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Decoding Ice Age Writing

11 January 2023
Ancient history, Inside science

At https://phys.org/news/2023-01-cave-ice-age-hunter-gatherers-lunar.html … an interesting article and theory. It is all do with Ice Age paintings at such sites as Lascaux and Chauvet. The study is published in Cambridge Archaeological Journal and claims markings on the paintings, such as dots, squiggles, and lines, represent a lunar calendar. This is all about dots and dashes superfluous to the painted picture of an animal, such as mammoth, horse, or aurochs – even salmon. The authors are not the first to think Ice Age people used a lunar calendar and various signs represent astronomical features such as the Pleiades star cluster. This one is slightly different as the decoding is more down to earth in that the signs, related to a calendar, are claimed to show the mating and pregancy period of various animals. In other words, the mating seasons of various prey species. Nice idea but not necessarily the proper decoding of those signs. The fact that the use of a lunar calendar is again acknowledged is more interesting – but what might be affecting the Ice Age world for several months at a time if not a mating to birth period?The same story is at various other media sites such as the Daily Express.

The decoding was done by an amateur investigator, Ben Bacon, but it seems to be accepted by at least some of mainstream. He  claims to have found his ‘proto writing’ system by the study of 600 ice age paintings from across Europe. The data, shapes, and various other marks, relate to a lunar calendar as opposed to speech. No doubt animal hunters could benefit from knowing the seasons of mating and birthing of prey species but why was it necessary to record it underground, where the moon was not visible. We may even ask why people were deep into cave systems during the Late Glacial maximum, and what were they doing painting pictures down there. What was going on in the world above?

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