The phallus has been dated via multiple radiocarbon measurements to 28,000 years ago. The find is 19.2 cm long, 3.6 cm wide and 2.8 cm thick and has been reconstructed from 14 fragments discovered from an archaeological horizon rich in stone tools and containing abundant burnt materials.
The finds stem from excavations in 2004 and from earlier seasons. The artifact has an elongated form that does not occur naturally. The clear evidence for grinding and polishing support the interpretation that the shape is man-made. One end of the siltstone phallus has several deeply incised rings, that were cut using a sharp stone tool.
In the Paleolithic, also known as the Old Stone Age, figurative representations often are combined with functional tools. In this case the phallus from Hohle Fels was used as a hammerstone, as is indicated by several areas showing usewear from stone knapping. This find was both a functional tool and a masculine symbol.
Finds of this kind are entirely unknown in Swabia and are extremely rare in other Ice Age contexts, including the Gravettian, which is best known for its abundant female imagery. The new findings from Hohle Fels are published in the current issue of the journal Archaologische Ausgrabungen in Baden-Wuerttemberg.
The Phallus from Hohle Fels will be featured in a special exhibit in the Prehistory Museum in Blaubeuren, entitled: Ice Age Art: Definitely Masculine. The special exhibit will run until January 6, 2006.