In this post, I am not trying to argue at length to answer the above question. However, I like to point out a few facts.
In a previous post, I attempted to bring together some logical arguments about the connection between the Paleolithic Venus Figurines from the area in and around the Old Europe and the seclusion of girls at puberty. What we can see from the arguments is that the puberty rites of girls bear a far ancient history than it appears. This lends support to the diffutionist view expressed in ‘the lure of noma‘ as we can trace the ideas at least to the Aurignacian period.
It is not surprising to see that many established scholars would not like to accept these arguments. One reason for their reluctance should be the doubts about the continuity of the ancient traditions to recent past as discussed in the article. But so-called Paleolithic Continuity Theory is not a present writer’s invention. In many societies these puberty rites existed until a century ago, a pervasive intrusion of Western ideas could not have happened. The work the author of the article ‘The Palaeolithic Venuses and the puberty rites’ extensively quoted belongs to the turn of the 19th century. As one of the iconic figures in the field of archaeology wrote, the prehistory of Australia ended in April 1770 with the arrival of Capt. James Cook (Renfrew, Colin 2007. Prehistory; the making of the human mind, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, p 205). Even after this date at least a part of the culture of Aboriginal people survived the test of times or recorded by the various ethnographers at some crucial periods for the posterity. Then, why the argument that surmising what might have happened in the past based on what was happening in a less culturally unadulterated environment should be so unscientific? Why cannot we, with a little background work, make some reasonable deductions about the ancient cultures with the material that were described in Sir James Frazer’s The Golden Bough? There are articles published in in the very highly regarded journals, assuming such links. For an example, McDermott argued that the Venuses were the self-representations of pregnant women (McDermott, LeRoy 1996. Self-Representation in Upper Paleolithic female figurines. Current Anthropology 37(2): 227-275). This argument implies the cultural connection that the prehistoric women like today’s female who are inclined to see themselves in the mirror used to look at themselves in order to represent their own body forms even in the absence of such mirrors. Even though there is no biological argument so far for such a tendency in women, no one reckons this to be a little farfetched.
Oftentimes, a simple model which can explain the data better is better than a model which explains some data tenuously. Can someone who happens to read this blog inform me about an interpretation (not including the puberty rites one) which can easily explain the lack of facial features, not having feet depicted or obesity of the Venuses?