Azilian Culture

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Azilian Culture


an archaeological culture of the Stone Age, dating from the early Mesolithic Period, mainly the eighth millennium B.C. The Azilian culture developed directly from the late Paleolithic Magdalenian culture which preceded it. Discovered by French archaeologist E. Piette in 1887–89, the culture was named after the Mas-d’Azil cave in the department of Ariège in southern France. It was found primarily on the territory of France and the Federal Republic of Germany. The people of this culture were tribes of hunters (red deer, roe, and wild boar), fishermen, and gatherers. It was characterized by small silicon tools: insets of geometric contours (microliths), flat harpoons from antlers of the red deer, and the so-called Azilian pebbles (small flat river pebbles, mainly of quartzite, painted in conventional patterns with red ochre). More than 200 such pebbles have been found in the Mas-d’Azil cave. They are considered to be close to the Australian churinga and are believed to have had religious and magical significance.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.