Oldest lunar calendars identified in cave art found in France and Germany

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Washington, September 23 (ANI): The oldest lunar calendars have been identified in cave art found in France and Germany, dating back to the Aurignacian Culture of Europe during 32,000 B.C.

Between 1964 and the early 1990s, Alexander Marshack published breakthrough research that documented the mathematical and astronomical knowledge in the Late Upper Paleolithic Cultures of Europe.

Marshack deciphered sets of marks carved into animal bones, and occasionally on the walls of caves, as records of the lunar cycle.

These marks are sets of crescents or lines.

Artisans carefully controlled line thickness so that a correlation with lunar phases would be as easy as possible to perceive.

Sets of marks were often laid out in a serpentine pattern that suggests a snake deity or streams and rivers.

Many of these lunar calendars were made on small pieces of stone, bone or antler so that they could be easily carried.

These small, portable, lightweight lunar calendars were easily carried on extended journeys such as long hunting trips and seasonal migrations.

Hunting the largest animals was arduous, and might require hunters to follow herds of horses, bison, mammoth or ibex for many weeks.

The phases of the moon depicted in these sets of marks are inexact. Precision was impossible unless all nights were perfectly clear which is an unrealistic expectation. The arithmetic counting skill implied by these small lunar calendars is obvious.

The recognition that there are phases of the moon and seasons of the year that can be counted - that should be counted because they are important - is profound.

Until Marshack's work, many archeologists believed the sets of marks he chose to study were nothing but the aimless doodles of bored toolmakers.

What Marshack uncovered is the intuitive discovery of mathematical sets and the application of those sets to the construction of a calendar.

Calendars record events whose location in time is important to the clan.

The time scale used on these earliest calendars is the phases of the moon because they are reliable and predictable, easily described with clarity and require only minimal artistic skill to draw. (ANI)

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