In 2008, a scientific study revealed an astonishing fact about the paleolithic humans ― several cave paintings, some of which were as old as 40,000 years, were products of complex astronomy that our primitive ancestors acquired in the distant past.
Experts discovered that the star maps are actually old star maps. They were believed to have been symbols of prehistoric animals.
Cave art from the early days of human civilization shows that they had a good understanding of the night sky during the last ice age. In intellect, they were no different than us today. However, these cave paintings proved that humans had a deep understanding of constellations and stars more than 40,000 year ago.
During the Paleolithic Age, or also called the Old Stone Age ― a period in prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers almost 99% of the period of human technological prehistory.
Ancient star maps
The University of Edinburgh published a groundbreaking scientific study that found ancient humans could control the passage of time through their ability to observe how the stars move in the sky. It was previously thought that the ancient artifacts found across Europe were not just representations of wild animals.
Animal symbols are used instead to represent constellations of stars in night sky. They can be used to indicate dates and mark events such as eclipses, meteor showers or asteroid collisions.
Scientists suggest that ancient peoples perfectly understood the effect caused by the gradual change in the Earth’s axis of rotation. This phenomenon is known as the precession or equinoxes. It was first discovered by the ancient Greeks.
One of the lead researchers, Dr. Martin Sweatman from the University of Edinburgh, explained, “Early cave art shows that people had advanced knowledge of the night sky in the last ice age. Intuitively, they were no more advanced than us today. These findings support a theory of multiple impacts of comets throughout human development and are likely to revolutionize the way prehistoric populations are viewed.”
A sophisticated knowledge of constellations
Experts from Kent University and Edinburgh Universities studied renowned arts found in ancient caves in Turkey and France. Their in-depth research led them to the conclusion that these rock arts were common during the ancient era. They did this by chemically dating the paints.
The researchers then used computer software to predict the exact position of the stars at the time the paintings were created. It was discovered that abstract representations of animals can be used to interpret what has appeared in the past as constellations, which is how they emerged in the distant future.
Scientists conclude that these amazing cave paintings show that ancient humans employed sophisticated timing techniques based upon astronomical calculations. This is despite the fact that cave paintings were separated by thousands of years.
“The oldest sculpture in the world, the Lion-Man from the Hohlenstein-Stadel cave, from 38,000 BC, was also considered compatible with this ancient timing system,” revealed experts in a statement from the University of Edinburgh.
This mysterious figurine is thought to be a memorial to the devastating impact of an asteroid around 11,000 years back. It also initiated the Younger Dryas Event, which saw a rapid cooling of the global climate.
“The date carved in the ‘Vulture Stone of Göbekli Tepe is interpreted as being 10,950 BC, within 250 years,” explained the scientists in the study. “This date is written using the precession of the equinoxes, with animal symbols representing stellar constellations corresponding to this year’s four solstices and equinoxes.”
This amazing discovery proves that humans understood time and space thousands years before the ancient Greeks, who are the ones who first studied modern astronomy. These are just a few examples. There are many other instances such as the Sumerian Planisphere and the Nebra Sky Disk. They also indicate a more advanced understanding of modern astronomy that our ancient ancestors had.