Author Topic: Lascaux and archeoastronomy  (Read 5390 times)

Offline Adaryn

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Lascaux and archeoastronomy
« on: June 12, 2011, 07:15:00 PM »
Came upon this by chance today:

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Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez is an independent researcher, astronomer and ethnologist with a PhD in Humanities. According to her studies, hunter gatherers spent long nights observing the sky, calculating, and recording their discoveries either on the walls of caves or on animal bones. Thanks to their analyses they could measure time and adapt to weather change. She has concluded that prehistoric men chose their caves according to the orientation of the sun, created measuring tools such as a lunar calendar, and their wall paintings were the first maps of the sky and stars.

Chantal's research and the theories presented by April Vihilidal clearly cross support and corroborate each other. Please visit Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez's web site and also read some of the corespondence between these two ground breaking researchers.

_http://www.calibratezodiac108.com/chantal.html

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translation of LASCAUX PLANETARIUM PREHISTORIQUE? by Pedro Lima

The incredible discoveryof a paleo-astrononomer

SCIENCE & VIE,

December 2000

Translators note: The subject matter of this article was taken from a research study that was conducted in 1999-2000 by an independent paleo-astronomer (a scientist who studies the stars of the ancient sky) by the name of Chantal Jegues-Wolkiewiez.

The FALLING HORSE in the Axial Gallery was found to align with the Winter Solstice
The painters of Lascaux were astronomers! Cro-Magnon men painted a zodiac on the walls of the cave, which showed the formation of the sky in the Magdalenian era, 17,000 years ago. This discovery of ancient astronomy, if confirmed, could change our understanding of pre-historic art and also of the people who painted the pictures. Research conducted and revealed in this article by independent prehistoric-astronomer, Chantal Jegues-Wolkiewiez could revolutionize presently held concepts of prehistoric man's knowledge of astronomy.

At the center of the controversy is Lascaux cave. A natural rock formation in the Dordogne region of southwest France that existed for 17,000 years before four teenage boys accidentally discovered it in l940. Since that time the paintings found in the majestic Hall of Bulls in the cave are considered to be one of the highest achievements of humanity and have astounded and mystified both art historians and prehistoric archeologists.

THE FIRST ZODIAC?

In November 2000 Chantal Jegues-Wolkiewiez presented a paper at the International Symposium of Prehistoric Art in Italy. The paper was entitled, Lascaux, the Magdalenians View of the Sky. In it, paleo-astronomer, Jegues-Wolkiewiez, states that the cave paintings were records of the zodiac constellations, fixed stars and the solstice points. She confirmed her thesis by showing that all the constellations of the zodiac except Aquarius and part of Pisces are represented by the animals in their natural state of that time. The precision of the respective orientations as well as the presence of the figure of the setting Sun demonstrates that Cro-Magnon men were remarkable observers of the sky.

This announcement that Paleolithic men were great astronomers as well as extraordinary artists was revolutionary. The idea that they marked the zodiac belt as a band of sky that holds twelve constellations dancing in an eternal circle following the path of the Sun and that they painted these calculations on rock puts our understanding of the history of astronomy in a radically new light. In effect this says that in far-off time men represented the actual constellations by drawing/tracing them on the pictures of certain animals particularly the bull. If this is true then they preceded the Babylonian astronomers by 10,000 years. These were surprising statements...

HOW DID THEY DO IT?

In order to represent the constellations in the cave, the ancient painters/astronomers had to find a way to mark the lines between the stars, similar to amateur astronomers today who know how to make angles by using their fingers to measure distances between the different stars. Perhaps these Cro-Magnon men used sticks as rulers to mark and measure the height of certain stars in the sky. When they returned to the cave the painters traced the drawing of the sky from their observation. According to Chantal Jegues-Wolkiewiez, these first astronomer/painters were already capable of using the stars as heavenly guides to find the position of the stars that were not visible above the horizon.
But how did Chantal Jegues-Wolkiewiez arrive at this conclusion?
In 1999 she joined with Jean-Michel Geneste, a member of the team who studied the Grotto at Chauvert in Ardeche. The idea that certain paintings at Lascaux represent stars or constellations was not new. But it was never verified by serious scientific studies based on astronomical measurements. This is exactly what Jean-Michel Geneste proposed that he and Chantal Jegues-Wolkiewiez should do.

From the first contact with the cave and the immense and poignant Hall of Bulls the two scientists followed scientific procedures, which was different from past research. A constant humidity and temperature was maintained in the interior of the cave and Jegues-Wolkiewiez scientifically demonstrated that the Lascaux paintings were 17,000 years old by using the Carbon l4 dating technique.

The paleo-astronomers made constructions of the sky in the Magdalenian period, which was different from our sky today, using astronomical software (unfonunately not named). They made models of the western map of each constellation. Then they made measurements of the orientation of all the paintings according to an astronomical compass, which is precise to half of azimuth (an arc of the heavens extending from the zenith to the horizon, which it cuts at right angles). Finally through further measurement they compared the outlines of the paintings in the Hall of Bulls with the sky in Magdalenian times.
Then from measurements taken on site the scientists established that the entrance to Lascaux cave faces west and slopes downward at a 12 degree angle. This was the plan that the paleo-astronomers presented: to prove that the NW entrance to the cave was identical to the one perceived by the prehistoric artists and that the l2 degree angle of the entrance led to the paintings in the Hall of the Bulls. From this Jegues-Wolkiewiez conjectured that the rays of the setting Sun at the Summer Solstice penetrated into the cave and touched certain paintings.

JUNE 19 AT 21 HOURS GMT

There was only one way to confirm this: to observe the direction of the light of the setting Sun on the following Summer Solstice on June 19, 1999. The point on the horizon where the Sun sets on the Solstice is a point which does not vary significantly from year to year and century to century. (see horoscope)

Jegues-Wolkiewiez then verified her hypothesis that the rays of the setting sun at the Summer Solstice 17,000 years ago could have penetrated into the cave at Lascaux. She concluded that it was possible that these rays lit up the painting of the Red Bull on the back wall in the Hall of Bulls with an experiment. On the Summer Solstice June 21, 1999 Jegues-Wolkiewiez went to the Lascaux cave. At 21h GMT she observed the last rays of the setting Sun hitting the entrance to the cave for 15 minutes.

“On June 19 at 21 h we saw the solar rays lighting, little by little, for l5 minutes, the large opening which marked the entrance of the cave” said Chantal Jegues-Wolkiewiez. She also stated that 17,000 years ago the last rays of the Sun during other Summer solstices lit the paintings of Lascaux! The discovery constitutes a revolution of all previous knowledge on the subject of prehistoric caves and on the art of the times.
   
Cro-Magnon Man's dominating theme of bulls is explained by the constellation Taurus being dominant in the ancient sky during that period. These FACING BULLS are said to align with the constellations of Taurus and Scorpio. FACING BULLS also correspond to the rising and setting opposition of the Fixed Stars of Alderbaran, the eye of the bull in Taurus, and to Antares in Scorpio.
THE HALL OF BULLS
In order to explain the predominance of bulls in the prehistoric zodiac, Chantal Jegues-Wolkiewiez says that it was precisely the constellation Taurus that culminated in the Summer Solstice sky and was of primary importance to prehistoric painters. The entire Hall of Bulls is proposed to correspond to the constellation Taurus. The eye of the Bull is in alignment with the supergiant Alderbaran in the center of the constellation. While there are also stars configured that make up the Hyades which encircle the eye of Alderbaran. The Pleiades are above his shoulder.

Further examples are found in the Facing Bulls who stand opposite each other. According to Jegues-Wolkiewiez these bulls align with the constellations of Taurus and Scorpio. That these constellations are not visible in- the same sky at the time of the opposition strengthens her theory that Cro-Magnons possessed a direct knowledge of astronomy. Parts of these same bulls also correspond to the rising and setting opposition of the fixed stars of Alderbaran (the eye) in Taurus and to Antares in the Scorpio Bull.

THE FALLING HORSE

At the end of the Axial Gallery is an animal unique to Lascaux- the upside down or Falling Horse. The legs and the head of this horse are visible in the passageway and raised towards the sky while the lower half of the body is hidden behind a fold of the wall. “I have measured the direction indicated by this horse and found it to be the point where the Sun rises on the first day of winter”, explains the scientist.

This hypothesis is strengthened by the presence above the Falling Horse of another horse that is identical to the one in the main Hall of Bulls. This second horse is placed above the bulls and corresponds to the constellations of Leo and Scorpio. The rnane of this horse points to the brilliant star Arcturus and is exactly visible at the end of winter at the point above the horizon where the Sun rises. As the horse above in profile corresponds to the Sun at Spring Equinox, so below, the Falling Horse relates to the Sun at Winter Solstice.

Art historians have long been delighted that the cave paintings are accurate to a minute degree in their knowledge of animal anatomy and seasonal habits of each species. But that is not what is important. What is implied is that each painting in the Hall is aligned with a corresponding zodiac constellation. “This is what we hold to be true”, said Chantal Jegues-wolkiewiez. It is the positions and relationships of the animals that indicate astronomical knowledge of the solstice positions, the constellations and the fixed stars.

Her computer simulations, her measurements and the experiment at the cave itself, all led her to conclude that Cro-Magnon man did indeed possess the mathematical abilities to calculate and project the positions of the stars regardless of their visibility. In other words, she puts forth the theory that Cro-Magnon man was not only an artist but also an astronomer and a mathematician.

CONCLUSION:

In the interests of objectivity, author Pedro Lima ends the article with the comments from several French scientists who say that Jegues-Wolkiewiez's discoveries at the cave at Lascaux should be viewed as one isolated incident and that they must be verified by other studies and measurements in other caves of the same period. The scientists also argued that with the millions of stars in the sky there would always be some that could be found to be in correspondence to the paintings or to anything.

Lima's final statement is that perhaps other researchers will confirm the conclusion for themselves, by statistical studies on many caves using a multi-dimensional approach. Perhaps further research will prove that prehistoric men were also astronomers and that, in the Magdalenian Period, ancient men held religious beliefs that were contained and revealed in the sky, and were of primary importance to them. Perhaps Cro-Magnon man did look to the stars for answers to the deepest human questions.

_http://www.pciampi-astrology.com/articles/Lascaux_1.htm

Website of Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez: http://www.archeociel.com/Accueil_eng.htm

See also: "Palaeolithic European Constellations 1: Ice-age star maps?"
« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 07:18:13 PM by Adaryn »

Offline RyanX

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Re: Lascaux and archeoastronomy
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2011, 11:55:32 PM »
Came upon this by chance today:

Quote
Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez is an independent researcher, astronomer and ethnologist with a PhD in Humanities. According to her studies, hunter gatherers spent long nights observing the sky, calculating, and recording their discoveries either on the walls of caves or on animal bones. Thanks to their analyses they could measure time and adapt to weather change. She has concluded that prehistoric men chose their caves according to the orientation of the sun, created measuring tools such as a lunar calendar, and their wall paintings were the first maps of the sky and stars.

Chantal's research and the theories presented by April Vihilidal clearly cross support and corroborate each other. Please visit Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez's web site and also read some of the corespondence between these two ground breaking researchers.

_http://www.calibratezodiac108.com/chantal.html

This person April Vihilidal is basically saying the same thing that Walter Crutenden says in his book The Lost Star of Myth and Time, that there should be a calibrated Zodiac due to the Sun is moving in a binary orbit about a companion star.  To visualize what this looks like, check out the animation at the bottom of this page:

_http://www.binaryresearchinstitute.org/bri/research/evidence/sheeredge.shtml

Basically the Solar System turns through the Zodiac slowly on when the Sun and companion are at apoapsis (the furthest point from each other), then as they come together they turn faster.  So this means that the Solar System, and along with it the Earth, would not pass through each segmented Zodiac in an equal amount of time, it would have to be "calibrated" based on the orbital parameters.  As the Sun approaches the companion, we accelerate through the Zodiac, moving faster; and as the Sun moves away from the companion, we decelerate through the Zodiac.  That's basically what April means by a calibrated Zodiac.

What's interesting is that she believes that the "bird on a pole" painting represents the Atair of Aquilla, the Eagle, and the man above this bird is supposed to represent Sagitta, the arrow:





Most experts claim that the cave paintings date back to around 17,000 BCE.  Using the calibrated version of the Zodiac that April uses, this means they would have been painted during the 'Age of the Bull' (there are lots of bulls painted throughout the caves).  She makes the assumption that these folks were 'Eastern Time Keepers' or based the age they were in on the Autumnal Equinox sky.  According to her:

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The Age of Scorpio according to the tradition of the ‘Western Time Keepers’ began 17,286 years ago. This tradition follows the vernal equinoxes. The tradition of the ‘Eastern Time Keepers’, on the other hand follow the autumnal equinoxes. In this tradition The ‘Age of the Bull’ would have begun 17,286 years ago. Thus we have the very detailed information of the bulls on the caves in Lascaux, France; with their type of fur for summer and winter, their tails crossing, and the positioning of their eyes.

In the Lascaux cave in France the ‘bird on the pole’ is depicting the pole star for the ‘Age of Scorpio’ according to Western Time Keepers and the ‘Age of the Bull’ according to Eastern Time Keepers. The ‘man’ figure above the bird on the pole is ‘Saggit’ or the Arrow. In modern day star charts ‘Saggit’ looks very much like the ‘man’ drawn in the cave.

The arrows carved into the side of the rock gave me the idea that these people were ‘Eastern Time Keepers’ because in spring the snow covered the mountain. But during the autumn the arrows could be seen. This ‘pointed’ to two ideas; 1) ‘Saggit’ the Arrow or the ‘man’ above the ‘bird on the pole’ in the Lascaux Cave and 2) The ‘Eastern Time Keeping’ tradition of following the Autumnal Equinox.

If one is looking at a non-calibrated zodiac, then the dates, times and images do not match up and the images of the ‘bird on the pole’ and the ‘man’ above makes no sense and remains elusive to intelligent deciphering. However, when our theories are used in corroboration, then the images of ‘bird on the pole’ and the ‘man’ above the ‘bird on the pole’ come to life. Thus we can truly understand that man’s first home was the firmament.

This is all detailed in this letter between April and Chantal here:

_http://www.calibratezodiac108.com/media/april_chantal.pdf

The thing I'm not so sure about is the 17,000 BCE date.  I'm aware that carbon dating can be abysmally inaccurate due to many factors (cometary bombardment dumping carbon, changes in cosmic ray influx, etc).  I'm not sure I would want to build a theory that rests on a single date like this.  I thought I recall Laura mentioning somewhere that she thought these cave paintings were much older than the accepted date, but I can't remember where I read that.  I hope she can confirm or correct me here.

But I agree with the main premise by Chantal that the paintings probably represent sky maps, and possibly other symbols too.

Thanks for finding this Adaryn!  Most interesting! :)
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Offline Meager1

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Re: Lascaux and archeoastronomy
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2011, 01:08:14 AM »
I don`t know if there`s anything to it, but I recall reading awhile ago that originally the "gods" were particular land mass`s.   Later they became the zodiac and then even later, the sky gods.

For instance the word Jupiter was, or first meant, a neck of land between two waters.
 

Then supposedly, as these words were carried from people to people, the meanings changed.

If this is anywhere near what actually happened, then all the gods would have been certain "locations" to begin with, and you had to go there to contact the god.

Later, pictures were made (the zodiac) so you didn`t have to actually make the trip?

And then even later all the rest was added to it, making the land gods into sky figures etc.

I thought it was a strange theory, but considering the way everything has been turned around, who knows anymore how it all really started out! 
 

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Offline Scarlet

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Re: Lascaux and archeoastronomy
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2011, 05:22:13 AM »
I find this theory extremely fascinating, especially considering the other theories out there regarding their motives!  Thanks for posting this, Adaryn.  :)  I'd be curious to know what comparisons she, or anyone has drawn regarding astronomy and the cave of Chauvet, (a much larger and older site than the one in Lascaux).  Her other publications seem to also support the theory that the cave painters were astronomers:

_http://www.archeociel.com/Accueil_eng.htm
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Abstracts and Publications (Paleolithic period)

- “Chronology of the orientation of painted caves and shelters in the French Palaeolithic”
Abstract : Measurements of 130 caves in the south of France showed that all are oriented in the direction of important solar points: sunrise and sunset at summer and winter solstice and spring and autumn equinox. It was also showed a relationship between the way in which some animals were painted (fur colour, erection) and the season when the sun illuminated the cave: summer for animals painted with a summer coat, winter for animals with winter coats.

Publication: Val Camonica 2007 Symposium of Cave Art, Italy. “Chronology of the orientation of painted caves and shelters in the French Palaeolithic” (pages 225-239), 19/05/2007.

- “The roots of astronomy, or the hidden order of a Palaeolithic work”
Abstract : Measurements on a small bone, with 69 engraved incisions made 32,000 years ago in the “Abri Blanchard”, Dordogne, associated with calculations of the moon’s position in the Palaeolithic sky, showed that the 69 incisions corresponded to the trajectory of the moon over a 69-day period. This is an important revelation, that indicates astronomical knowledge in very ancient periods: it was hitherto thought that the origins of astronomy were to be found in Babylonian culture, 6000 years ago.

Publication: “The roots of astronomy, or the hidden order of a Palaeolithic work” (in Les Antiquités Nationales, tome 37 pages 43 - 52), February 2007.
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