Figure

Large cervid, previously described as a caprid (Fig. 2.3 and Pl. 12). The circumstances of this interpretation have been explained above, and here we will concentrate on its new description. It faces left, and occupies almost the whole surface available. As we have indicated before, there are specific pieces of evidence that it may have consisted in part of low bas-relief, which suggests a previous preparation of the surface, although only its state of preservation allows us to make this assumption. The figure is 58 cm long by 60 cm wide (with a maximum between parallels of 58 cm), with an orientation of 30° relative to absolute north, and a positive inclination of 6° west. It seems that the whole figure was conceived around a natural hollow which was slightly modified to make the eye. Above is the antler, in which the tines can be made out, projecting horizontally forwards with a curved point at the distal extremity—the first tine curves upwards, and on the oblique rock surface can be seen the second point which also curved upwards. The antler continues as parallel lines with some traces of rectification, and for the moment we have not been able to find the end of the antlers.

The head begins with a profoundly curved line that links it to the antler; at first it is slightly domed. The muzzle ends obliquely to depict the downturned upper lip. Inside the head and muzzle, connected to the engraved line, one can make out a slight bas-relief, very shallow, which gives the head a certain volume. The nostril is also made with this technique, and is located inside the muzzle. The jaw is slightly inflected towards the interior, and then later returns to bend again at its junction with the chest, but penetrating slightly into the interior of the head. The various lines that make up the head give it great gracility, and also give the figure a certain dynamism.

Starting at the jaw, with a fairly deep groove, we find the line of the chest which at the junction point has a quite pronounced curve which could represent the coat or it may be an adult animal which has this characteristic fold between its front legs. Next to the line of the chest, inside the figure, just like with the head, we can make out a slight bas-relief, of modest depth, which extends down from the jaw to the front leg. As mentioned above, this gives a certain volume to the depiction. In earlier publications we stated that the figure had four limbs, but now we have discovered that the animal is depicted in simple perspective and only has two legs, while the other pair corresponds to another superimposed depiction which we shall describe at a future date. The front leg is made with two lines which converge at the extremity. The upper line penetrates the zone of the chest and is prolonged to the limit of the panel, while the line behind begins a little higher up, and goes right to the middle part of the body. This second incision, very broad (>10 mm) and not very deep (<5 mm), is what one of us (SR) saw on the first day of discovery from down below.

The belly line, sinuous and slightly domed, is complete and connects with the hind leg. In the middle area one can make out a small angle which may represent the animal's sex. The hind leg too is made with two parallel lines, but unlike those of the foreleg, they do not converge. These deep grooves are almost superimposed on the second series of parallel lines (see below). The front part of this hind leg is a sinuous incision, while the other groove is straighter as far as the hip where the group begins, a zone in which it is briefly interrupted by the existence of a natural hole. The hindquarters are difficult to follow, because there is a large scraped graffito which has profoundly damaged the figure; however, we can clearly follow the curve, and make out the small triangular tail in the upper part.

The cervico-dorsal line, which is likewise badly damaged, extends to the neck which is linked to the elliptically shaped ear. The latter element begins and ends in the interior of the neck, while the latter ends at the central rear part of the ear. The groove has an open V-shaped section, with a depth of 2 mm and a width of more than 5 mm. As can be seen, this is an exceptional figure which combines two techniques in its production.

Fig. 2.4. Church Hole Panel III, bovid, line drawing
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