Station: [137] Slate Platelet with Horse Engraving

This small, dark grey slate platelet was found in 1958 during excavations on Chapel Hill near Groitzsch. Hunters from the Late Ice Age 14,000 years ago left it behind. If you look closely you’ll see motifs that are portrayals of horses engraved on the front and back of the stone. It is possible that other animals that are no longer visible today were portrayed on the edges.

On the front you’ll see two horses’ heads with pronounced neck to chest lines. The large horse has a small head and a tear drop-shaped eye. The smaller of the two is more roughly worked and the pair is touching nostrils. There are no manes or beards, but the deliberate marked insertions of the chest-neck lines are striking.

There’s just one horse on the back of the platelet and score marks on its lower jaw and mouth show us that the artist/s tried to get rid of the picture. You will also notice the deliberately deep insertion in the neck area again. Wounds in this area almost certainly meant death.

Examinations under a reflected-light microscope led to further discoveries. We know for example in which order the etchings were made and which type of sharp tool tips were used. In this case two were used, which may suggest two different artists. But what was the platelet for? Was it to capture memories of a successful hunt, or was it even an etched teaching aid to train a growing hunting generation?