by Richard W. Wise
Author: The Dawning: 31,000 BC
According to the latest theory, the <Y>, a symbol found on the walls of caves, is associated with sex, specifically birth. Dots correlate with mating. The <Y> was, thus, a verb. Nouns appear to be lacking. The animal image could be described as a pictographic noun with the symbol as a caption. The authors of the study do not go so far as to call this writing; they prefer the term proto-writing.
The Cambridge study does show a remarkable correlation between the symbols, mating and birth. I found it interesting that the study included fish. In my novel, The Dawning, the Homo Sapien tribe lives in a permanent village. Its location along a river makes this possible. They are able to catch, smoke, and in late Fall, freeze and store fish to supply them through the long winter months.
The <Y> symbol is ubiquitous, with a long and distinguished history. Some scholars interpret it as symbolizing the vulva. (Bahn, 1999). It appears in a number of early writing systems, including Sumerian, Indus Valley, both Linear A and B, right up through the Greek, Roman and English alphabets (Rudgley, 2019).
The ability to understand and project abstract ideas, the cyclical nature of life, for example, does suggest that early Homo Sapiens—by the time they reached Europe—had developed mental facilities and the ability to communicate in a fully syntactical language.
The Cambridge Study also threatens to throw cold water on the current archeological flavor of the decade. The neurological explanation for the cave paintings—that they are the result of the structure of the human brain. According to this theory, there are three stages of altered consciousness and the cave paintings depict hallucinations resulting from these altered states (Lewis-Williams, 2002).
Altered states are associated with early shamanic religions, which most experts view as the earliest attempts by humans to make sense of their world, they could be induced in a number of ways: ritual dancing, drumming, vision quests, and the ingestion of psychotropic plants such as magic mushrooms, yage, peyote, and other hallucinogenic substances.
The first stage may be experienced by simply pressing the closed eyes and focusing on the abstract shapes generated behind the eyes. Stage one explains the abstract symbols far outnumber the paintings on the walls of Paleolithic caves. In the second stage, the seeker begins to hallucinate. In the third, the acolyte loses their grip on reality, and the visions become a new reality and the non-rational basis for the paintings.
Mr. Bacon's explanation is, however, entirely rational. Stay Tuned.