By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood
Timeline Story

Upper Paleolithic Cave Art with Symbols

Upper Paleolithic Cave Art with Symbols

From Year 0 (BCE/CE): -40000
Post Date: 04/19/2024

Earliest known symbol use in the Europe/Mediterranean zone. 

Dating back to around 40,000 BCE, the Upper Paleolithic cave art found across Europe presents a compelling narrative of early human communication and symbolic expression. Sites like Lascaux in France and Altamira in Spain feature elaborate depictions of animals, human figures, and abstract symbols that recur with remarkable consistency across diverse regions. These symbols, including dots, lines, and geometric shapes, suggest a standardized usage that transcends mere artistic decoration. Researchers speculate that these symbols may have served proto-writing functions, possibly representing early attempts to record important information such as seasonal changes, ritual practices, or social codes.

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