Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Thracian sanctuary – the Womb Cave (aka “Cave Vulva”)

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 3, 2016

7 mysterious caves in Bulgaria

Thracian sanctuary the Womb Cave (aka “Cave Vulva”) dated XI-X century BC is located near village of Nenkovo, Kardjali region, Bulgaria. It was discovered in 2001.

The Womb Cave (Утроба, Utroba) in the Rhodope Mountains bears an uncanny resemblance to the female genitalia. This is not exactly a coincidence though. There’s evidence that the cave’s opening was shaped by the ancient Thracians around 1000 BC. The cave hosted a Thracian sanctuary to female fertility at the time.

Incredibly, the Womb Cave is designed in such a way that a ray of sunlight enters through the entrance of the cave at such an angle that it enters the rock womb and hits the middle of the altar directly, symbolically inseminating it. Feel like exploring this vulva-shaped cave? Then head for southeastern Bulgaria or specifically the isolated village of Nenkovo near Kardzhali.

Abri Castanet cave – Vulva Cave Art

Earliest wall art features female genitalia

Female genitalia features in world’s oldest cave art

A massive block of limestone in France contains what scientists believe are the earliest known engravings of wall art dating back some 37,000 years, according to a study. The 1.5 tonne ceiling piece was first discovered in 2007 at Abri Castanet, a well known archaeological site in southwestern France which holds some of the earliest forms of artwork, beads and pierced shells.

According to New York University anthropology professor Randall White, lead author of the paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the art was likely meant to adorn the interior of a shelter for reindeer hunters. “They decorated the places where they were living, where they were doing all their daily activities,” says White.

“There is a whole question about how and why, and why here in this place at this particular time you begin to see people spending so much time and energy and imagination on the graphics.”

The images range from paintings of horses to “vulvar imagery” that appears to represent female sex organs, carved into the low ceiling that rose between 1.5 to two meters from the floor, within reach of the hunters.

Over the years, archaeologist Randall White of New York University and his colleagues have discovered various artistic items of southern France’s Abri Castanet, a shallow cave in the Vexere valley, including ornamental snail shells and engraved limestones. But the researchers were unable to date the art due to a lack of organic matter.

So when, in 2007, the team discovered a large block of limestone with paintings of what look like a female’s vulva that had fallen from the cave ceiling in an area with numerous animal bones, suggesting they dated to around the same time period, they sent the samples to the University of Oxford for radiocarbon dating.

The results came back dating the bones to somewhere between 36,000 and 37,000 years ago, making them as old, or older, than the paintings of lions and other animals in southern France’s Chauvet Cave, which have been noted as the oldest known cave art since their discovery in 1994.

The researchers, who published their findings yesterday (May 14) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that this date likely also applies to the other vulva-like art previously found in the cave.

“The fact that the most recognizable image on the newly discovered surface falls broadly within the range of ovoid forms traditionally interpreted as vulva leads us to suppose that the above dates apply to other such images from Castanet, many of which were located within a few meters of the engraving described here,” they wrote.

The images also differ greatly from the drawings at Chauvet, such as the fact that they are displayed in the areas of the cave used for sleeping and eating, as opposed to deeper areas beyond the prehistoric humans’ living space, suggesting regional differences in artistic traditions.

“The vulvar tradition in the Vézère Valley seems to constitute a distinct regional variant within a mosaic of graphic and plastic expression across Europe in the Early Aurignacian,” the authors wrote.

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