Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Appetitive: Rock Art

I have always liked cave drawings and rock carvings. I remember studying petroglyphs with my second grade teacher and hiking through mountains covered with drawings with my eighth grade class. Consequently, I was excited yesterday to see an Egyptology News post about new rock art found in Sudan from about 5,000 years ago. This was especially intriguing when the article mentioned that there were scenes that scientists cannot explain. Unfortunately, Egyptology News often does not include pictures to go along with the news story, so I followed the link to Live Science to investigate. I was disappointed to discover that the scenes were extremely simplistic and that (as it appeared to me) archaeologists were providing much more specific meanings to drawings than I could possibly imagine e.g. a semi-circle around a dot was equated to a crescent moon and an orb rather than the plethora of possibilities for that symbol. The slideshow of some of the drawings from 1,500-5,000 years ago can be found here.

This was especially disappointing as I recently learned about the Lascaux caves in France, which contain some of the most incredible cave drawings I have ever seen-- mostly paleolithic drawings of horses.

The one redeeming factor in the Sudan rock drawings are the "rock gongs," a set of rocks that make sounds when hit, and soemtiems make multiple sounds. On the other hand, the archaeologists might be exaggerating this too...

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