Collection: National Archaeology Museum © RMN-Grand Palais / Loïc Hamon

Isturitz Cave (Pyrénées-Atlantiques): Cut contour horse head

A cut contour is a small piece of which the contour matches the silhouette of an animal or one its parts and the details rendered by etching or champlevé. In the Middle Magdalenian, many objects of this type were created with the horse's hyoid bone, which is above the larynx in the anterior midline of the neck. Its overall general shape evokes a horse's head. The Isturitz site has provided many objects of this type: the contour was regularised and the anatomical details made with a more or less deep engraving. The object has two holes that suggest it was used as decoration.