Read The Shelters of Stone Online

Authors: Jean M. Auel

Tags: #Historical fiction

The Shelters of Stone (2 page)

I feel great warmth and gratitude to Dr. Jan Jelinek for continued discussions about the Upper Paleolithic Era. His insights about the people who lived during the time when anatomically modern humans arrived and settled in Europe and met the Neanderthals who were living there are always valuable. I also want to thank him for his assistance to the Czech publishers in their translations of the previous books in this series.

I read the books of Dr. Alexander Marshack, who pioneered the technique of examining carved artifacts under a microscope, long before I met him and I appreciate the efforts he has made into the understanding of Cro Magnons and Neanderthals, and the papers he sends me. I have been impressed with his cogent and thoughtful theories based on his
careful studies, and continue to read his work for his penetrating and intelligent perceptions about the people who lived during the last Ice Age.

During the three months I lived near Les Eyzies de Tayac in southwest France doing research for this book, I visited Font-de-Guame Cave many times. I owe special thanks to Paulette Daubisse, who was the director and in charge of the people who guided the visitors to that beautifully painted ancient cave, for her kindness, and particularly for giving me a special private tour. She lived with that very singular site for many years, and knew it as though it were her own home. She showed me many formations and paintings that are not usually presented to the casual visitor—it would make the tours far too long—and I am more grateful than she can know for the unique insights that were revealed.

I also want to thank M. Renaud Bombard of Presse de la Cité, my French publisher, for his willingness to help me find whatever I needed, whenever I was in France doing research. Whether it was a place to make copies of a large manuscript not too far from where I was staying with someone there who could speak English so I could explain what I needed, or a good hotel in the region during the off-season when most hotels were closed, or a fabulous restaurant in the Loire valley where we could celebrate the anniversary of dear friends, or late reservations in a popular resort area on the Mediterranean which happened to be on the way to a site I wanted to see. Whatever it was, M. Bombard always managed to make it happen, and I am truly grateful.

In order to write this book, I had to learn about more than archeology and paleoanthropology and there are several other people who were of great assistance. A sincere thank-you to Dr. Ronald Naito, doctor of internal medicine in Portland, Oregon, and my personal physician for many years, who was willing to call me after his office hours and answer my questions about the symptoms and progression of certain illnesses and injuries. I also want to thank Dr. Brett Bolhofher, doctor of orthopaedic medicine in St. Petersburg, Florida, for his information about bone trauma and injuries,
but even more for putting my son’s shattered hip and pelvis back together after his automobile accident. Thanks also to Joseph J. Pica, orthopaedic surgery and trauma, and physician assistant to Dr. Bolhofher, for his cogent explanation of internal injuries, and his excellent care of my son. I also appreciated the discussion with Rick Frye, volunteer emergency paramedic in Washington State, about what to do first in medical emergencies.

Thanks also to Dr. John Kallas, Portland, Oregon, expert in the collection of wild foods, who continually experiments with processing and cooking them, for sharing his extensive knowledge not only of wild plant foods, but also of clams, mussels and vegetables from the sea. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of edible seaweed.

And special thanks to Lenette Stroebel of Prineville, Oregon, who has been breeding back from wild horses to the original Tarpan, and turning up some interesting characteristics. For example, they have hooves so hard they don’t need horseshoes even on rocky ground, they have a stand-up mane, and they have markings similar to the horses painted on some cave walls, such as the dark legs and tail, and sometimes stripes on the flanks. And they have a beautiful gray color called gruya. She not only allowed me to see the horses, but she told me a great deal about them, and then sent a wonderful series of photographs of one of her mares giving birth, which gave me the basis for the birth of Whinney’s foal.

I am grateful to Claudine Fisher, professor of French at Portland State University and Honorary French Counsel for Oregon, for French translations of research material and correspondence, and for advice and insights about this and other manuscripts, and additional things French.

To early readers, Karen Auel-Feuer, Kendall Auel, Cathy Humble, Deanna Sterett, Claudine Fisher and Ray Auel, who hurriedly read a first finished draft and offered some good constructive suggestions, thank you.

I am deeply indebted to Betty Prashker, my sharp, smart and savvy editor. Her suggestions are always helpful and her insights invaluable.

Thanks beyond measure to my literary agent, Jean Naggar, who flew here to read the first finished draft, and along with her husband, Serge Naggar, made some suggestions, but told me it worked. She has been there from the beginning, performing miracles with this series. Thanks also to Jennifer Weltz of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, who is working with Jean to perform further miracles especially with foreign rights.

With great regret, I offer gratitude
in memoriam,
to David Abrams, professor of anthropology and archeology in Sacramento, California. In 1982, David and his research assistant and future wife, Diane Kelly, took Ray and me on my first research trip to Europe—France, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Ukraine (dien Russia)—to visit for the first time some of the sites where the books in the Earth’s Children
series took place, some 30,000 years ago. I was able to get a sense of the localities, which helped me tremendously. We became friends with David and Diane, and saw each other several times over the years, both here and in Europe. It was a shock to learn that he was so ill—he was too young to go—but he held on with perseverance for much longer than anyone predicted, always keeping a wonderfully positive attitude. I miss him.

I must thank another dear friend,
in memoriam,
Richard Ausman, who helped me to write these books by designing comfortable places where I could live and work. “OZ” had a special genius for creating beautiful and efficient homes, but more than that, he had been a good friend to both Ray and me for years. He thought they had caught the cancer in time, and married Paula hoping for many more years with her and her children, but it was not to be. I feel great sadness that he is no longer with us.

There are many others I probably should thank for insights and assistance, but this is too long already, so I will end with the one who counts the most. I am grateful to Ray, for his love, support and encouragement, for helping to provide the time and space for me to work in spite of my strange hours, and for being there.


The Ninth Cave
The Ninth Cave of the Zelandomi
Little Valley
The Fourteenth Cave of the Zelandomi
River Place
The Eleventh Cave of the Zelandomi
Two Rivers Rock
The Third Cave of the Zelandomi
Horsehead Rock
The Seventh Cave of the Zelandomi
Elder Hearth
The Second Cave of the Zelandomi
Three Rocks
The Twenty-ninth Cave of the Zelandomi
Summer Camp
West Holding of Three Rocks,
The Twenty-ninth Cave
South Face
North Holding of Three Rocks,
The Twenty-ninth Cave
Reflection Rock
South Holding of Three Rocks,
The Twenty-ninth Cave
Old Valley
The Fifth Cave of the Zelandomi
The Nineteenth Cave of the Zelandomi

eople were gathering on the limestone ledge, looking down at them warily. No one made a gesture of welcome, and some held spears in positions of readiness if not actual threat. The young woman could almost feel their edgy fear. She watched from the bottom of the path as more people crowded together on the ledge, staring down, many more than she thought there would be. She had seen that reluctance to greet them from other people they had met on their Journey. It’s not just them, she told herself, it’s always that way in the beginning, but she felt uneasy.

The tall man jumped down from the back of the young stallion. He was neither reluctant nor uneasy, but he hesitated for a moment, holding the stallion’s halter rope. He turned around and noticed that she was hanging back. “Ayla, will you hold Racer’s rope? He seems nervous,” he said, then looked up at the ledge. “I guess they do too.”

She nodded, lifted her leg over, slid down from the mare’s back, and took the rope. In addition to the tension of seeing strange people, the young brown horse was still agitated around his dam. She was no longer in heat, but residual odors from her encounter with the herd stallion still clung. Ayla held the halter rope of the brown male close, but gave the dun-yellow mare a long lead, and stood between them. She considered giving Whinney her head; her horse was
more accustomed to large groups of strangers now, and was not usually high-strung, but she seemed nervous too. That throng of people would make anyone nervous.

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