Ancient Cave Paintings Show Early Humans Understood Complex Astronomy

Even cave-dwellers were fascinated with the mysteries of time and outer space. Analysis of some of the world’s oldest cave paintings revealed that ancient people had a better conception of time and astronomical properties than previously thought.

A study led by researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that perhaps as far back as 40,000 years ago, humans were already keeping track of time using their knowledge of how the positions of stars and constellations in the night sky shift over millennia.

The UE researchers, joined by others from the University of Kent, studied Neolithic and Paleolithic paintings in France, Turkey, Spain, and Germany. All of the paintings they studied showed signs of this ancient method of time-keeping.

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