted-bison, horses, wild boar, and bears-depict arrows and spears plunging into their bodies at the most critical points during a hunt. This same action is shared with the Native Americans, who similarly shot arrows into certain points within the animals to provide the animal with a swift death.
It was found that many of the drawings in the caves of France and Spain were a prediction by priests and magicians. They believed that if they portrayed the hunt in a certain context, it would turn out the way it was created along the walls. This practice is similar, or rather followed, by shamans in several religions that may go as far as acting out the drama of the kill itself using masks and dances, or in the form of graphic art.
The Venus of Willendorf
Although the cave drawings associated with the Cro Magnon are the most familiar to archaeologists and residents around the France and Spain, there were also several other forms of sculptures left behind. Figurines carved out of ivory, stone, and bone gave rise to the various gods venerated by the Cro Magnon people. One of the most familiar being the Venus of Willendorf, a figure depicting the human form. There exists no face, however it's hips, breasts, and stomach are greatly exaggerated. This female form indicates that these historic cultures often worshipped a fertility goddess.
Several DNA tests are presently underway to test the validity that Cro Magnons were found in modern populations of the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, and its descendants found among modern North African, Eurasian, Polynesian and Native American populations. Until then, little is known.
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