A picture painted on the wall of a cave more than 15,000 thousand years back seems to recount the simple story of a hunter falling before an injured animal. However, the pictures may depict something bigger. Possibly astronomical. Figures portrayed in the famous prehistoric paintings at Lascaux were positioned with reason, as indicated by a crisp analysis of the fine art. These weren’t unimportant tales about hunting. They were indications of the zodiac arranged to record a huge destructive occasion.
Scientists from the Universities of Edinburgh and Kent compared zoomorphic artworks found at Neolithic destinations around the globe, from Göbekli Tepe and Çatalhöyük in Turkey to the caves close Montignac in southwestern France. Portrayals of familiar-looking creatures, for example, bulls, lions, and scorpions, aren’t intended to represent well-known looking scenes, they contend. Rather, they could symbolize groups of stars and accordingly speaks to an early type of cosmic record-keeping.
“Early cave demonstrates that individuals had advanced learning of the night sky within the last Ice Age,” says one of the study’s creators, chemical engineer Martin Sweatman from the University of Edinburgh. Assuming true, scenes drawn at Lascaux may rather stamp the date of a noteworthy occasion that concurred with an annual Taurid meteor shower approximately 17,000 years back.
Sound somewhat familiar? A year ago, the same scientists decoded stone carvings found at Göbekli Tepe as references to a comet strike thought to be in charge of a brief come back to Ice Age atmosphere conditions around 13,000 years ago.
This new study makes their analysis a stride further by applying it to other Neolithic paintings from different sites and eras.
Lascaux’s paintings were found by a local group of teenagers during the 1940s, and we’ve been scratching our heads over them from that point onward. It’s not clear precisely when they were made, but rather specialists gauge the 600 pictures scattered over the walls are anyplace up to 17,000 years of age. Many of the figures are of creatures that would have lived inside the nearby locale, including horses and bison-like animals like creatures called aurochs. The pictures referred to collectively as the Shaft Scene consists of a human figure angled alongside an auroch, which has loops of its digestive organs dangling from its belly. Adjacent to that painting is something that looks somewhat like a duck, while a rhinoceros turns away to one side. A horse head is portrayed on another section of the wall. There are additionally geometric shapes, dots, and odd lines scattered all through the pictures, and which are difficult to represent in the event that they were endeavors to reasonably draw natural settings.
The possibility that they could some way or another reflect not peaceful scenes but rather cosmic ones have been discussed for over 40 years.
Sweatman and his partner from the University of Kent, Alistair Coombs, now contend this is the correct methodology, and that we should give our ancestors more credit with regards to representing the world.
The researchers contend the wounded bison represents the constellation Capricorn at summer equinox, and the birds stand in for Libra at the spring equinox. Other creatures are more theoretical, yet could easily represent Leo and Taurus at other equinoxes. This arrangement could stamp a date of 15,150 BCE, plus or minus several centuries, implying at an event that may have affected people in a not exactly charming way.
Records taken from Greenland’s ice cores do depict the atmosphere started to move around 15,300 BCE, however, there are no signs this was caused by a type of meteorite impact.
“These discoveries support a hypothesis of multiple comet impacts throughout human development, and will likely change how ancient populations are seen,” says Sweatman.
Almost certainly historians will keep on arguing over the significance of ancient art for quite a while to come.
If anything, these discoveries indicate we may need to proceed onward from entirely shamanistic interpretations, to consider art to be critical to stamping time dependent on a striking feature of nature we regularly ignore in our modern world – the night sky.