New Study of Cave Paintings Say Ancient Man Understood Astronomy

Caveman painting in a cave

A reinterpretation of one of the world’s most famous primitive cave paintings seems to show our ancient ancestors had a much stronger grasp on astronomy than we’ve given them credit. According to a recent study, cave paintings in France depict animals that represent the constellations, showing the artists who drew them were aware of the precession of the equinoxes — a discovery not thought to have been made before Hipparchus of Ancient Greece.

Of the paintings in question, researchers Martin Sweatman, Ph.D., and Alistar Coombs studied an image titled, “The Shaft,” which portrays a collapsing bird-headed man, a bison eviscerated by a spear, a horse, and a rhinoceros in the Lascaux caves of southern France’s Dordogne region.

In the past, this scene was interpreted as a shamanic ceremony or the scene of a hunt, however the exact meaning has been widely disputed as depictions of men were incredibly uncommon in this era. But according to Sweatman and Coombs’ latest study, the paintings show not only a more primordial understanding of astronomy, but also religion, science, and mathematics.

By comparing radiocarbon dating of paint samples to the position of constellations in the sky when the art was created, the researchers were able to match specific animals with correlating constellations of the solstice and equinox. They used this same method at similar archeological sites, including the ruins of Göbekli Tepe and Catalhöyük, as well as the famous cave art of Chauvet and Altamira.

The two also said they believe the Lascaux paintings commemorate a comet striking Earth, correlating with what they believe to be the cataclysmic impact event that marked the beginning of the Younger Dryas period – evidence of which was recently found in the form of a 19-mile wide crater beneath a Greenland ice sheet.

In addition to these sites, the researchers incorporated the Lion-man figurine from the Hohlenstein-Stadel cave in Germany, which dates back 38 thousand BCE and is considered to be the world’s oldest sculpture – they believe it too, may be evidence of zodiacal awareness. Their study was published in the Athens Journal of History.

Like any bold claim made of early humans which challenges long-held archeological timelines, this latest theory has unsurprisingly sparked controversy with some of Sweatman and Coombs’ colleagues who have labeled their method flawed.

According to their model, prehistoric men from the Stone Age discovered the precession of the equinoxes some 36 thousand years before Hipparchus – a bold claim to say the least!

But findings such as this seem to continually piece together disparate pieces of a puzzle that modern archeology has glossed over or ignored entirely. And as Graham Hancock likes to say upon the discovery of new paradigms like this may be, “things just keep getting older.”

 

For more on the anomalous archeological finds cluing us into our forgotten past, check out this episode of Disclosure with Graham Hancock:

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Derinkuyu & Nevsehir: Turkey's Lost Underground Cities

Lost civilizations have long held fascination and curiosity for many. Rich with historical sites and breathtaking landscapes, the ancient Anatolian region of Turkey seems otherworldly at times, and the city of Cappadocia is no exception.

The first recorded reference to Cappadocia dates as early as the late 6th century BCE, in documents transcribed for Persian kings. The Cappadocians were even mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Acts, most likely originating of Jewish descent.

Cappadocia is known for its beautiful yet arid countryside, curious rock formations, and cave dwellings. The terrain seems right out of a science fiction novel, but volcanic activity in the 3rd geological period most likely explains the spires, called “fairy chimneys.”

Climate has also played a massive part in the erosion of the cone-shaped formations, as well as ancient human hands. Soft volcanic rock, called tuff, lends itself particularly well to carving, and in a hot, dry desert, living in caves provides relief from the intense heat. Past residents also carved and pock-marked the volcanic rock formations that have eroded over time into quirky spires and strange shapes. The dwellings and churches cut into the faces of cliffs and mountains also lend a mystical air to the semi-arid surroundings.

However, recent years have revealed Cappadocia had more secrets than previously disclosed, including a veritable network of underground cities, outfitted to sustain underground life for extended periods of time. Many of them are interconnected and large enough to be considered their own independent cities. As more and more amazing underground dwellings are uncovered, the mystery surrounding this troglodyte lifestyle still remains, and Derinkuyu and Nevsehir are no exceptions.

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