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Thread: The Writing on the Wall: Symbols from the Paleolithic

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    Forum Elder Cognito's Avatar
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    Default The Writing on the Wall: Symbols from the Paleolithic

    This article could just have easily been placed on the archaeological thread, but I consider written language to be an art so bear with me.


    The Writing on the Wall: Symbols from the Paleolithic


    In 2009, a ground-breaking study by Genevieve von Petzinger revealed that dots, lines and other geometric signs found in prehistoric European caves may be the precursor to an ancient system of written communication dating back nearly 30,000 years. Von Petzinger, with University of Victoria anthropology professor April Nowell, compiled the markings from 146 different sites in Ice Age France, making it possible to compare the signs on a larger scale than had ever previously been attempted.

    What made her research ‘new’ was that she was able to use a whole range of modern technology to compare inventories and digital images from nearly 150 locations— allowing her the ability to observe startling similarities among the different sites studied.
    26 repeating signs

    Building on previous work by other scholars who tended to focus on the local or regional level, von Petzinger and Nowell were surprised by the clear patterning of the symbols across space and time—some of which remained continually in use for over a period of 20,000 years. The 26 specific signs may provide the first glimmers of proof that a graphic code was being used by these ancient humans shortly after their arrival in Europe, or they may have even brought this practice with them. If correct, these findings will contribute to the growing body of evidence that the creative explosion occurred tens of thousands of years earlier than scholars once thought. Von Petzinger and Nowell’s findings have been reported in the New Scientist journal and their research continues to explore the meaning of the symbols.

    See: http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index....e-palaeolithic
    The pen is mightier than the sword, and considerably easier to write with.

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    Ishtar (March 22nd, 2012)

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    Forum owner Ishtar's Avatar
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    You've probably seen this, but it's some zig-zagging or cross hatching going back 74,000 years on a piece of hematite in the Blombos caves in south Africa.

    DETAIL_PICTURE_632799.jpg

    So if zig-zags were part of a communication system 30,000 years ago as von Petzinger and Nowell are suggesting, then is this piece of hematite evidence of a written language even further back?
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    Cognito (March 30th, 2012)

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    These people were communicating their thoughts, tracking time, the days, the seasons, etc. Again, we cannot underestimate their intelligence. On the contrary, I don't believe I would last more than a day in their environment ... maybe a week if I was allowed to take along all the latest techo-gadgets. Sooner or later some predator(s) would have me for dinner unless I could merge into and be accepted by a group of humans for protection - but why would they? I'd be a drag on their resources.
    The pen is mightier than the sword, and considerably easier to write with.

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