By Richard W. Wise
Author: The Dawning: 31,000 BC
Current headlines are screaming: The discovery of protowriting in European Paleolithic caves by a London-based furniture conservator, Ben Bacon, is the hottest thing in archeology.
Bacon, a long-term amateur archeologist working with three professionals, two from Durham University and one from University College, London, claims to have cracked the code around two specific sets of cave signs. The markings, found in caves throughout Europe, are a lunar calendar that likely tracked the reproduction cycles of the prey animals depicted in Ice Age cave paintings.
The system of dots together with the <Y> sign are among those earlier identified by Genevieve Von Petzinger as one of thirty-two ubiquitous signs found while crawling—along with her husband--through painted caves spread all over the European continent. My wife and I saw several of these signs at Font de Gaum, Lascaux and Chauvet during our June tour. Geometric symbols are associated with the phenomenal animal images at many others, including Lascaux, El Castillo, Niaux, Tito Bustillo, and Pech Merle.
That a system of dots can be deduced as calendar markings is not altogether revelatory. In his 1991 book, Archeologist Alexander Marchack made a case for markings of portable art—markings on bones—can be traced as far back as the Aurignacian Period (40-35,000 BP). This latest study acknowledges that such things are parts of Artificial or External Memory Systems (EMS) used by early Homo Sapiens.
To suggest that these dot sequences represented a numerical system and were meant to convey information about prey animals, such as mating, birthing, rutting and migration seasons, is something new.
The Calendar of Creation:
The authors of this latest study agree with Marchack that each dot represents not a single number but a single unit of calendrical time. But where should they begin? The authors suggest a meteorological calendar which begins with Late Spring, the beginning of the Season of Life when the ice on the rivers melts and the herd animals begin migrating to their breeding grounds. This information would be of great importance to the hunter/gatherers of the late Paleolithic, who depended on these animals for most of their diet.