- Jan 2023
Bacon, Bennett, Azadeh Khatiri, James Palmer, Tony Freeth, Paul Pettitt, and Robert Kentridge. “An Upper Palaeolithic Proto-Writing System and Phenological Calendar.” Cambridge Archaeological Journal, January 5, 2023, 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959774322000415.
There may be questions as to whether or not this represents written language, but, if true, this certainly represents one of the oldest examples of annotation in human history!
We believe that we have demonstrated the use of abstract marks to convey meaning about the behaviour of the animals with which they are associated, on European Upper Palaeolithic material culture spanning the period from ~37,000 to ~13,000 bp. In our reading, the animals integral to our analytical modules do not depict a specific individual animal, but all animals of that species, at least as experienced by the images’ creators. This synthesis of image, mathematical syntax (the ordinal/linear sequences) and signs functioning as words formed an efficient means of recording and communicating information that has at its heart the core intellectual achievement of abstraction.
We believe that the numeric notational marks associated with the animals constituted a calendar, and given that it references natural behaviour in terms of seasons relative to a fixed point in time, we may refer to it as a phenological calendar, with a meteorological basis.
These may occur on rock walls, but were commonly engraved onto robust bones since at least the beginning of the European Upper Palaeolithic and African Late Stone Age, where it is obvious they served as artificial memory systems (AMS) or external memory systems (EMS) to coin the terms used in Palaeolithic archaeology and cognitive science respectively, exosomatic devices in which number sense is clearly evident (for definitions see d’Errico Reference d'Errico1989; Reference d'Errico1995a,Reference d'Erricob; d'Errico & Cacho Reference d'Errico and Cacho1994; d'Errico et al. Reference d'Errico, Doyon and Colage2017; Hayden Reference Hayden2021).
Abstract marks have appeared on rock walls and engraved into robust bones as artificial memory systems (AMS) and external memory systems (EMS).
We also demonstrate that the <Y> sign, one of the most frequently occurring signs in Palaeolithic non-figurative art, has the meaning <To Give Birth>. The position of the <Y> within a sequence of marks denotes month of parturition, an ordinal representation of number in contrast to the cardinal representation used in tallies.
parturition<br /> the action of giving birth to young
<Y> potentially one of the first written "words"
Using a database of images spanning the European Upper Palaeolithic, we suggest how three of the most frequently occurring signs—the line <|>, the dot <•>, and the <Y>—functioned as units of communication.
- material culture
- indigenous knowledge
- cultural anthropology
- proto-writing systems
- writing as memory
- meteorological calendars
- human evolution
- upper palaeolithic
- archaeology of knowledge
- absract marks on bones
- data visualizations
- non-figurative art
- artificial memory systems
- external memory systems
- cave art
- phenological calendars
- Sep 2022
Describing himself as a “messenger from the past”, Berger says that this discovery destroyed the preconceptions of a progressive, linear development of humans from apelike ancestors to what we are now. H. naledi is now dated at between 236,000 and 335,000 years old and was, therefore, a contemporary of Homo sapiens at that stage, which proves that a small-brained hominid was living side by side with its large-brained cousin, who is supposed to represent the apotheosis of sentient beings.
!- for : Deep Humanity - intriguing result with important implications on cultural evolution
- Dec 2021
If ever any beauty I did see, Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.
It's a clever reworking of Plato's cave allegory.
The lover is presented as the Ideal of Beauty, which all earthly beauty is but an imperfect reflection of it. The previous mistresses that the speaker had a relationship with were mere fantasy(dream) of the lady that he is now in love with. It's a quite common conceit in Renaissance lyrics. However, the expression 'desired and got' is an original line of John Donne to refresh this overused cliché.
- Nassaar S., Plato in John Donne's 'The Good Morrow' (2003)
- Book: John Donne, The Complete English Poet (1971)
A cave where wild animals live.
Another expression to demean the immature pleasures the speaker and the addressee once enjoyed.
Also, the imagery of cave connects to the Plato's allegory of the cave which is the inspirational basis for line 6 and 7.
- Oct 2021
The Bruniquel cave, in southwest France, is believed to be a Neanderthal dwelling 100,000 years before humans in Europe. Stalagmites in the cave may have been arranged as walls, and possibly as a fireplace. Charred bone found in the walls date to 175,000 years ago.
This cave is apparently fairly deep. Cross reference this with deep cave fires and asphyxiation research.
- Article: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/may/25/neanderthals-built-mysterious-cave-structures-175000-years-ago
- Related journal article: http://nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/nature18291
Is it possible that such a place was used as a memory palace? Being secluded away and the play of fire inside would certainly fit some of Lynne Kelly's criteria from Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies. More evidence would be needed however.
- Apr 2021
Figurative cave art is the fief of Homo sapiens, going by present evidence (there is no evidence of figurative Neanderthal art). The earliest-known painting is of a warty pig; it was found just this year in a very inaccessible cavesite in Indonesia and is about 45,500 years old.
Dating of the oldest cave art to about 45,500 years ago.
- Sep 2020
- Jan 2019
elevision andinformation and communications technology were added in the 1980s.
Is this where cave paintings would fit as a cultural technology?
There is a profound disorientation.
Immediately reminds me of Plato's "Allegory of the Cave."
- Nov 2017
he mouth of which is spacious and wide, but full of thorn and wild-fig bushes and brambles and briars, so thick and matted that they completely close it up and cover it over.
Check out this Freudian pschoanalytical interpretation of the Cave at about 3:00 in this youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGQFcG_NaoI
- Feb 2017
Part V. Connexion of Place
This section is jumping out at me this time around. Keep it mind later on when we turn to discuss the elements of the rhetorical situation. Campbell opens up for discussing the material dimensions of rhetoric: not simply rhetoric as the discursive activity of humans, but as an emergent aspect of human and nonhuman relations. Also, recall here Rickert on the role of the caves themselves in the making of cave art.