code hidden in stone age art may be the root of human writing - full jewellery set
When she first saw the necklace, Genevieve von Pesinger was afraid to travel to Les EZ village in France on the other side of the planet --de-
Tayac is in vain.
Dozens of ancient deer teeth placed in front of her, each pierced like beads, looking roughly the same.
It was not until she turned around that hair at the back of her neck stood up.
The opposite is three etching symbols: one line, one X and the other.
Feng Pesinger, an ancient anthropologist from the University of Victoria in Canada, is leading an unusual study of cave art.
Her interest is not in the stunning paintings of bulls, horses and bison that usually come to mind, but in the smaller geometric symbols that are often found next to them.
Her work convinced her that simple shapes were not random graffiti, but a fundamental shift in our ancestral spiritual skills.
The first formal writing system we know is 5000-year-
The ancient cuneiform of the ancient city of guuk K, now Iraq.
But it is complicated with other systems like it-such as Egyptian hieroglyphs-and does not appear from a vacuum.
When people start playing simple abstract symbols for the first time, there must be an earlier time.
Over the years, von Pesinger has been wondering whether the circles, triangles and curves that humans began to leave on the cave walls 40,000 years ago represent that special moment in our history-the first human code
If so, these marks should not be sniffed.
Our ability to represent a concept with abstract symbols is something that other animals, even our closest chimpanzee cousins, cannot do.
It can be said to be the foundation of our advanced global culture.
The first step in checking her theory is to meticulously record the signs, their location, age, and style to see if any patterns appear.
To this end, von Pesinger will have to visit the caves as much as possible: archaeological attention to animal painting means that these signs are often ignored in existing records.
Work is not easy and charming.
In France, many stone age art is located there, and it can be very complicated to enter the cave.
Many are privately owned and sometimes carefully protected by archaeologists.
Feng Pesinger also visited many inconspicuous caves, which are not large and gorgeous paintings.
In El Portillo, in northern Spain, all she had to do was a note made by an archaeologist in 1979 with some "red signs;
No one has come back since then.
At first Feng Pesinger couldn't even find the entrance.
Finally, she noticed a small opening on her knee, dripping with water.
"Thank God, I'm not claustrophobic," she said . ".
Two hours later, she slid through the dirt in the mountain and found two dots painted in pink och.
Between 2013 and 2014, von Pesinger visited 52 caves in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal.
The symbols she found range from points, lines, triangles, squares, and twists to more complex shapes such as ladder shapes, hand boards, something called tectiform, it looks a bit like a pillar with a roof. the feather shape is called penniferms.
In some places, the signs are part of a larger painting.
Elsewhere, they are their own, like a row of bells found in El Castillo in northern Spain (
Or the 15 penniferms group in Santian, Spain.
"Our ability to represent a concept with abstract symbols is a unique human being," perhaps the most surprising finding is that there are only 32 symbols throughout Europe.
For thousands of years, our ancestors seemed strangely consistent with the symbols they used.
If nothing else, this suggests that these marks have some meaning.
"Of course, what they mean," said Jean Clottes, a former French historian . ".
"They are not doing this for fun.
"Multiple repetitions of P-
In the Niaux Cave in France, he argues, the claviform logo, which has different shapes, is "impossible to be coincidental ".
Thanks to Feng Pesinger's meticulous record, it is now possible to see the trend-a new sign of a region that will last for some time before fashion goes out of fashion.
Hand boards, for example, were fairly common in the early Neolithic period, starting 40,000 years ago and no longer popular after 20,000 years.
"You see a change in culture," says Feng Pesinger . ".
The earliest known penniform is from about 28,000 years ago, the grand groti Alsi-sur-
Cured in northern France, and later before the spread in the South, a little appeared in the West there.
It eventually reached northern Spain and even Portugal.
Feng Pesinger believes that this was first spread as people moved, but later it showed that it followed the trade route.
The study also shows that modern people use two
When they first settled in Europe, the third of these signs created another interesting possibility.
"It doesn't look like the beginning.
Rising stage of brand
Feng Pesinger wrote in her recently published book, the first sign: Unlocking the Mysteries of the world's oldest symbol:
Simon and Schuster).
In other words, when modern humans enter Europe from Africa, they must have brought a dictionary of symbolic psychology.
This is very consistent with the 70,000 findings. year-
Old och stone etched with Cross
Hatched in the Blombos Cave in South Africa.
When Feng Pesinger browsed the archaeological paper for symbol mentions or illustrations in cave art outside Europe, she found that many of her 32 symbols were used around the world (
See "consistent graffiti ").
There is even tempting evidence that, about 500,000 years ago, an early human straight man deliberately carved a glyph on a shell in Java.
"The ability of human beings to produce symbolic systems is clearly not what began 40,000 years ago.
This ability dates back to at least 100,000 years, "said Francisco de Riko of the University of Bordeaux, France.
Still, something very special seems to have happened in the Ice Age of Europe.
In a variety of caves, von Pesinger often finds symbols used together.
For example, from 40,000 years ago, hand boards are often found together with dots.
Later, between 28,000 and 22,000 years ago, they connected the parallel strips formed by dragging their fingers through the thumb template and fingers through soft cave deposits.
If you are looking for the Deep Origins of the writing system, these types of combinations are particularly interesting.
Now, we combine the letters effortlessly and make up words and words to make sentences, but this is a complex skill.
Von Pesinger wants to know if people in the upper Neolithic age are starting to try a more sophisticated way of encoding information using deliberately repeated symbolic sequences.
Unfortunately, it is hard to say from the signs drawn on the walls of the cave that the arrangement there may be deliberate or completely random.
"It is difficult to prove that a logo is considered to be a combination of two or more different logos," Derico said . ".
When Feng petzger was working on the problem, she found the necklace of the deer teeth.
It is one of the other works of art found in the grave of a young woman who died in the holy-about 16,000 years agoGermain-de-la-
In the south. west France.
Feng Pesinger knows in the description in a book that many teeth are engraved with geometric patterns.
So she traveled from Canada to the national Prehistoric Museum in Les EZ --de-
The tusac whose teeth are caught hopes that they may be a missing part of her puzzle.
At first glance, she knew that the trip was worth it.
X and straight lines are symbols she sees alone on various cave walls.
Now, here they are, X is sandwiched between two lines to form a compound character.
When she turned over every tooth, she found more and more decorations.
In the end, 48 places were engraved with a single sign or combination, many of which were also found in caves.
D errico says whether the symbol is really writing depends on what you mean by "writing.
Strictly speaking, a complete system must encode all human languages to rule out Stone Age signs.
But if you understand it as a system for encoding and transmitting information, then it is possible to see symbols as an early step in the development of writing.
That is to say, cracking the prehistoric password (
See "what do they mean? “)
"What we call the square, for Aboriginal Australia, could represent a well," Clottes said . ".
For d errico, without taking into account the animal descriptions they often relate to, we will never understand the meaning of these symbols.
"It's clear that it makes sense for the two to be together," he said . ".
Similarly, the wedge text is composed of hieroglyphs and counting symbols.
For example, rations are represented by bowls and heads, followed by lines that represent quantities.
Feng Pesinger pointed out another reason to believe that these symbols are special.
"The ability to realistically draw a horse or mammoth elephant is impressive," she said . ".
"But someone can draw a square, right?
To draw these signs, you don't rely on those who have artistic talent.
"In a sense, the humble nature of this shape makes them more universally available-an important feature of an effective communication system.
"What they can be used for and who is using them is a broader possibility.
"Most importantly, she believes that the invention of the first code represents a radical shift in the way our ancestors share information.
For the first time, they no longer need to communicate with each other at the same time in the same place, and the information can survive in the owner.
The task is far from over.
Von Pesinger plans to expand her stone age dictionary, add a lot of symbols to caves found on portable objects, other continents, and even under the waves (
See "art diving ").
"We only have a part of the picture now.
We are at an exciting moment.