Mysterious symbols in cave paintings may be earliest form of writing

Cave painting of cattle

Cave painting from Lascaux, France, showing a bull marked with a sequence of lines


Stone Age people living in Europe 20,000 years ago may have devised a simple form of writing to record the habits of the animals they hunted, according to a study of mysterious symbols on artefacts and cave walls. If confirmed, this would push back the earliest known appearance of a proto-writing system by at least 10,000 years.

At least 400 caves in Europe, such as Lascaux and Chauvet in France and Altamira in Spain, have …

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