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Archaeologists Discovered 40,000-Year-Old Star Maps With Expertise In Modern Astronomy

A surprising discovery about Paleolithic humans was disclosed in 2008, when numerous cave paintings dating back to 40,000 years ago turned out to be works of sophist

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In 2008, a startling revelation regarding Paleolithic people was made when it was shown that a number of 40,000-year-old cave paintings were actually highly advanced pieces of ancient astronomy acquired by our ancestors. Initially believed to depict prehistoric animals, the ancient paintings were reassessed to be star maps, said the involved experts.

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Advanced comprehension of the sky at night during the last ice age is depicted in the early cave arts, which wasn’t far from identical to our present-day knowledge. However, the ability to comprehend star systems and constellations is a challenging and significantly more complex component that can still be demonstrated by the prehistoric humans from 40,000 years ago.

Ancient constellations

According to a ground-breaking scientific study published by the University of Edinburgh, prehistoric men are thought to have understood the passage of time simply by seeing the stars’ shifting positions in the sky. The prehistoric paintings discovered in several cave sites in Europe did not only depict wild animals like what people believed.

The animals are actually representations of star constellations in the night sky that are used to depict dates and indicate events like asteroid collisions, eclipses, meteor showers, sunrise and sunset, solstices and equinoxes, lunar phases, and more.

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Throughout these paintings, experts believe that our ancestors excellently acknowledged the impact of the gradual change in the Earth’s axis of rotation. The discovery of this phenomena, also known as the precession of the equinoxes, was formerly attributed to the ancient Greeks.

Dr. Martin Sweatman, the leader of the specialists and a professor at the University of Edinburgh, explains, “Early cave art demonstrates that people had a sophisticated understanding of the night sky during the last ice age. They were no different from us intellectually. The way prehistoric populations are perceived is likely to change as a result of these discoveries, which support the notion of several comet influences on human development.

Complex understanding of star maps

Scientists from Edinburgh and Kent universities examined a number of well-known works found in historic cave sites in Turkey, Spain, France, and Germany. They used a chemical dating method to establish the age of these prehistoric men’s rock paintings, and then computer software to pinpoint the precise location of the constellations.

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They suggest that the mysterious statuette served as a reminder of the cataclysmic asteroid hit that occurred 11,000 years ago, starting the so-called Younger Dryas Event, a period of abrupt global cooling.

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“The date carved in the ‘Vulture Stone’ of Göbekli Tepe is interpreted as being 10,950 BC, within 250 years,” clarified the experts. The four solstices and equinoxes of this year are represented by animal symbols on the date, which is written using the precession of the equinoxes.

The bottom line

The astounding discoveries may show that prehistoric men understood time and space at a sophisticated level thousands of years before the ancient Greeks, who were previously credited with making the first discoveries related to modern astronomy. Several other examples, like the Sumerian Planisphere, the Nebra Sky Disk, Babylonian Clay Tablet all refer to much complex understanding of modern astronomy acquired by our predecessors.