(ORDO NEWS) — Lines, dots, and other symbols drawn in caves during the last ice age may be the earliest example of proto writing symbols that convey some sort of simple information.
A study shows that 20,000-year-old marks made by hunter-gatherers, along with drawings of hunting animals, carried critical information.
Marks – lines, dots and “Y” signs – have been found on more than 600 Ice Age images on cave walls and other objects across Europe. This is reported by Durham University in England.
“We had long suspected that these sequences of markings found next to images of predatory animals said something about these animals, but we had no idea what,” Paul Pettit, co-author and professor of paleolithic archeology at Durham University, told CNN.
These records were of critical importance to Paleolithic hunter-gatherers. They indicated the mating periods of animals and the period of the offspring, so that they could be found in the greatest number.
The results also show that people in Ice Age Europe used a calendar based on the cycles of the moon.
According to Pettitt, more than 30 non-figurative signs existed in the Paleolithic records, his study co-author Bennett Bacon is sure that only three main ones.
Statistical analysis of signs about tours, salmon and horses allowed researchers to compare the months of the year and the periods of their reproduction and migration.
The team believes that the symbol “Y” meant birth, and mating periods are shown by the lengths of the sequences of lines and dots that do not contain a “Y”.
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