Decorated spatula

12000 BP (ca)

Museo Arqueológico Nacional

Museo Arqueológico Nacional
Madrid, Spain

Bone spatula fragment. The surface was heavily polished to create a flat, tapering edges. It is decorated with two deep grooves on both sides. The top side also features the schematic depiction of a caprid facing forwards, identifiable by its two large horns. On the triangular head, the ears are represented by two simple strokes situated between the outlines of the skull and horns. This figure is also associated with numerous fine incisions and one deeper groove. The other side is decorated with striations and deeply carved slanting lines. The piece, discovered during the first interventions in the cave around 1912, cannot be attributed to a precise stratigraphic layer. Technical and stylistic similarities to other pieces along Spain's northern coast and the caprid’s association with linear motifs point to the Upper Magdalenian world, where such features are fairly common, for instance at the archaeological sites of Cueto de la Mina in Asturias, Pendo and Valle in Cantabria, or Aizbitarte and Urtiaga in the Basque Country.


  • Title: Decorated spatula
  • Date Created: 12000 BP (ca)
  • Provenance: Morín Cave (Villanueva, Cantabria, Spain)
  • Type: Portable cave art
  • Rights: Museo Arqueológico Nacional
  • External Link: CERES
  • Medium: Horn
  • Cultural Context: Upper Magdalenian

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