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European rock art and the origin of writing. According to a new study, the geometric signs painted or carved in the caves of ancient Ice Age artists could represent the earliest form of graphic communication of humanity. 

In addition to the famous images of animals, the French Lascaux cave also presents mysterious geometric signs such as quadrangle and black dots in this Ice Age deer. For decades, researchers have studied the spectacular images of galloping horses and bison galloping left over from the Ice Age artists over 10,000 years ago on the walls of European caves such as Lascaux, paying less attention to simple geometric designs that accompanied them. No one has ever been able to decipher them, and those signs have so far been relegated to the role of mere decorations. Now, however, we know that European ice age, over 30,000 years, would resort to 32 different types of geometric symbols with “intent to convey information”: a first step in the long journey of humanity towards writing…. Ice Age cave art in France, already accurately dated, was the ideal place to start. So we have passed in review both the paintings that the engravings of this region, cataloged geometric signs.

European rock art and the origin of writing.

They then classified them by dividing them by type, have entered them into a database to compare them and tried recurrences in the information collected. The signs designed in the caves of Europe date back 40,000 to 10,000 years ago. Preliminary results have caught him by surprise. The scholars were convinced that the Ice Age artists had started with a limited number of types of signs and then enrich their repertoire over time: a clear trend towards greater complexity such as the evolution of the tools. But it was not so, at least in France. They found that nearly three-quarters of the types of signs were already in use in the Aurignacian, a period of between 40,000 and 28,000 years ago. Such a variety at an early state does think of the birth of a tradition, but the origin of the signs occurred elsewhere. At this point, the researchers expanded its search to the entire Europe, sifting through 367 rock art sites of the Upper Paleolithic located from northern Spain to the Urals, Russia.

In addition, they sought similar signs also of artifacts, like a necklace of teeth of deer discovered in a female tomb Ice Age known as the Lady of St. Germaine-la-Rivière. These teeth deer engraved once formed a necklace that belonged to a woman of nearly 16,000 years ago.

European rock art and the origin of writing.


To open the video click on the image, good view from your Alessandro Brizzi.

European rock art and the origin of writing.