AURIGNACIAN: A series of Upper Paleolithic cultures in Europe that existed from about 35,000 to 20,000 years ago (dates also given as 38,000–22,000 years ago). They were characterized by their use of stone (flint) and bone tools, the refinement of those tools, and the development of sculpture and cave painting. The culture is named for the type site Aurignac, in southern France, where such artifacts were discovered. In France it is stratified between the Châtelperronian and the Gravettian (and before the Solutrean and the Magdalenian), but industries of Aurignacian type are also found eastwards to the Balkans, Palestine, Iran, and Afghanistan. At Abri Pataud there is a radiocarbon date of before 31,000 bc for the Aurignacian, but there are possibly earlier occurrences in central and southeast Europe (Istállóskö in Hungary, Bacho Kiro in Bulgaria). There is still considerable dispute about the extent to which the Aurignacian is contemporary with the cultures of the Perigordian group in southwest France. The sites are often in deep, sheltered valleys. Split-based bone points, carinates (steepend scrapers), and Aurignac blades (with heavy marginal retouch) are typical of the Aurignacian. Aurignacian is also important as the most distinctive and abundantly represented of the early Upper Paleolithic groups.