Plaquette Art

What is a plaquette?

A plaquette is defined as a piece of stone, bone, antler or ivory with at least one surface flat enough for engraving (Sieveking, 1987). They are tabular in shape and can be angular, oval or round depending on the support material. They are generally small, with 88.3% of examples less than 30cm in maximum dimensions (based on the plaquette corpus from Gönnersdorf and Andernach).

The research and TraCEr facilities at MONREPOS enable us to visually preserve the nature of plaquettes through 3D modelling and microscopy. Clever utilisations of lighting simulations to understand the engravings bring out the finely engraved lines even further. Below are a couple of photographs to showcase the machinery in use at MONREPOS and a resulting 3D model of a plaquette:

Move your mouse to rotate the plaquette in 3D!

Another slider: Drag it from right to left to reveal the art!

Left ImageRight Image

Plaquette 124 from Gönnersdorf . This plaquette features a multitude of engravings, predominantely digitally enganced with white lines here. The orange depiction is a horse, beautfully featuring a head swung back over its shoulders. If these engravings were pigmented in the past, the orange lines could be an example of potentially ochre stained marks.

We are changing our online perception experiment each month – check back in:



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This project is made possible through the following partners:

AHRC DFG Research Grant (AH/V002899/1)