Category Archive 'Paleolithic Art'

07 Jan 2023

Do the Lascaux Paintings Feature 21,500-Year-Old Writing?

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Examples of animal depictions associated with sequences of dots/lines. (a) Aurochs: Lascaux, late period; (b) Aurochs: La Pasiega, late; (c) Horse: Chauvet, late (we differ in opinion with the Chauvet team, for whom it would be early); (d) Horse: Mayenne-Sciences, early; (e) Red Deer: Lascaux, late; (f) Salmon: Abri du Poisson, early; (g) Salmon (?): Pindal, late; (h) Mammoth: Pindal, early.

It looks plausible that the lines and dots repeated on, or beside, multiple images of the same animals may possibly have been placed there to communicate some information to hunters. (link)

The First known Writing In Humankind?

The 21,500-year-old ‘controversial’ cave painting depicts the now extinct auroch bull. The new study instigated by furniture conservator Bennett Bacon and in collaboration with academics from the University of Durham was published on Jan. 5 in the Cambridge Archaeology Journal. As an example, it specifically looks at four dots on a painting of an auroch within the overall design at Lascaux. The writers of the study say the dots and lines “might relate to the seasonal behavior of prey animals.” If they are right, and this design conveys seasonal data, these dots and lines do indeed represent the earliest form of writing ever discovered in the history of humankind.

Similar groups of dots and lines have been found in hundreds of hunter-gatherer cave sites across Europe. The team of researchers maintains that when positioned near animal imagery the “apparently” abstract groups of dots and lines actually represent “a sophisticated writing system.” The team speculated that this early form of communicating seasonal information is related to hunter’s “understanding of the mating and birthing season of important local species”.

31 Mar 2019

Earliest Known Representation of a Bird


Prehistoric carving in mammoth ivory of a water bird. It is thought to be a diver, cormorant, or duck. This Stone Age (palaeolithic) artefact (47 mm. — 1.85″ long) was found in the period 2001-2 in the Hohle Fels cave, Germany. It has been dated to between 31,000 and 33,000 years ago, and is thought to have been produced by the Aurignacian culture. These early humans lived in Europe in the Late Stone Age (Upper Palaeolithic), between 45,000 and 30,000 years ago.

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