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KRONOS Vol II, No. 4
Psychology And Ancient Astronomical Discovery
Many disciplines agree that astronomy and astronomical concepts are of
central importance in human cultures and have been so since the beginning of history.
Ancient civilisations of both hemispheres measured time by astronomical cycles and
worshipped celestial bodies as primary deities. Monarchs typically held both civil and
religious authority in theocratic states which were controlled or significantly influenced by
Major religious ceremonies marked phases in astronomical
cycles, celebrating the sequence of seasons and other ecologically important events. Others
commemorated longer cycles associated with planets and stars. These formed the framework
of complex calendric systems against which the basic patterns of religious and civil life were
In the earliest records many of the standard constellations were recognised and used
with others to chart the starfield and track the paths of sun, moon, and planets. The early
complexity of astronomical lore suggests prehistoric recognition of astronomical cycles and
the development of basic techniques of observation.
Scholars generally attribute widespread distribution of astronomical traditions and
practices to the selective advantage of astronomical time reckoning. Groups which achieved
some degree of astronomical skills in timing the change of seasons had a greater chance of
survival than groups that did not. Anthropology links measurement of time by astronomical
cycles with mastery of controlled agriculture and the rise of full civilisation.
Tied to religion, ancient concerns with astronomy have remained an integral part of
diverse human cultures to the present. North American lndians still preserve traditions
believed to be remnants of the ancient Mesoamerican astronomical systems. Tasmanian
aboriginals are said to exercise astronomic traditions possibly acquired in remote prehistory.
Despite the various implications for prehistoric developments in astronomy, there has
been little scientific interest in the question until recently. New discoveries in archeology
have made it clear that prehistoric cultures were much more complex than formerly believed.
One researcher, Alexander Marshack, has conducted an exhaustive re-examinanation
of Upper Paleolithic artifacts and cave art His conclusions significantly affect the
conventional evaluation of Upper Paleolithic cultures.
The period currently is theorised to have begun with the appearance of biologically
fully modern humans, around 35,000 years ago. Extending downward to around 10,000 B.C.,
the sequence of development is divided into major cultural traditions. Each division spans
thousands of years and is characterised by trends in tools, artifacts, and other evidence.
From the beginning, a rich tradition of cave painting, statuary, engraved pieces, and
various signs and serial markings accompany the developing inventory of practical artifacts.
Some art works have been praised for their realism and sensitivity of expression. The location
of paintings deep inside caves and an apparent ritual placement of the images shows clearly
the use of art in formal ceremony. Burial rituals, symbolic statuary, and body decoration
with jewellery or body paint further illustrate creative, abstract, fully human qualities among
Upper Paleolithic people. But though the quality of some Upper Paleolithic art is impressive
it has been interpreted most typically in the context of primitive hunting/fertility-magic.
Marshack's revaluation of the evidence involved technological methods which
revealed previously unknown features in the images and markings. New details point to the
symbolic juxtaposition of animal and plant images to commemorate a given season. An
accompanying tradition of abstracted signs was widespread From its context, one sign
appears to have been a commonly understood designation for Spring. Serial notches and
marks on engraved pieces show a number of repeating cycles. Marshack has hypothesised
that many of the patterns represent the cycle of the moon.
Though the specific case for lunar notation is scientifically equivocal, Marshack's
general observations substantiate a basic reassessment of the cognitive capacities and
cultural complexities of Upper Paleolithic people. Evidence for complex language
development and the formal transmission of culture is implicit in the widespread
symbolic-notational tradition. Symbolic compositions in ceremonial art suggest concerns
with the concept of time and the seasons. These findings indicate a fully modem level of
cognitive capacity in Upper Paleolithic people and places them on a line of cultural
development directly akin to the historical agricultural civilisations.
The same revaluation of cultural complexity has been underway for the Mesolithic
and Neolithic ages which follow. In the Ancient Near East substantial settlements, food
surpluses, and commercial trade are in evidence from early Mesolithic times. By late
Mesolithic/early Neolithic times, controlled agriculture and animal husbandry are already
well developed. Religious shrines oriented to the cardinal points are decorated with symbolic
painting and sculpture reminiscent of Upper Paleolithic traditions. Some examples prefigure
the symbols for astronomic gods of early historical civilisations.
Because of such evidence, the case for prehistoric developments in astronomy is
significantly enhanced. Yet the question remains controversial and scholars generally are
reluctant to accept prehistoric knowledge of astronomy.
The bias stems in part from the prevailing uniformitarian interpretation of human
evolution. As the first stages of development toward present civilisation, Upper Paleolithic
people have been conceived as too primitive to have achieved astronomy.
But the bias extends far into the historical period where the practice of
astronomy and capacity for accurate measurement are fully evident. Study of ancient
astronomical knowledge has shown that, prior to the 7th Century B.C., calendars and
other astronomical observations do not conform to uniformitarian cycles. To remain
within the uniformitarian framework, ancient observations which describe a different
order in the solar system are, of necessity, regarded as inaccuracies. Alongside the
general evidence for advanced skills in quantification and measurement, this conclusion
presents a striking paradox.
From the viewpoint of behavioural science, itself grounded in uniformitarianism,
continued use for millennia of inaccurate, non-adaptive applied astronomy to regulate
agriculture runs counter to empirically grounded principles of learning. Under
uniformitarian conditions, the annual cycle in the path of the sun alone bears consistent,
direct relation to the sequence of seasons. It is the only observation necessary to time the
year accurately. Conveniently, it is also the simplest to observe and measure. Correct
knowledge of the tropical year should have been commonplace from earliest historical times.
The judgment that knowledge of the tropical year as well as other astronomical cycles
remained inaccurate for millennia poses a clear contradiction within the uniformitarian
framework. The early calendars could not have been effective in the regulation of
agriculture. Behavioural science must rationalise an impossibly long learning period for
intelligent people whose only reinforcement for continuous concern with astronomical cycles
should have been practical success in measurement Given the evidence for unexpected
Mesolithic developments in agriculture and for time-factoring in Upper Paleolithic culture,
the learning period may be many thousands of years longer.
The question is reviewed here as a problem in human perception and learning. The
concept is introduced that, for the sun, contingencies involved in the discovery of its cycle are
related to basic learning models of behavioural science. Such analysis indicates that, in a
uniformitarian environment, recognition and exploitation of the sun's cycle should have been
the expected behaviour of early people.
It is presently known that our remote ancestors centered their religious(l) and civil life
on a model grounded in observation and interpretation of the heavens. This knowledge is
based upon studies of the written language and cultural symbolism of early civilisations as well
as the work of anthropologists with contemporary peoples who carry ancient and, presumably,
In their earliest symbols and records, civilisations of the Ancient Near East display an
already established conception of planets and stars as living beings whose will and action
controlled the elements, determined time, foretold the future,(2) and held the fate of the
Massive monuments and temples, which required large expenditures of human energy
and resources, dominate the architectural remains. Generally, these were aligned to mark an
occasion such as the winter solstice or the rising or setting point of a revered celestial deity at
a certain time of year.(3)
These structures were elaborately ornamented with precious metals and stones, relief
sculpture, idols, and sacred inscriptions. Here the mythical images, symbols, names, attributes,
and deeds of the principal celestial gods and "host of heaven"(4) record the astral focus of
ancient religious belief.(5)
THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST
Throughout the Ancient Near East, the celestial model was extended to community
planning and administration. Cities and politicogeographic subunits of the realm were zoned
and named for various stars and constellations.(6) In the Sumerian Early Dynastic Period
(3200-2800 B.C.) "every citizen belonged to a temple district and served the god of his
temple. Allotments of land, work assignments, and raw materials were designated by the head
priest-administrator of the temple district."(7)
The astronomer-priests "became the wealthiest and most powerful class in the
Sumerian cities. In most matters they were the government;it is difficult to make out to what
extent the patesi was a priest and to what extent a king."(8) In Babylon, technically
the king was merely the agent of the city god. Taxation was in the name of the city god and
found its way directly or deviously into the temple treasuries. The king was not really king in
the eyes of the people until he was invested with royal authority by the priests, 'took the hands
of Bel' and conducted the image of Marduk in solemn procession through the streets. In these
ceremonies the monarch was dressed as a priest, symbolising the union of church and state,
and perhaps the priestly origin of the kingship . . . From the . . . priest-governors of Sumeria to
the religious coronation of Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon remained in effect a theocratic state,
always 'under the thumb of the priests.'(9)
In Egypt, too, the Pharaoh was both king and chief priest, a tradition maintained for
millennia; and his destiny in the afterlife was a celestial parallel to his earthly powers. From
passages of the Book of the Dead found in the tomb of Pepi I (Dynasty VI) we learn the
He is brother of the moon, he is the child of the star Sothis, he revolves in heaven like Orion
and Sothis and he rises in his place like a star . . . When Pepi standeth upon the north of
heaven with Ra, he becometh lord of the universe, like unto the king of the gods.(10)
In texts from the tomb of Unas (Dynasty V), the "life of the deceased is said to be generally
that of him 'who entereth into the west of the sky and who cometh forth from the east thereof.'
"(11) The sacred text itself "which was very old even in the reign of Semti, a king of the First
Dynasty and was, moreover, so long at the time as to need abbreviation, was copied and
recopied, and added to by one generation after another for a period of nearly 5000 years."(12)
It is not yet possible to fix a beginning date for various traditions embodied in the texts
which apparently originated in prehistoric times.(13) How far back they may extend into
prehistory can be inferred only be comparison with the tenacity of the traditions which endured
the millennia of Egyptian historical, cultural, and geographical variation.(14)
Like the Egyptian, ancient Mesopotamian historical culture was complex and highly
developed at its outset. This indicates that here, as well, developmental roots for the
astronomically grounded religious and civil structure may be found in prehistoric generations.
A universal characteristic of ancient astral religions and priesthoods involved the
"measurement of time by the movements of the heavenly bodies. . .; the very word measure,
like the word month. . ., goes back apparently to a root denoting the moon."(15) MacKenzie
An ancient name of the moon was Aa, Â, or Ai, which recalls the Egyptian Aâh or Ah. The
Sumerian moon was Aku, 'the measurer,' like Thoth of Egypt, who in his lunar character as a
Fate measured out the lives of men and was a god of architects, mathematicians, and
Hinckley-Allen attributes formation of the constellations of the Zodiac to the "Akkad
country, probably in almost prehistoric times," marking an early awareness of the annual path
of the sun. He suggests that other star groupings "to represent the length of the moon's daily
motion in its orbit . . . possibly long antedated the general constellations or even the solar
"Certainly in many of the ancient civilisations the regularity of the motions of the
celestial bodies was recognised."(18) This knowledge, when applied to matters of agriculture
and husbandry, provided the key to abundance and the liberation of human energy for the
further development of civilisation.(19) For this reason, from an anthropological perspective,
astronomical measurement of time is viewed as an essential adaptive step.
It is immediately apparent that understanding seasonality and anticipating seasonal changes
will have a profound effect on one's ability to maintain a successful agricultural system. . . The
group that watches and records the movements of astronomical phenomena has a selective
advantage in terms of its survival relative to other groups.(20)
THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
The principle is also seen in the Western Hemisphere where historic Mesoamerican
civilisations reflect the same general pattern of development around an astronomical model
grounded in systematic observation. "If any one trait can be said to be distinctive of the native
cultures of prehispanic Mesoamerica, it is a deep concern with the heavenly bodies and the
passage of time as marked by the apparent movements of these objects."(21)
Like the Ancient Near Eastern cultures, Mesoamerican religious beliefs and festivals,
temple orientation, city ground plans,(22) divine identifications of monarchy, priestly
authority, and the pragmatic regulation of agricultural cycles(23) all share origins in a common
concern with astronomic phenomena. Pre-Columbian records indicate a capacity for
remarkably accurate observations.(24) These were apparently maintained over long periods of
time and motivated, at least in part, by religious zeal.
Maudslay (1912), quoting Motolina, suggests that great care was paid to the correct
astronomical orientation of the Temple of Huitzilopochtli at Tenochtitlan: 'The festival called
Tlacaxipeualiztli took place when the sun stood in the middle of Huicholobos, which was at
the equinox, and because it was a little out of the straight, Montezuma wished to pull it down
and set it right.' He suggests that the priests faced east to watch the sun rise precisely between
the oratories at the top of the building at the equinox.(25) The solstices were known
precisely and served as particularly significant points for orientation. "For the Chorti Maya the
four directions are not the cardinal points but the solstices, a finding that has been confirmed
along the highland Maya of Chiapas."(26)
Mesoamericans also had names and pictographs for numerous asterisms - e.g., "Orion's
belt ('Peccary'), Rigel ('Woodpecker'), Betelgeuse ('Red Dragonfly'), Ursa Minor ('Alligator'),
and Sirius (large species of woodpecker)"(27) – in addition to Jupiter, Venus, and, it is
assumed, the other visible planets as well.(28)
North American Navajo "recognise approximately 37 constellations," particularly
Orion, the Hyades, and Pleiades as well as others "which correspond roughly to those
recognised by North American modern astronomers. . ."(29) They depicted these (generally by
a variety of small crosses) and other astronomical gods (represented as birds, insects, animals,
or geometric figures) at
truly sacred sites, the significance known only to Navajo medicine
men. . . These star paintings are precisely painted on the roofs of high overhangs or on the
roofs of cave-like shelters. . . Many of the star paintings occur on high overhangs, some of
which are as much as 150 feet above the canyon floor. Most of the sites are now
Pueblo Indians still
observe the motions of celestial bodies in order to time and regulate their ceremonial life. Of
particular importance to most groups is the yearly cycle of the sun from winter to summer
solstice and back. Stellar groupings such as the Pleiades and the Belt of Orion and various
bright stars are considered important as well. For example, because they make their first yearly
appearance just before summer solstice sunrise, the Pleiades are called the summer stars by the
Ellis describes a "Pueblo calendar of thirteen lunar months (paralleling the old Maya
and Mexican religious calendar). . ." where each moon, specifically named, marks some
significant seasonal, agricultural or ceremonial occasion.
"Tally cards with knots to be untied, sticks into which notches are cut, and marks on a
floor or wall which could be erased as the days passed, customarily were used in cutting the
calendar into shorter intervals when necessary."(32)
Williams, et al., note similarly the "increasing suspicion that these celestial interests of
the historic Pueblo Indians are the remnants of more sophisticated, pre-Columbian
astronomical observations made throughout the American Southwest and Mexico."(33) The
great antiquity of this native American astronomical culture, which partly survived the Spanish
Conquest and echoes faintly among contemporary North American and Mexican Indians, can
be seen in recent evidence for origins at least as early as 3000 B.C.(34)
AUSTRALIA AND TASMANIA
Clearly, on both sides of the Atlantic, early historic civilisations are characterised by
complex, highly developed, astronomically rooted cultures apparently begun and transmitted
by their prehistoric forebearers. We also may infer remote prehistoric origins for both astral
religion and the concept of astronomical calendrics from the practices of Australian aboriginals
who, on still another continent, "developed in relative isolation directly from Late Pleistocene
migrants. . ." and who have carried stone-age culture into modem times.(35)
Eliade has summarised details of a number of initiation mysteries and rituals showing a
central religious importance of celestial gods.(36) Smith tells us that aboriginals, whose
creation myth involves a wandering Mother-Sun goddess, "have always known of the four
points of the compass. . .," divided the stars into constellations and endowed them with
meaning.(37) Hallam notes a "regular and orderly annual cycle carried out systematically" in
of ecological spatial and temporal knowledge and skill was backed by astronomical lore.
Various constellations were named and figured in myth, some (e.g. Castor and Pollux)
throughout Australia and Tasmania, implying that the traditions originated in the Pleistocene
before Tasmania was isolated. The Swan River aborigines distinguished and named at least
eight phases in the waxing and waning of the moon....The moon... figured in widespread
myths, waxing and waning, bringing death and regulating conception, the seasons of earth and
of women. . .(38)
THE STONE AGE
That the Tasmanian aboriginals manifest traditions probably acquired prior to their
geographic isolation (around 10,000 B.C.)(39) suggests an extant and more generally
distributed lore, roughly contemporaneous with the end of the Old Stone Age in Europe and
the Ancient Near East. Yet, until recently, no one has gained serious scientif1c attention for
the suggestion that people in these regions developed astronomical interests this early even
though their culture "flowered in. . .rich exuberance" during this time.(40) There have been
a few scattered attempts by students of Ice Age art to compare the animals and symbols of the
later civilisations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Crete, Greece, Asia, and the Americas and by their
comparisons to impute an astronomical knowledge to prehistoric man. One researcher even
claimed to recognise stellar constellations in the markings. But these were comparisons and
analogies that could not be verified and they were, therefore, generally dismissed as
Now Alexander Marshack who, for more than ten years, has conducted
an exhaustive re-examination of Ice Age artifacts and cave art, has attempted to re-establish
the question on acceptable scientific grounds in reference to a time near the beginning of
biologically fully modern man.
According to the current reconstruction of prehistory, this was about 35,000 years ago
when "the biological development of man as he exists today was at long last completed.... The
burden of change has, since the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, been carried increasingly
by cultural innovation rather than genetic modification."(42)
During the preceding Middle Paleolithic, "roughly equivalent to the period during
which neanderthaloid varieties of Homo Sapiens appeared throughout the Old World,"(43)
elements of culture were already in evidence. Neanderthal man had controlled use of fire,
practiced "the custom of burying the dead. . ,"(44) lived in settlements and built substantial
With the appearance of fully modern man, there is a significant change in both the
amount and complexity of cultural evidence. The "homo sapiens cultural revolution of about
35,000 B.C. seems to have been relatively rapid and widespread, compared with what had
gone before."(46) "Viewing the technological inventory of the Upper Paleolithic hunters, it. .
.is. . .evident that the take-off point had passed and that culture had embarked on an
evolutionary career of its own. ., characterised by a marked increase in blade tools and by a
great flourescence of ivory, bone, and antler implements."(47)
The 25,000 years of development toward the Mesolithic period is divided into major
traditions based on cultural variations within the sequence. Along one dimension, the presence
of certain practical artifacts marks innovations in methods of food production or domestic
industry, and reflects a range of skills in members of the culture.
Beads, pendants, bracelets, and other decorative objects show additional diversity
while the type and distribution of dwelling sites reveal adaptations to different climatic and
Approximate boundary dates for the sequence (Chatelperonian, 32,000-28,000 B.C.;
Aurignacian, 28,500-22,000 B.C.; Gravettian, 22,000-18,000 B.C.; Solutrean, 18,000-15,000
B.C.; Magdalenian, 15,000-8,000 B.C.) have been estimated by C14 measurement.(49)
There is a wealth of artistic and symbolic evidence which accompanies this
development. Paleolithic people left a variety of engraved artifacts in bone, stone, ivory, and
antler as well as cave paintings, relief sculpture, and statuary.
The few thousand engraved and carved mobiliary artifacts. . . from the Upper Paleolithic
represent a diverse body of evidence. They document a complex use of manufactured art and
symbol.... The decorated caves and rock walls of the period are regional and specialised
aspects of the more general, widespread tradition of symbol usage represented by the
From the early Aurignacian, and extending into later periods of the Stone-Age, the engraved
materials show a variety of sequential markings, animal figures, and abstracted forms.
During the Gravettian, highly stylised figurines of pregnant women with exaggerated,
rounded bodily features flourish in stone, bone, ivory, and baked clay.(51) "The Gravettians
were especially fond of statuettes of pregnant women. . ." generally known as "Venus" statues
"of whom the Venus of Willendorf is the most famous...."(52) "They undoubtedly possessed
some ritual significance associated with . . .fertility"(53) and are generally interpreted as a
form of mother goddess.(54)
Gravettians also buried their dead with considerable elaboration – full clothing,
personal ornaments, and red ochre sprinkled over all – suggesting well developed ceremony
and ritual concerning death and, probably, afterlife.
"The presence of red, yellow, and black pigments indicates the probability of body
painting and ornamentation" during the Solutrean but "although some examples of sculpture
and painting have been found. ., it appears that the Solutreans had little interest in
By contrast, with the appearance of Magdalenian culture prehistoric art achieves an
emphasis and colourful realism previously unparalleled which, in the opinion of one writer,
"would not be reached again until late in the Christian era."(57) "Bison, deer, horses, and
cattle race across walls and ceilings in wild profusion. ., all showing the same uncanny sense of
life."(58) Describing a painting of an wounded bison, Jansen writes:
What a vivid lifelike picture it is. We are amazed not only by the keen observation, the
assured, vigorous outlines, the subtly controlled shading that lends bulk and roundness to the
forms, but even more perhaps by the power and dignity of this creature in its final agony.(59)
The location of sites deep in the earth, sometimes as much as a mile inside the caves
which were otherwise uninhabited, "suggests that many of them must have served as places of
worship, the paintings, reliefs, and drawings in them fulfilling certain prescribed
functions."(60) The way in which the figures "are distributed about the caves often suggests a
definite plan with certain motifs occurring regularly in special parts of the cave."(61) In some
cases, "the animals were painted one on top of the other even though unused surfaces were
available indicating that they were done first and foremost for ritual rather than art."(62)
The rich distribution, beauty, and ritual placement of Magdalenian art most likely
reflects a widespread emphasis on religious practice. The remote location and difficult access
to many of the most impressive examples must have required painting from memory. This
indicates the presence of many highly talented and specialised individuals throughout
As a whole, the growing diversity of general cultural evidence that has come to light
has led to a revaluation of Upper Paleolithic people as more advanced than previously was
thought. The range and complexity of their tool inventory, the abundance of jewellery and
personal artifacts, all contribute objective evidence of considerable creativity and industry. The
aesthetic quality of their art "manifests the essential artistic and creative genius of its
makers."(63) It was sensitive, skilled, and unexcelled for millennia.
For all the acknowledgments of his practical and aesthetic achievements, there persists
the traditional hunting/fertility-magic interpretation of the religious base of Upper Paleolithic
culture. Thus the supposed motive for his art and symbolic markings places Upper Paleolithic
man at a primitive level in the abstract, spiritual realm. "Upper Paleolithic art had the gross
purpose of filling men's stomachs and of maintaining the population by serving as a magical aid
in hunting and procreation.... All these expressions of realism are acts of wish-fulfillment
through compulsive, mimetic, magic."(64)
The hunter, as the theory runs, made an animal image and 'killed' it, then went out and hunted
with the power of magic on his side. Still other archeologists theorise that the animals were
totems – figures of ancestor animals from which different human groups or clans supposedly
descended. The animals have also been interpreted as sexual symbols with certain species
representing the male principle and others the female.(65)
Marshack's alternative to these interpretations is that time-factoring was a basic
element in the paintings and engravings, and involved the observation and notation of natural
cycles including, possibly, the phases of the moon.(66)
By the use of microscopy and both ultraviolet and infrared photography, details were
observed which had been "overlooked or inaccurately reported" in the initial analyses of the
finds. For example, in invisible light different mixes and layers of pigments become discernible,
permitting some reconstruction of the sequence of application and the clear identification of
older images underlying later paintings.(67)
Some cave images seemed to have been built up gradually over time by the orderly
addition of coloured sets of dots and stylised marks. Some of the images were used and reused
"in many different ways by the addition of different kinds of symbols" including spray-stenciled
images of the human hand. New details of other compositions showed that various animals
and plants were depicted with specific seasonal characteristics and grouped as though to
commemorate a particular time of year.(68)
Examined by microscope, many of the engraved bone and stone artifacts showed
comparable evidence of cumulative marking and the use of abstracted signs as well as the
seasonal compositions of animals and plants. Marshack concentrated much research on the
sequential markings which often line the edges and faces of engraved pieces under the
hypothesis that the sequences reflect time-factored notation, possibly lunar. "The possibility is
important for. . . civilisation may have been built as much on such time-factoring or
time-factored skills as on the handmade, hand-held tools that we find in the soil."(69)
Under magnification, engravings from all periods of the Upper Paleolithic showed that
many of the patterns were created by the gradual accumulation of marks, each being made
apparently at different times by different engraving tools. The sequence of incisions was often
broken into groups, some by spatial separation, some by the addition of specially emphasised
or embellished incisions, and others by the appearance of a wholly different style of mark.
Quantitative analysis of these sequences revealed a diversity of patterns, some of which could
be interpreted as a close fit to various phases of a lunar cycle model.(70) In addition to those
possibly lunar, "the body of mobiliary materials documents the presence of other forms of
symbolic marking, including non-lunar notations, and these were apparently used in their own
One sign in particular appears to have been understood commonly and transmitted
across generations. Said to represent an ibex head, the figure "is extremely schematic and
consists merely of two horns, two ears, and a muzzle. Exactly the same image. . .occurs as a
regular motif or sign in Late Ice Age engravings as far away as Spain."(72) From its
appearance in various contexts, including engraved seasonal compositions similar to those
painted in caves, Marshack believes it to be associated with Spring.(73)
Evidence for Upper Paleolithic time-factoring includes the female figures which often
showed cumulative periodic notchings or symbolic marks. Others appeared in seasonal
compositions or in conjunction with symbolic animals, or were buried with the dead,
suggesting use and meaning fully integrated with the general tradition of time-factored
symbols, signs, and notations.(74) An early (Aurignacian) bas-relief indicates that the female
figures may be interpretable as celestial symbols. Figured in the tradition of the fat "Venus"
female is faceless and has legs that lack feet. Her left hand rests on her abdomen, which shows
a navel. Her right hand is raised holding a bison horn that is marked with thirteen lines. On her
thigh there is a 'Y' mark. Her faceless 'moon' or 'sun' head is turned to the right looking at the
A second figure at the same location, "holding a more arched horn in her raised right hand" is
similar to the first. Marshack notes that "thirteen is consistent with the number of crescents
during an observational lunar year; it is also the number of days from the birth of the first
crescent to just before the days of the mature full moon."(76)
In Marshack's analysis, the archeological record of Upper Paleolithic man shows that
he was engaged early in possibly lunar referenced time-factoring of natural cycles. He
commemorated this lore in a variety of sequential, mythical stories and periodic ceremonial
rites(77) - the visual record of which remains in his notations, art, and symbol. Since
observations essential to this interpretation had not been made previously, Marshack's
technologically augmented analysis provides a wholly new view of Upper Paleolithic cultural
The evidence for a ubiquitous tradition of Upper Paleolithic notation would seem to verify a
modern level of cognitive capacity and symbolic usage in early, prewriting, prearithmetic
phases of sapiens culture. The complexity of the tradition in the typical Aurignacian implies an
earlier origin. The later complexities of the tradition in the terminal Magdalenian may indicate
that formal writing, arithmetic, and the true calendar, which appear in the first agricultural
civilisations, may have had reference to this earlier symbolising tradition, one that was at least
25,000 years old (78)
While elements of the methodology and interpretations have been questioned by some,
often with particular reference to the lunar pattern proposed for certain notations, leading
authorities generally consider Marshack's work to be scientifically sound and a major
breakthrough in understanding the functional capacities of Upper Paleolithic people. This is
especially because of the evidence for complex language development and the transmission of
culture implicit in the symbolic-notational tradition.(79) Having generally assumed biological
equivalence, and having praised their artistic genius, researchers now have tangible evidence
that Upper Paleolithic people were fully intelligent as well, possessing language and
widespread culture which was on a line of development akin to later historic civilisations.(80) The same revaluation of cultural complexity has also proved necessary for the
Mesolithic and Neolithic ages that follow.(81) These were viewed traditionally as a gradual
sequence of transition from big game hunting, through an increasing foraging and
gathering-fishing small game subsistence base to the eventual domestication of plants and
animals and the final achievement of fully controlled agriculture. Research now indicates that
the rate of change and level of complexity were much greater than expected.
In the Ancient Near East, Mesolithic people were building settlements, storing surplus
grain, constructing shrines, using "large elaborate cemeteries in which some of the tombs
represent quite a feat of building," domesticating animals, and were engaged in trade with
distant areas as early as the tenth to ninth millennium B.C.(82) Researchers recently were
surprised, in kind, by revelations of early Neolithic culture. At Catal Huyuk, "around 7,500
years ago, a people occupied this adobe town. . .with homes interconnected in Pueblo
Barley, wheat, lentils, and peas were thoroughly domesticated and were
producing surplus yields. . .by 6385 B.C. ± 101 years. Sheep were domesticated by 5800 B.C.
± 92 years. An amazingly rich inventory of specialised handicrafts. . .
were discovered, clearly indicating a "creative and well-off people."(84) Symbolic ceremonial
painting and sculpture had moved from the caves to the frescoed walls of religious shrines
oriented to the cardinal points.(85)
Layer after layer of religious murals, painted on the walls and then plastered over to make way
for the next painting, bespeak a vital and highly developed cult and religious belief system,
much concerned with the mystery of life and death. Life associated scenes, done in symbolic
red paint, are on the west walls of the shrine rooms. Death scenes created in black paint are on
the east side.(86)
A large bull's head and horns seem to be a central idol or altar with a panel beneath containing
a pattern of human hands, apparently stencilled in a fashion reminiscent of the Paleolithic ritual
practice.(87) Rams' heads and horns, possibly carried over from the Paleolithic ibex-symbol,
are on the opposite wall. Also found are "statuettes of a fertile mother goddess as well as a
bearded consort god seated on a bull."
The mother goddess is the familiar overweight model though here she is portrayed
with more detailed features and is shown giving birth while seated between two lions.(88)
Others show her merely as pregnant. Campbell refers to the "galaxy of female figurines"
associated with Ancient Near Eastern culture. "The images are of bone, clay, stone, or ivory,
standing or seated, usually naked, often pregnant, and sometimes holding or nursing a
child."(89) Murray identifies a later figure of the mother goddess riding a lion as Rhea, sister
and wife of Kronos (Saturn), father of a generation of astronomic gods.(90)
Bulls' heads and the bull motif survive prehistory as well, and occupy a central position
in the astronomical mythologies of ancient historic civilisations. In Egypt, the tomb of King
Nadji of the First Dynasty was surrounded by a frieze of clay bull's heads with real horns. In
the Book of the Dead, the Egyptian astronomic gods, Osiris and Amen-Ra, are called,
respectively, "Bull of Heaven" and "Bull in Anu", and a passage reads ". . .the Bull, the Lord
of the gods who maketh his way. . ." across the sky.(91)
This revised picture of the development of prehistoric cultures presents serious
problems for the traditional attitude regarding prehistoric achievements in astronomy. Almost
from the beginning, evidence for language, notation, shared symbolism, art, costume, and a
diversity of tools describe a range of achievements already more complex than those of
contemporary primitives who, themselves, worship astronomic gods, know the solstices, and
mark the phases of the moon.
In the Ancient Near East, Meso- and Neolithic developments of symbolic traditions
enter history as complex astronomic religious mythologies and calendric systems. These
traditions undergo theological and numerical revisions across millennia, but preserve,
throughout, certain elemental schemata perhaps many thousands of years older. Though these
findings – indicating advanced prehistoric culture and the known astronomic practices of the
entire range of contemporary human cultures – should justify assumptions of prehistoric
developments in astronomy, there is resistance to the idea among professionals. Noting some
of the reactions to Marshack's work, Aveni, a specialist in archaeoastronomy, comments that
"these matters are very controversial and people generally are quite reluctant to believe ancient
man's knowledge of astronomy."(92)
Such reluctance is partly an expression of a more general bias which is derived from
the prevailing uniformitarian interpretation of human evolution. Applied to human intellectual
achievements, slow and cumulative progress toward modern knowledge was assumed so that
little had been expected of Upper Paleolithic people. They have been depicted for decades as
hairy, basically unkempt, wearing crude animal-skin clothing or naked, appearing little capable
of complex thought or culture. They seldom have been represented with personal grooming
and standards of style and costume to humanise their image, though such representations
would have been no more fanciful in terms of the archeological record than the "cave-man"
caricature which developed.(93)
The bias against early achievements in astronomical time-keeping remains in
pronounced form, however, long after any question of man's practice of astronomy is removed
by the historical record and his capacity for accurate measurement is demonstrated in
architecture and mathematics. "At the very outset of recorded Egyptian history we find
mathematics highly developed; the design and construction of the Pyramids involved a
precision of measurement impossible without considerable mathematical lore."(94)
But, according to Neugebauer, Egyptian astronomy "remained through all its history
on an exceedingly crude level...."(95) Referring to the Old Babylonian period, "about 1600
B.C.," he writes that "no astronomical texts of any scientific significance exist from this
period, while the mathematical texts show the highest level ever attained in Babylonia."(96) In
early cultures, generally, scholars have noted similar discrepancies in apparent accuracy
between astronomical and other systems of measurement and calculation.(97)
The paradox is striking, especially from the operational point of view. Egyptian
obelisks (gnomons), for example, used from at least the time of the 4th Dynasty,(98) should
have "enabled man to measure the [tropical] year with an error of less than 1 part in 40,000."
But it is not until the 7th Century B.C. that the "ancient astronomer, by watching the varying
length of a vertical column or gnomon [shadow] concluded. . . that the tropical day [sic] was
equal to 365.25 days."(99) Around the ancient world
neither the calendar, nor the celestial charts, nor the sundials, nor the water clocks of the time
before-687 were adequate for their purpose after that time. Values subsequently established in
different parts of the terrestrial globe have remained practically unchanged down to the
It appears to have taken historical cultures millennia to determine correctly the number of days
in the year and to deal adequately with astronomical facts in general. Yet, scholars
acknowledge that, from the beginning, they worshipped stars and planets and their astronomer
priests, responsible for keeping the calendar, measured time by observing celestial cycles.
"From the earliest history in virtually every centre of civilisation – China, India, Mesopotamia,
Egypt, Greece, even the Mayan and Aztec civilisations in the Western Hemisphere – man kept
track of the motions in the heavens to regulate his time and dated."(101)
From the viewpoint of behavioural science these facts are particularly difficult, if not
impossible to reconcile. "A culture, like a species, is selected by its adaptation to an
environment: to the extent that it helps its makers to get what they need and avoid what is
dangerous, it helps them to survive and transmit the culture."(102)
Accordingly, it is difficult to imagine the universal evolution of inaccurate,
non-adaptive astronomic time-keeping by early civilistions in the first place. To accept,
further, that advancing cultures continued to utilise defective calendars, non-functional
sundials, and other useless applied astronomy for thousands of years is to disregard
behavioural learning principles derived through decades of empirical science. "Behaviour is
shaped and maintained by its consequences."(103) Such misdirected efforts would have been
corrected early or abandoned for some more effective means of marking the passage of time.
The problem is a significant one for students of archaeoastronomy. Under a
uniformitarian sky, the basic tasks of astronomical time-keeping must have been within the
grasp of the builders of early historical civilisations. "The equinoxes and the solstices soon
would have revealed themselves to these early observers if for no other reason than that they
were connected in some way or other with some of the important conditions of their
environment,''(104) specifically the seasons, their varied ecologies, and, for people close to
nature, the immediate conditions for life. As a task of astronomical measurement
nothing is more easy to determine than a solstice or an equinox.
Let us take the solstice first. We know that at the summer solstice the sun rises and
sets furthest to the north, at the winter solstice furthest to the south. We have only from any
point to set up a line of stakes before the time of the solstice, and then alter them day by day
as the sun gets further to the north or south, until no alteration is wanted. The solstice has
There is another way of doing it. Take a vertical rod. Such a rod . . . is sometimes
called a gnomon and used to measure time . . .: We may observe the length of the shadow cast
by the sun when it is lowest at the winter solstice, and when it is highest; at these two
positions of the sun, obviously the lengths of the shadows thrown will be different. When the
noon-set is nearest overhead in the summer the shadow will be least, when the sun is most
removed from the zenith the shadow will be longest.
The day on which the shortest shadow is thrown at noon will define the summer
solstice; when the shadow is longest we shall have the winter solstice.(105)
The task then in measuring the length of the tropical year is to count the number of
days necessary to complete a sun cycle, observing either the variations in the horizon-point of
sunrise or in the length of mid-day shadows cast by a gnomon. The additional quarter day in
each year requires a minor periodic correction in the count, though continued observation
soon would have revealed both problem and solution.
Since the solar and sidereal year differ by a small fraction, the annual rising or setting
point of certain stars would have provided a nocturnal correlate for two or three centuries but
eventually would have required correction.(106) By contrast, the behaviour of the moon
would have been confusing as a standard for the seasons as would the cycles of the various
Thus, among evolving cultures, the unique relation of the sun's cycle to the regular
sequence of seasons, along with its relative simplicity of measurement, should have determined
observation of the sun-cycle as the most adaptive time-reference for mastery of controlled
agriculture and the achievement of full civilisation. Almost from the beginning advanced
historical cultures, grounded in astronomical time-reckoning, should have recorded the year at
That they did not until the 7th Century B.C. stands as an unresolved and perplexing
question. The cycle of the moon, too, was given different values before this time(107) and
early Babylonian records of Venus' periods of visibility are clearly discordant with its present
movements.(108) Uniformitarian science requires that such discrepancies be interpreted as
errors on the part of the ancients, either through unconcern or incapacity for strict accuracy,
denying the possibility that these discrepant observations truly represented nature at the
time.(109) But to do so leaves anthropologists without a sufficiently accurate calendar by
which to explain controlled agriculture, and provides behavioural science with the problem of
rationalising apparently continuous failure at astronomic time-reckoning, though motive and
capacity for success are in evidence both historically and archeologically.
As it stands, the interpretation seems to impose an impossibly long learning period on
intelligent people whose concern for astronomy was expressed at all levels of their culture.
Their only reinforcement for continuous concern with the calendar should have been practical
success in measuring and exploiting the tropical year.
The noted reluctance to believe prehistoric knowledge of astronomy stands on equally
prejudiced ground. Evidence of large settlements, elaborate culture, surplus food storage, and
widespread trade during Meso- and Neolithic times denote successful exploitation of the
environment by intelligent, specialised, and prospering people. Ecliptic oriented temples and an
apparent continuity in symbolic traditions with historical cultures renders tenable the existence
of an applied calendar and astral temple-culture during these times.
Marshack's archeological discoveries extend the earliest evidence for complex culture,
symbol tradition, commemoration of the seasons, and, possibly, the earliest attempts to
measure time astronomically to the beginnings of the biologically modern human race.
Clearly, the astronomer-priests of the earliest historical civilisations may have been
exercising astronomical traditions already tens of thousands of years in evolutionary
development and which, from the Near Eastern Meso- and Neolithic evidence, almost certainly
was practised in some form during these prehistoric millennia. Early historical knowledge of
the solstices, phases of the moon, planetary motions, the ecliptic path, the north star, the
concept of constellations, and the use of both solar and lunar zodiacs, describes a complex
tradition long since adequate for recognition and measurement of the tropical year and an
accurate numbering of the days of the month.
The judgment that additional historical millennia were required before proper solutions
were achieved is a strained negation of capacity among cultures otherwise praised for their
achievements. As noted, this runs contrary to the behavioural outcomes expected from a
system of competitive cultural evolution in which recognition of the tropical year is of primary
selective advantage. A general emphasis on and correct knowledge of the tropical year should
have been the rule among advanced cultures whose astronomy evolved under a uniformitarian
To address the question fully, the problem itself must be examined in more detail.
What contingencies governed the learning of early observers to whom the earth appeared to be
stationary while the sky turned overhead? What kind of astronomy might emerge from
individuals without knowledge of the physical nature of the universe and limited to
observation with the naked eye?
Sunrise and sunset are cardinal events in a diumal world. Animal and plant life are
phased by the alternation of day and night and a wide range of changes occur throughout
nature at each transition. As dawn approaches, the sounds of nocturnal species fade, giving
way to a developing pattern of sounds by birds and animals adapted to daylight. To this
accompaniment, the eastern sky brightens in a rayed display of form and colour centred on the
sun. In spring and summer, as the sun crosses the horizon, blossoms which have turned silently
toward the brightening sky flower in an array of colour and begin to follow its path across the
sky. Birds begin to fly and various animals and insects appear. Both temperature and moisture
in the air may change over a wide range from the warmth of the early rays. The whole
environment responds specifically and characteristically at each event according to the time of
As the seasons pass, the natural settings of sunrise and sunset shift in regular sequence,
not only in the visible position of the sun on the horizon, but across a whole range of visual,
auditory, olfactory, and other sensations from the attendant patterns of weather and wildlife.
Among people subsisting directly from nature, such patterns not only place limits on daily
activities, but establish different requirements for survival around the year, imposing a seasonal
order on human behaviour as well. As sunrise and sunset, each with its particular and
immediate implications for human activities, mark the intervals of daylight and dark in discrete
steps along the horizon, the changing quality of associated phenomena directly manifest the
recurrent cycle of environmental change to which different classes of behaviour must be
effected to sustain life.
Figure 1 illustrates, approximately, the illusion of seasonal movement of sunrise along
the eastern horizon. The annual cycle is represented in rough monthly intervnals as it might
have appeared to prehistoric rock-shelter inhabitants somewhere in the northern hemisphere. If
the reader will imagine the major stimulus qualities – such as the brilliance of the sun, the
range of colour, temperature, and sound which change with each scene, and "live" through a
few years by looking counter-clockwise around the sequence of months – the general point
may be seen directly. Additional perceptually important details, not fully represented, are the
changes in apparent rate of the sun's lateral movement during specific parts of the cycle and
significant rates of change in the immediate environment which occur at particular times of
year. The rapid greening of spring and the turning of leaves in autumn are familiar examples of
the latter. The onset of local annual periods of rain, high winds, migrating game, and other
significant discontinuities further subdivide the year into a regular succession of ecologically
significant and, often, vital periods; each contiguously relates to sunrise along specific parts of
the familiar horizon.
As the reader can see, the direct visual relationship alone would have become obvious
to people with the perceptual acuity and visual spatial memory shown by Upper Paleolithic art.
Without necessarily numbering the days or any interest in astronomy as such, a fully effective
calendar could have been achieved through a mnemonic natural lore marking the order of
seasonal change by the place of sunrise in relation to particular landmarks along the horizon.
While the illustration here assumes a year-round settlement, the principle applies as well to
nomadic people who remained only part of each year at a given site, as a moment's reflection
will show. In either case, among intelligent, culturally advanced prehistoric people, so
consistent a relationship would have been recognised by many groups, especially those with
more sedentary patterns of adaptation, and in many eras of prehistory.
But the high level of cognitive functioning required even for this rough procedure is
more complex than necessary for the direct association of horizon-positions of sunrise and
sunset, imminent seasonal events, and adaptive behaviours. Since Pavlov first discovered and
systematically investigated the development of conditioned behaviours in his laboratory dogs,
the experimental science of behaviour has refined significantly the understanding of
fundanental variables which govern the learning process. Through systematic control of the
contingent relationships between stimuli and responses, variously complex associations,
discriminations, and sequences of conditioned behaviour have been established in animals
ranging from the biologically simple to man.
The temporal order and sensory effects which occur at each turning of day and night,
the experiences which follow, and the gradually changing quality of the whole as the sun
moves along the horizon, create in the environment the most basic paradigms described by
behavioural science for establishing such conditioned learning. Toward the higher end of the
phylogenetic scale, survival becomes increasingly dependent on learning and less grounded in
instinctual controls. The capacity to learn highly complex responses to finely discriminated
changes in environmental stimuli becomes the primary means of adaptation. With this in mind,
analysis of the problem through the learning models of behavioural science leads directly to the
conclusion that, in a uniformitarian environment, not only man but many types of animals as
well would have developed behaviours associated with the annual movements of the sun.
INSERT KII4_51.TIF HERE
The point will be presented more fully in a later section, but is raised here to emphasise
the likelihood for very early perception and practical use of the sun-cycle as a guide to the
seasons. Among developing cultures, application of simple observational techniques such as
those explained by Lockyer, above, would have permitted a fully accurate accounting of the
sun's motion and set the stage for achievement of the formal calendar.
In a second part of this study, the relation of the phenomena of the night sky will be
considered as well from the standpoint of a problem in human perception and learning and the
development of an integrated knowledge of astronomical cycles. Here, too, it will be shown
that knowledge of the most fundamental elements of geocentric, naked-eye astronomy – e.g.,
constellations, cardinal directions, the pole star – is inherent in the interaction of human
perceptual processes with the visual properties of the celestial sphere and the specific illusions
of form and motion which result.
Through operation of the same behavioural principles noted for the sun, the
accumulation of a complex and accurate astronomical lore appears likely from very early
times, leaving only the achievement of adequate computational skills to bring a mature
astronomy and the birth of full civilisation.. . . to be continued
REFERENCES AND FOOTNOTES
1. "Oldest of all were the astronomic gods." Will Durant, The Story of Civilisation, Vol. l
Our Oriental Heritage (New York: 1942), p. 234.
2. "Such efforts to wring the future out of the stars became a passion with the Babylonians
priests skilled in astrology reaped rich rewards from both people and king." Ibid., pp. 256-25
3. J. Norman Lockyer, The Dawn of Astronomy ( 1st paperback ed.; Cambridge: MIT Press
1964), pp. 78, 82. See also S. Giedion, The Eternal Present: The Beginnings of Architecture
4. "The stars were generally referred to as the host of heaven, an expression which was also
used in Babylon when the Moon god was the 'lord of hosts'." J.L.E. Dryer, A History of
Astronomy (New York: Dover, 1953), p. 3.
5. "In fact in the earliest Sumerian pictographs which preceded cuneiform writing the
symbols for god and for star are identical." I.S. Shklovsku and Carl Sagan, Intelligent Life in
the Universe (New York: Dell, 1968), p. 460, S. Langdon, Semitic Mythology (Boston,
1931), p. 93.
6. Lewis M. Greenberg and Warner B. Sizemore, "Cosmology and Psychology," KRONOS,
Vol. I, No. 1, pp. 34-35. See also S. Giedion, The Eternal Present The Beginnings of Art
(N.Y., 1962), p. 88.
7. E. Adamson Hoebel, Anthropology: The Study of Man (4th ed.; New York: 1972), p. 218.
8. Durant, op. cit., p. 128.
9. Ibid., pp. 232-233.
10. E.A. Wallis Budge, translator, The Book of the Dead (New Hyde Park: 1960), p. 86.
11. Ibid.,p.90. See also pp. 20-21.
12. Ibid., p. xiii
13. Ibid., p. 6.
14. E.A. Wallis Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. I (New York: Dover, 1969), pp. 8-9.
15. Durant, op. cit., p. 79.
16. Donald A. MacKenzie, Myths of Babylonia and Assyria(London: Gresham), p. 301.
17. Richard Hinckley-AUen, Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning (New York: Dover, 1963),
18. George Abell, Exploration of the Universe (2nd ed.; New York: 1969), p. 10.
20. Jonathan E. Reyman, "Nature and Nurture," Archaeoastronomy in Pre-Columbian
America, ed. A. Aveni, (Austin: 1975), p. 213. See also E. Chesley Baity, "Archaeoastronomy
and Ethnoastronomy so Far," Current Anthropology, XIV (1973), 389431. "Comments" by
eighteen scholars, 431438. "Reply" by Baity, 439449.
21. Michael D. Coe, "Native Astronomy in Mesoamerica," Archaeoastronomy in
Pre-Columbian America, ed. A. Aveni, (Austin: 1975), p. 3.
22. Anthony F. Aveni, "Possible Astronomical Orientations in Ancient Mesoamerica,"
Archaeoastronomy in Pre-Columbian America, ed. A. Aveni, (Austin: 1975), pp. 166-170.
23. Coe, Loc. cit., p. 25.
24. Ibid., p. 18.
25. "Even without historical evidence the possibility that peculiar structures might have served
an astronomical-ritualistic function is so straightforward that such buildings are often called
'observatories' by the excavators and site mappers." Aveni, Loc. cit., p. 172.
26. Coe, Loc. cit., p. 13.
27. Ibid., p. 27.
28. Ibid., p. 21.
29. Claude Britt, Jr., "Early Navajo Astronomical Pictographs," Archaeoastronomy in
Pre-Columbian America, ed. A. Aveni, (Austin: 1975), p. 101.
30. Ibid., pp. 92-93. See also p. 96.
31. Ray A. Williamson et al., "The Astronomical Record in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico,"
Archaeoastronomy in Pre-Columbian America, ed. A. Aveni, (Austin: 1975), p. 34.
32. Florence Hawley Ellis, "Pueblo Sun-Moon-Star Calendar," Archaeoastronomy in
Pre-Columbian America, ed. A. Aveni, (Austin: 1975), p. 65.
33. Williamson et al., Loc. cit., p. 34.
34. See Science News, 109, (April 24, 1976), p. 261. See also Science News, 108, (November
29, 1975), p. 346.
35. Hoebel, op. cit., pp. 236-237.
36. Mircea Eliade, Rites and Symbols of Initiation ( "Harper Torchbooks"; New York: 1965),
37. W. Ramsay Smith, Myths and Legends of the Australian Aboriginals (London: 1970), pp.
17, 22, 24-25.
38. Sylvia Hallam, "Comments," in Alexander Marshack, "Cognitive Aspects of Upper
Paleolithic Engraving," Current Anthropology, pp. 464465.
39. Ibid., p. 465.
40. Hoebel, op. cit., p. 183.
41. Alexander Marshack, Roots of Civilisation (New York: 1971), p. 36.
42. Hoebel, op. cit., p. 174.
43. Marvin Harris, Culture, Man and Nature (New York: 1971), p. 163.
44. Ibid., p. 172.
45. At one site "the people of the Middle Paleolithic built oval-shaped houses about 50 ft.
Iong. Twenty-one such houses were excavated." Carol Ember and Melvin Ember
Anthropology (New York: 1973), p. 123.
46. Marshack, Roots of Civilisation, op. cit., p. 374.
47. Harris, op. cit., p. 164.
48. Hoebel, op. cit., pp. 180-184.
49. Ibid., p. 180. The present author is not committed to these dates because of scientific
uncertainty regarding C-14 dating (cf. Pensee IV, Spring-Summer 1973, pp. 12f£).
50. Marshack, "Cognitive Aspects of Upper Paleolithic Engraving," Loc. cit., p. 445.
51. Hoebel, op. cit., p. 182.
52. Ibid., p. 187.
53. Harris, op. cit., p. 166.
54. Like the engraved materials, female figurines continue to appear in a variety of forms in
later periods and are geographically widely distributed "It seems possible that they represent a
cult of the goddess for in the Mesolithic and Neolithic ages to follow, there is no question of
the importance of the worship of the mother goddess in the Middle East." Hoebel, op. cit., p.
55. Ibid., p. 182.
57. Robert Silverberg, Man Before Adam (Philadelphia: 1964), p. 191.
58. H. W. Jansen, History of Art (New York: 1962), p. 19.
59. Ibid.,p. 18.
60. Walter Torbrugge, Prehistoric European Art, (New York: 1969), p. 7.
62. Harris, op. cit., p. 169.
63. Hoebel, op. cit., p. 184.
64. Ibid., p. 185.
65. Alexander Marshack, "Exploring the Mind of Ice Age Man," National Geographic, Vol
147, No. 1 (Jan. 1975), pp. 67-68.
66. Ibid., p. 73.
67. Ibid., p. 76.
68. Ibid., pp. 81-82.
69. Marshack, Roots of Civilisation, op. cit., p. 32.
70. Ibid., pp. 81-108.
71. Marshack, "Cognitive Aspects of Upper Paleolithic Engraving," Loc. cit., p. 457.
72. Marshack, "Exploring the Mind of Ice Age Man," Loc. cit., p. 70.
73 It is further noted that a similar figure is held to be the abstracted pictogram which
eventually evolved into the letter "A" during the development of writing. Ibid., p. 73 See also
J. R. Conrad, The Horn and the Sword (New York: 1957), p. 185.
74. Marshack, Roots of Civilisation, op. cit., p. 307.
75. Ibid., p. 335.
77. Ibid., p. 136.
78. Marshack, "Cognitive Aspects of Upper Paleolithic Engraving," Loc. cit., p. 461.
79. Ibid., pp. 461470. See especially comments by Movius, pp. 467469.
80. Marshack, Roots of Civilisation, op. cit., p. 136.
81. "The Mesolithic may be viewed as a terminal phase of the Paleolithic or as the initial phase
of the Neolithic." Ralph L. Beals and Harry Haijer, An Introduction to Anthropology (3rd ed.;
New York: 1965), p. 302.
82. Derek Roe, Prehistory (Berkeley: 1970), p. 106. See also Ember and Ember, op. cit., p.
159. 83. Ember and Ember, op. cit., p. 157.
84. Hoebel, op. cit., p. 205. See ref. no. 49.
85. Ember and Ember, op. cit., p. 157.
86. Hoebel, op. cit., p. 207.
87. Ember and Ember, op. cit., p. 159.
88. Hoebel, op. cit., pp. 205-208.
89. Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology (New York: 1962), p. 36.
90. Alexander S. Murray, Manual of Mythology (Boston: N.D.), see Plate 1.
91. Budge, Book of the Dead, op. cit., pp. 108, 195, 643.
92. Robert J. Trotter, "Tracing the Roots of Civilisation," Science News, 101, (February 19,
1972), p. 126.
93. As an example see the illustration on page 74 in Marshack, "Exploring the Mind of Ice
Age Man," Loc. cit. See also "Prehistory" in the Encyclopedia of World Art, VoL Xl (N.Y.:
1966), pp. 574ff.
94. Durant, op. cit., p. 179.
95. Otto Neugebauer, The Exact Sciences in Antiquity (2nd ed.; New York: Dover, 1969),
96. Ibid.,p. 14.
97. For a review of the literature and a discussion of the problem see Immanuel Velikovsky,
Worlds in Collision (Garden City: 1950), pp. 330ff.
98. "Obelisk," The New Encydopedia Britannica, Macropoedia, VII, (1974), p. 460.
99. Walter Bartky, Highlights of Astronomy ("Phoenix Science Series"; Chicago: 1961), p.43.
100. Velikovsky, op. cit., p. 359.
101. Abell, op. cit., p. 136.
102. B. F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity (New York: 1971), p. 129.
103. Ibid., p. 18.
104. Lockyer, op. cit., p. 61.
105. Ibid.,pp. 62-63.
106. Ibid.,p. 106.
107. Velikovsky, op. cit., p. 342.
108. Lynn E. Rose, "Babylonian Observations of Venus," Pensee III (Winter, 1973), p. 19.
109. Ibid. See also Lynn E. Rose and Raymond C. Vaughan, "Analysis of the Babylonian
Observations of Venus," KRONOS II, 2 (November, 1976), pp. 3-26; John V. Myers, "Sin
and the Control System " KRONOS II, 2 (November, 1976), pp. 87-89.