Jasmine Liu at Hyperallergic:
The Venus of Willendorf, estimated at between 25,000 to 30,000 years old, has long been a source of contemporary mystery and intrigue, and for good reason — little was known about its origins and purpose. The statuette, as suggested by its name, was quickly saddled with the burdens of human history, sexualized with a blithe reference to antiquity although the context of its creation in Paleolithic times remained obscure. Now, thanks to research led by anthropologist Gerhard Weber at the University of Vienna, we know that the stone used to mold the figurine originated from northern Italy, over 350 miles away from Willendorf in Austria and across a formidable mountain range, the Alps. First excavated in 1908, the statuette, which measures less than four and a half inches in height, is a prime example of portable art — objects made out of stone, ivory, and other types of animal bone that would be easily transportable for migratory people during the Paleolithic period.